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Collection Development Policy

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I. Purpose:

The purpose of this collection development policy is to ensure that the collection, materials and electronic access, supports and expresses the library's response to the information and learning needs of the community. It will assist in budgeting decisions and responsible use of funds, define the purposes for the collection; and establish limits and priorities on collection parameters. The policy will inform and educate both the library staff as well as the patrons about censorship challenges, and provide guidelines for accepting, declining, evaluating and acknowledging gifts.

II. Basis for Policy:

A. Popular Materials Library - Primary

The library features current, high-interest materials in a variety of formats for people of all ages. The library actively encourages use of these collections which are both recreational and support life-long learning. A goal is to have a substantial percentage published within the past five years especially in the non-fiction collection. The library subscribes to an ample and diverse selection of magazines. The staff is knowledgeable about current popular interests and anticipates publishing trends. Generally books appearing on the New York Times Bestseller list are automatically ordered. Top priority is given to requests for popular materials. Audio and Video collections, while some of the most popular formats, are maintained at a moderate level.

B. Preschoolers door to learning - Secondary

The library encourages an interest in reading and learning in young children through services to them and their families. Therefore the picture book collection receives primary resource and attention. The children's collection accounts for more than half of all materials circulated.

C. Support for formal education K-12 - Secondary

Although public libraries cannot and should not duplicate the services for which school media centers are designed, the library does provide supplemental support to students at the elementary and secondary levels. The collection contains materials in a variety of formats to support K-12 education. The library's goal in providing these services is to enrich the educational resources available to young people and to promote lifelong use of public libraries.

D. Reference and Community Resource Center - Other

The library provides timely, accurate and useful information for community residents to aid in their pursuit of personal and professional interests. The library promotes on-site and telephone reference and assists users in locating information in a wide range of subjects and interests for daily living and decision making. The library seeks to be source of consumer information and to provide information on community programs and services.

III. Selection of Library Materials

The Board is charged with being ultimately responsible for the selection of all materials in the collection. The Board has chosen to delegate full responsibility for the selection of all materials to the Director of the Library. High priority is given to requests from staff, patrons, and educators. The library also actively invites purchase recommendations by consulting citizens in areas of special expertise.

A. Sources (Selection aids)

Materials are selected from general and specialized reviews, bibliographies, Fiction Catalog and Children's Catalog, patron recommendations, trade publications, newspapers, publishers' and booksellers' catalogs and flyers and by inspection of materials at retail outlets and other locations.

B. Principles

Materials are selected and retained on the basis of their content. The Copper Valley Community Library represents all points of view. The library,as much as is possible, is a reflection of the community and it's diversity. It also seeks to bring awareness of those cultures, traditions and ideas not represented in the local community. The selection principles promote the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" and interpretations, "Freedom to Read Act", "Freedom to View Act", and "Intellectual Freedom Statement" and "ALA guidelines for Access to Electronic Information"

C. General Criteria for Selection of Library Materials

A policy cannot replace the judgment of individual librarians but only provides guidelines to assist them in choosing from the vast array of available materials. In selection, the librarian uses professional judgment and expertise, based on understanding of user needs and knowledge of authors and publishers.

  • appropriateness to library's mission and service roles
  • relationship to existing collection and other titles available
  • availability elsewhere
  • in-print/availability to purchase or access
  • requests by patrons and staff
  • suitability of format for user's need and subject
  • community needs as represented in surveys tools and assessment
  • relevance to the experiences and contributions of diverse populations
  • levels of funding and cost of item
  • anticipated requests or use
  • value of resource in relation to its cost
  • authority, accuracy and accessibility of presentation
  • currency of information
  • reputation of author, publisher or issuing body
  • attention of critics, reviewers and public
  • subject matter and scope
  • historical significance
  • quality and style of writing
  • inclusion of work in bibliographies, best lists, indexes
  • part of Alaskana

IV. Adult Collection

The Community Services Librarian has primary responsibility for the selection and maintenance of collections for adult patrons.

