Collection Strategy

Last Updated Date

“Foster lifelong learning and connect the community through our materials, space, events, and expertise.”

                                                                                                The Library’s Mission Statement


Collection Strategy Policy

Revision Control

  • Adopted by the LPLD Board March 29, 2004
  • Reviewed and revised by the LPLD Board July 2009
  • Reviewed and revised by the LPLD Board October 2011
  • Current draft prepared October 2020 (renamed from Policies and Guidelines Governing Collection Development and the Selection of Library Resources)
  • Reviewed and revised by the LPLD Board November 23, 2020


The Lincolnwood Public Library acquires and makes available materials which inform, educate, entertain, and enrich persons as individuals and as members of society. The Library provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge that reflects the diverse needs of the Lincolnwood community and the Library’s mission to foster lifelong learning and connect the community through our materials, space, events, and expertise.



  • The Library upholds the American Library Association’s Freedom to View statement, Freedom to Read statement, and the Library Bill of Rights (all available here). Collection development reflects the philosophies inherent in these statements. The following statements from the Library Bill of Rights pertain specifically to materials and information:
    • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
    • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
    • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  • The Library advocates for broad and meaningful participation in the library, including the sustained use of materials. It does not promote all of the ideas found in its collections or the discussions those ideas may inspire, but provides the spaces and opportunities for those ideas and discussions.
  • The Library protects the right of the individual to access information, even when the content may be controversial or unacceptable to others. Privacy and confidentiality are key tenets. It is the decision of the Library not to filter Internet access.
  • The Library recognizes and respects intellectual property rights, and follows existing copyright laws.
  • The Library supports open access as defined by the American Library Association. “Open access” refers to materials made publicly and freely available via digital repositories and archives, or research made available via peer-reviewed, open-access journals.
  • The Library is committed to sharing at local, state, and national levels as demonstrated by our membership and participation in Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), Cooperative Computer Services (CCS), Illinois Library and Information Network (ILLINET), and WorldShare Interlibrary Loan.
  • The Library is committed to being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars and community assets.



The Library develops a meaningful, diverse collection that is positioned to meet the needs of the community and is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognize and celebrate that Lincolnwood is unique, with broad and diverse interests.


A diverse collection should contain content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences. A well-balanced collection does not require a one-to-one equivalence for each viewpoint. The collection should strive for equity in content and ideas, based on the availability of timely and accurate materials. Collection development, as well as cataloging and classification, should be done according to professional standards and established procedures.


Developing a diverse collection requires:

  • Selecting content in multiple formats;
  • Considering resources from self-published, independent, small, and local producers;
  • Seeking content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups;
  • Evaluating how diverse collection resources are cataloged, labeled, and displayed;
  • Providing access to content in all of the languages used in the community that the library serves;
  • Providing resources in formats that meet the needs of users with disabilities.


Best practices in collection development assert that materials should not be excluded from a collection solely because the content or its creator may be considered offensive or controversial. Refusing to select resources due to potential controversy is considered censorship, as is withdrawing resources for that reason.


Selection and Deselection

Selectors will exercise impartiality in materials acquisition practice. Allocation of the materials budget and the number of items purchased for each area of the collection will be determined by indicators of use, the average cost per item, and objectives for development of the collection. Community requests and recommendations are welcomed and are subject to the same criteria as any other materials.


Selection is a discerning and interpretive process, involving:

  • General knowledge of the subject and its importance as literature;
  • Familiarity with the materials in the library collection;
  • Recognition of the needs of the community;
  • Consideration of relativity of cost, space, maintenance, safety, and patron interest;
  • Accuracy of content;
  • Authoritativeness;
  • Literary significance;
  • Importance of subject matter to the collection;
  • Soundness of the author’s attitude and approach;
  • Scarcity of material on the subject;
  • Availability of materials elsewhere.


