Collection Development Policy


  1. Purpose of the Collection Development Policy
  2. Selection Philosophy
  3. Selection Responsibility
  4. Donations
  5. Scope of the Library
  6. General Criteria
    1. Content Criteria
    2. New Format Criteria
  7. Specific Selection Criteria
    1. Adult Collection
      • Fiction
      • Nonfiction
    2. Book Club in a Bag Kits
    3. Children’s Collection
    4. DVDs and Blu-Rays
    5. Electronic Databases
    6. eLibrary Collection
    7. Government Documents
    8. Graphic Novels and Manga
    9. Large Type
    10. Library of Things
    11. Local Author
    12. Local History
    13. Periodical Collection
    14. Reference Collection
    15. Spanish Language Materials
    16. World Language Materials
    17. Young Adult Collection
  8. Collection Maintenance
    1. Discarding Library Materials
    2. Replacements
  9. Reconsideration of Materials
  10. Policy Review and Revision Statement

The Carpinteria Community Library is dedicated to supporting education for all ages through classes and events, building a community of readers, empowering individuals with free access to information, and connecting people to community resources. The Library’s collection is a critical component in serving this mission. The Library provides access to information and collections in order to support the free expression of ideas, an informed public, and participation in government and civil society in support of the public good.

I. Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The collection development policy is intended to provide guidance, within budgetary and space
limitations, for the selection and evaluation of materials which anticipate and meet the needs of the community the Carpinteria Community Library serves. It directly relates the collection to the Library’s mission statement, and defines the scope and standards of the various collections.

As the community changes, the Library will need to reassess and adapt its collections to reflect new and differing areas of interest and concern. The collection development policy will be periodically evaluated and revised as necessary to provide guidance for implementing changes in the collection.

II. Selection Philosophy

The Library upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content maybe controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. Materials available in the Library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make informed choices. Full and confidential access to information is essential in order for patrons to exercise their constitutional rights.

The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and legal guardians, not the Library, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening, viewing, and Internet browsing choices of their minor children.

The Library collection will be organized, marked and maintained in an effort to make it easy for patrons to find the materials they are looking for. Materials will not be restricted, sequestered, altered or labeled by the Library because of controversy about the author or the subject matter.

III. Selection Responsibility

Though the overall responsibility for the collection rests with the Library’s management staff, the responsibility for selecting and retaining materials is delegated to qualified and knowledgeable staff who employ the criteria outlined in this policy. The final responsibility for materials selection and retention resides with the City Librarian.

IV. Donations

The Carpinteria Community Library accepts donations for the Library’s collection that fall within needed subject categories, as determined by the City Librarian and the staff. Donated additions must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials and are subject to the Carpinteria Community Library Donation of Money and Materials Policy.

Though the overall responsibility for the collection rests with the Library’s management staff, the responsibility for selecting and retaining materials is delegated to qualified and knowledgeable staff who employ the criteria outlined in this policy. The final responsibility for materials selection and retention resides with the City Librarian.

V. Scope of the Library

The Carpinteria Community Library serves the community as a whole. As a Community Library, the Library places major emphasis on access to information. A broad choice of circulating print and non-print materials is selected to accommodate the diversity of tastes, reading levels, languages, and interests of users of all ages. The Carpinteria Community Library provides a strong collection of materials relating to the City of Carpinteria and County of Santa Barbara.