A. Fiction

The collection focuses on twentieth century literature including classics and standard titles, diverse genres and special interests. There is no single standard for inclusion in the fiction collection. Because of the large volume of fiction published, it is possible to purchase only a representative selection with emphasis on major authors and the most popular examples of a genre. Patron requests for fiction are purchased whenever possible and influence the addition of more copies. Genre fiction such as mysteries, romances, espionage, horror, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy and westerns are purchased in proportion to demand statistics. Efforts are made to complete series, purchase award winning titles and to represent local (Alaskan) authors, publishers and subject matter.

B. Non-Fiction

The nonfiction collection emphasizes timely, accurate and useful informational materials to support individual and community interests. It emphasizes materials that are current and in high demand. Materials are available for all ages and reading levels in a variety of formats. Materials are selected to represent a continuum of opinions and viewpoints when available. Titles with continued value and those of current, accepted authority are part of the library collection. As a new field emerges, the library responds with timely additions.

C. Reference

Reference materials are for in house use. They provide quick, concise and up-to-date information. Included are indexes, encyclopedias, bibliographies, biographical resources, dictionaries, almanacs and directories.

  1. Ready Reference - a selection of high use reference items including directories, almanacs, encyclopedias, phone books.
  2. Contemporary Issues - books primarily aimed at high school students researching contemporary issues. Opposing viewpoints are represented on all issues.
  3. Consumer Information - a mix of reference and check-out items which aid consumers in purchasing decisions.
  4. Additional Selection Criteria for Reference:
    • ease of use
    • format
    • authoritativeness
    • frequency of use
    • scope and depth of coverage
    • demands on subject area which circulating collection cannot meet

D. Periodicals and Newspapers

Periodicals are an important source of new ideas, topics, and consumer information as well as being in high demand as recreational reading material. Therefore, Copper Valley Community Library subscribes to approximately 40 periodicals and newspapers. In addition full text periodical coverage from 1993 to the present for over 1400 periodicals is available on the Databases for Alaskans on the Internet provided by the State of Alaska.

Periodicals are generally retained for one year and newspapers are generally retained for two months. The periodicals collection is reviewed on a continuous basis for additions and deletions.

V. Collections for Youth and their Families

The Youth Collection serves patrons from infancy through 12th grade, and their parents and care givers. The diversity of constituents served include preschool children cared for at home, in the day cares and preschools; home schoolers, private and public school students. The primary collections include:

A. Picture Books - board books, wordless books, concept books (alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes), classic and contemporary preschool picture book stories and fairy or folk tales, audio cassette/book packages.

B. Readers - books specifically designed for the emerging reader with controlled and/or progressively constructed vocabularies.

C. Easy Fiction - very simple chapter books and sophisticated picture books

D. Juvenile Fiction- quality, contemporary, and historical fiction for readers from 7/8 years to 11/12 years. (2nd/3rd grade through 5th/6th) as well as genres (fantasy, science fiction, mystery,) fiction series and paperbacks.

E. Juvenile Nonfiction - informational books for youth up to age 12 (grades 5/6) with an emphasis on mythology and folklore; the culture, customs and history of people from regions of the U.S. and countries of the world; physical and natural science; the arts and handicrafts; sports; poetry and biography.

F. Juvenile Periodicals - a selection of popular and quality children's magazines for use by children and their families.

G. Juvenile Reference - a highly selective collection of bibliographic resources for readers' advisory assistance and encyclopedias for key areas of research by youth.

H. Young Adult Collection - selected collection of standard fiction titles in hardback, with multiple titles in paperback, for the recreational reading of youth ages 11/12 - 13/14 (6th - 9th grades); highly selective collection of nonfiction resources for the personal interests of these youth, focusing on issues of sexuality, health, and self-identity; limited collection of most popular magazines.