VI. General Criteria

  • Suitability of format or physical form for Library use and as user demand dictates, based on universal criteria established in this policy
  • Cost relative to the value the item contributes to the collection
  • Space required relative to the value the item contributes to the collection
  • The extent to which the item supplements, expands on, or supports the existing collection, rather than duplicates it
  • Relevance to observed and anticipated community needs and desires
  • Reputation and qualifications of the author, creator, or publisher of the work as established through evaluation in professional journals, or through expert or local sources
  • Local significance of the subject, author, or creator of the work
  • Exceptions to the above criteria may be made if an item is of significant community interest, demonstrated by being a bestselling item for a sustained period of time and being requested by multiple members of the local community, as long as the content does not incite hatred or violence against a group of people, at the discretion of the City Librarian
  1. Content Criteria
    • Comprehensiveness of treatment, including breadth and depth
    • Skill and purpose of author or creator
    • Consideration of the work as a whole, rather than a specific passage or passages
    • Evaluation of the currency and accuracy of the information contained, to the extent that is possible
    • Representation of diverse points of view
    • Representation of important movements, subjects, genres, or trends of local, regional, national, or global significance
    • Long-term or historical significance or interest
    • Relevance of the information to immediate local requirements
  2. New Format Criteria
    The Library must continually assess new formats and evaluate the capabilities and enhancements that they offer over existing formats. When deciding whether to replace or augment existing formats, the following factors are considered:

    • Ease of use of the product
    • User demand
    • Equipment requirements
    • Enhancement over the current format equivalent (if any) in terms of speed, flexibility, utility, accessibility or availability
    • Anticipated improvements in information storage and retrieval
    • Continued access to retrospective information when necessary or desirable
    • Staff and space requirements

VII. Specific Selection Criteria

  1. Adult Collection
    • Fiction
      The Library’s collection includes a wide variety of contemporary works of fiction representing all genres, international works of fiction, classics, and important novels of the past. The Library makes every effort to acquire fiction which is representative of the cultural and ethnic community that it serves and to satisfy the diversity of interests and recreational needs of its users.
    • Nonfiction
      The Library’s nonfiction collection includes a variety of materials which provide a core of basic knowledge. The collection seeks to find a balance between the educational needs and recreational interests of the community, and the Library makes an effort to maintain a diverse collection of books that represent the variety of cultural backgrounds, identities, and interests of the community it serves.
  2. Book Club in a Box Kits
    • Book Club in a Box kits are created to offer easy access to popular titles for local book clubs.
    • Titles are selected primarily by popularity, prioritizing paperback titles. Additional titles may be added as part of collaborations with partner organizations.
  3. Children’s Collection
    • The primary goal of the children’s collection is to meet children’s learning and literacy needs by providing materials that support recreational, informational, and educational reading. The Library provides materials in a variety of formats and genres to engage children from infancy through the preteen years. Offering a broad, representative, and diverse collection is crucial to meeting the needs of young readers and their families. Materials are selected based on several criteria, including quality of literature, award winning titles, appeal for young readers and their families, representation of diverse cultures, and relevance to specific community interests.
  4. DVDs and Blu-Rays
    • The Library collects DVDs and Blu-Rays to meet the educational and recreational needs of adults and children. Titles are collected under the same general guidelines as other collection materials.
  5. Electronic Databases
    • Online computerized databases extend the collection by providing timely and versatile access to information in electronic formats. Many of the databases contain specialized information beyond the scope of the Library’s print collections; others have information that does not exist in print format. Databases are selected on the basis of cost relative to value, and to provide information not available through free sources on the internet.
  6. Government Documents
    • The Library is a selective depository for the State of California and collects federal, state, and local government publications related to the communities served in order to make information published by the government accessible to citizens. These materials are provided to the Library and are not actively selected by Library staff.
  7. Graphic Novels
    • The Library develops a graphic novel collection of core and popular titles that serve the informational and recreational interests of children, teens, and adults. The Library strives to choose graphic novels that serve a wide age range of audiences and that cover a wide range of interests and ideas. Children’s graphic novels are shelved in the Children’s section, while graphic novels for adults and teens are interfiled in the general Graphic Novels section. It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to determine which materials are appropriate for their children.
  8. Large Type
    • The large type book collection meets the needs of visually impaired patrons. The focus of the collection is popular fiction, along with high interest nonfiction such as biographies and health-related materials.
  9. Library of Things
    • The Library of Things consists of durable, reusable goods for completing tasks, learning skills, or creative making. Items are selected for the collection based on community interest, cost relative to value, and the Library’s ability to maintain, store, and lend them. Items may fall in these broad categories: home improvement and assistive devices, audiovisual equipment, technology devices, educational manipulatives, and toys that support developmental growth in young children, musical instruments, scientific instruments, or crafting tools. Use of individual items may require a liability waiver or be restricted to adult use.
  10. Local Author
    • The Library offers writers local to, or writing about, Carpinteria an opportunity to share their work with the community by donating it to the Library under the following conditions:
      • Authors must be Carpinteria residents, or the book must take place in Carpinteria, or otherwise demonstrate a strong local interest, and be appropriate for a popular collection
      • Books for the Local Authors collection will be accepted as donations from the author or publisher; however, at the discretion of the collection development librarian, a book may be considered for purchase if published reviews in standard sources are available or there is strong evidence of appropriateness
      • Donated materials may be removed from the collection if they do not circulate regularly in accordance with the Collection Maintenance Plan
      • Materials that are donated become the property of the Carpinteria Community Library and as such cannot be returned to the donor. Some Locals Author titles are interfiled with their respective collections, but most are shelved in the Local Author Collection.
  11. Local History
    • The Library actively collects works relating to the local history of Carpinteria. Effort is made to preserve access to these titles over time by collecting non-circulating copies in addition to any copies added to the circulating collection.
  12. Periodical Collection
    • The Library’s newspaper and magazine collection consists of a diversity of publications in fields which are of interest to patrons, providing current and retrospective information aimed at meeting the research and recreational reading needs of the community. Journals which are highly technical or scholarly are generally not included in the collection.
  13. Reference Collection
    • The Library maintains a small reference collection which is used to serve the informational needs of Library users. These items do not circulate and are interfiled in the nonfiction section. This collection compliments the Library’s database collection.
  14. Spanish Language Materials
    • The Library curates and maintains a growing collection of Spanish language materials for all ages to serve the large population of native Spanish speakers in Carpinteria. The collection strives to include a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction which follow the guidelines for the English language collection. This collection includes works in translation, but prioritizes works originating in Spanish.
  15. Young Adult Collection
    • The young adult collection serves the needs of Library patrons approximately ages 12 – 18. Materials are selected based on several criteria, including quality of literature, award winning titles, appeal for teen readers, representation of diverse cultures, and relevance to specific community interests. Fiction is emphasized with a selection of topical nonfiction. The type of materials selected differs significantly from the children’s collection because of the social, emotional, and intellectual maturity required to read them. It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to determine which materials are appropriate for their children.

VIII. Collection Maintenance
Library staff maintain a working procedural manual that serves as a guide to how much space and budget should be devoted to a particular collection in relation to its overall use, the breadth and depth of collection focus, local interests, and general guidelines to follow when deaccessioning Library materials of different formats and collections.

Maintenance of the Library’s collection through constant reevaluation by the Library staff ensures its usefulness and relevance to the community. This evaluation depends on the staff’s professional expertise in assessing the needs of the community and the content of the collection. Those materials determined to no longer be of value are withdrawn from the collection.

  1. Discarding Library Materials
    • Library materials are discarded for one or more of the following reasons:
      • Obsolescence: subject matter is no longer timely, accurate, or relevant
      • Damage or poor condition
      • Space limitations
      • Insufficient use
  2. Replacements
    • Replacement of materials withdrawn is not automatic. The decision to replace is influenced by:
      • Availability of copies in the system
      • Popular interest
      • Adequacy of coverage in the subject area
      • Significance in subject area
      • Cost and availability

IX. Reconsideration of Materials

Persons from the Carpinteria Community Library wishing to recommend the removal of a particular item in the Library collection may submit a Reconsideration of Library Materials form, which will be reviewed by the City Librarian in relation to the Library’s mission statement and the selection criteria of this collection development policy. After evaluating journal reviews and other materials submitted by the patron and the staff, a response will be made by the City Librarian within 30 days of receiving the formal request.

X. Policy Review and Revision Statement

This collection development policy will periodically be evaluated and revised as times and circumstances require.