I. Additional Selection Criteria for Materials for Youth

  • age and interest appropriate content and presentation
  • emphasis on quality, critically acclaimed materials as demonstrated in awards, specialized bibliographies and/or reviews
  • quality and aesthetics of illustrations to stimulate the imagination
  • awareness of curriculum-based needs of public, private, home school and students
  • information and stories which represent a spectrum of family styles and values
  • materials which represent the richness and diversity of youth's local and world community
  • materials which meet the particular developmental needs of youth at different stages

VI. Special Collections

A. Alaskana

The Alaskana section of the library displays books which main focus is anything concerning Alaska, both fiction and nonfiction. Depending on the funds available the Copper Valley Community Library will try to extend the Alaskana section as good as possible while giving priority to literature about the Copper River Valley and patrons’ requests. Any books written by residents of the Copper River Valley will be purchased (if no donated volume is available) and displayed.

B. Audio and Visual Materials

In general the selection of audio and visual materials is not comprehensive but selective. There is a high demand for these items but only selected representation is possible.

Additional selection criteria:

  • technical quality of audio and visual reproduction
  • presentation that provides an alternative to print
  • significance of performance or diversity in interpretation
  • critical acclaimed as demonstrated in awards, nomination for awards, and/or reviews by
    the performing arts community
  • suitability to be circulated or housed in a sturdy, safe and convenient manner

The Library does not generally collect feature films which are readily available elsewhere in the community. The focus of the video collection is children's, educational and literature based, Classics, Self-Help, Hobbies, Travel, Biography, History and Entertainment. Adult entertainment videos acquired are usually public television productions, classic films and musicals, or those based on literature.

For Audio tapes a balance is maintained between collecting abridged and unabridged titles. Unabridged titles are often bought on sale and emphasis is placed on classics with a long shelf-life because the cost is high. Priority is given to popular fiction books on cassettes.

Audios and Videos are protected by copyright and are intended for home use only.

VII. Collection Maintenance

Copper Valley Community Library recognizes the need for ongoing evaluation of its collections to assure provision of inviting, accessible and visually browsable items. This ongoing maintenance includes weeding, replacement, repair, restoration, and review of standing order agreements.

A. Weeding Guidelines:


  • materials with obsolete content
  • materials which are infrequently used
  • materials in poor or irreparable physical condition
  • older editions of encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, yearbooks and standard texts (Encyclopedias should be no older than 5 years in the reference collection)
  • materials which are incomplete sets in which items missing seriously impair their usefulness
  • materials that have no anticipated use
  • works containing information that has been superseded or presented in newer, more comprehensive or more accessible formats

B. Retention Guidelines:


  • works containing useful local information
  • primary works in particular disciplines or topics
  • works representative of an era, trend or movement which provide unique coverage
  • works listed in standard or authoritative up to date bibliographies regularly used by staff and public
  • replacement of desired item is not possible

The most cost-effective option is selected when making replacement versus repair decisions.

VIII. Censorship and Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Board believes that the only acceptable censorship is self-censorship, therefore, it is the intent of the Copper Valley Community Library Board that no challenged library material shall be removed from the collection.

IX. Gifts

The library may accept gifts of materials and monetary donations to purchase materials. Often gifts are given in memory of a loved one or to commemorate a special event. Donated items will be carefully reviewed for their overall contributions to the Library's mission and relevance to the collection. Materials donated to the Library will be added to the collection if they meet the criteria for materials selection and are in good physical condition. Items which fall within the criteria for discarding will not be added as gifts. Processing costs are also weighed before placing a gift in the collection. Exceptions to physical condition include rare, out of print, reference, and other materials that fill a specific gap in the collection. Once given, all gifts are the property of the Copper Valley Community Library and will be treated on a equal basis with purchased materials concerning the inclusion, display, housing, circulation and disposition of the material.

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Download a .pdf of the Collection Development Policy that contains a Bookmarked Table of Contents.


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Copper Valley Community Library
(907) 822-5427
Mile 186 Glenn Highway - PO Box 173 - Glennallen, AK 99588

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