Materials are evaluated on the basis of the content and style of the work as a whole, not by selected portions or passages. Quality and suitability of the format are also considered. Selectors, with input from other staff:

  • Choose appropriate materials for their collection areas;
  • Monitor circulation;
  • Weed to keep their areas current with need and demand;
  • See that materials are in good physical condition;
  • Spend their budget in a timely and organized manner.


The Library does not collect textbooks, academic, or technical materials unless they are considered useful generally or supportive to the Library Strategic Plan.


The Library adopts digital curation as an umbrella term for actions and strategies to provide stewardship of our digital assets. Digital assets include electronic resources, software and hardware, and devices. Digital curation takes into account the lifespan of the item, the product, and the product version to maintain currency, relevance, and sustainability.


To maintain relevant collections and content in all formats, the Library must continuously evaluate and deselect materials. Criteria used by selectors for withdrawing items include, but are not limited to: declining interest, poor condition, unnecessary duplication, or inaccurate or outdated information. Deselected materials may be donated to non-profit organizations, educational institutions, or discarded. These decisions are made to align with the Library’s strategic priorities to empower, inspire, and connect and final decisions are the responsibility of the Library Director.


The below methods and tools are among the ways the Library identifies and monitors the impact of materials in the community with regards to selection and deselection:

  • Traditional metrics (circulation, usage analytics such as downloads, website visits, and usage ratios)
  • Qualitative metrics (formal data such as patron feedback, program and services evaluations, and library-wide institutional assessment)
  • Less formal inputs via conversations with the community and professional insights in the course of community engagement.
  • Professional and trade journals;
  • Online resources;
  • Publishers’ promotional materials;
  • Collection analysis software to monitor collections according to use and provisioning;
  • An ILS (Integrated Library System) to make meaning from the use and circulation of materials;
  • Other software to assist required reporting for the Secretary of State’s Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR).


Gifts and Donations

The Library gratefully accepts donations of books and most other materials, but does so with the understanding that such materials will be added to the collection only if they are needed and meet the standards of selection that apply to regular purchases. The Library neither solicits nor accepts gift subscriptions to individual magazines or newspapers. In all instances, the library reserves the right to utilize gifts and donations as it sees fit and to dispose of gifts which are deemed to be unsuitable for or unneeded in the library collection. Special or memorial collections are generally not shelved as separate physical entities. Such collections are only accepted with the understanding that they will be integrated with other materials. When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials or other resources, whether as a memorial or for any other purpose, the general nature or subject area of the item(s) to be purchased may be specified by the donor. Selection of specific titles, however, will be made in accordance with the needs and selection policies of the library.


Reconsideration of Library Materials

Any community member has the right to request reconsideration of materials in the Library’s collection. Individuals should feel free to bring their concerns to the attention of a librarian or the Library Director, or through a formal reconsideration process. A Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form (appended) shall be completed and submitted to the Library Director. Following the receipt of a formal request for reconsideration, the Library Director, the appropriate selector, and one other librarian appointed by the Library Director will review and discuss the item in question. The Library Director will then make a decision regarding the retention of this material and will promptly notify the individual who submitted the request. If the decision does not satisfy the individual who submitted the request, that individual may formally appeal the decision in writing to the Library Board. Challenged materials or resources will be retained in the library collection throughout the reconsideration process.


Appendix 1: American Library Association Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the  First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989. Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.


Appendix 2: American Library Association Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association
Association of American Publishers

Subsequently endorsed by:

American Booksellers for Free Expression
The Association of American University Presses
The Children's Book Council
Freedom to Read Foundation
National Association of College Stores
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Council of Teachers of English
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression



Appendix 3: Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

 I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

 Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

 Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.




Appendix 4: Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form

The trustees of Lincolnwood Public Library District have established this collection development and selection policy and a procedure for gathering input about particular items. Completion of this form is the first step in that procedure. If you wish to request reconsideration of a resource, please return the completed form to the library director.

Lincolnwood Public Library District
4000 W. Pratt Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712

Date ___________________________________________________________
Name __________________________________________________________
Address ________________________________________________________
City ____________________________ State/Zip _______________________
Phone __________________________ Email __________________________

Do you represent self? _____________________________________________
An organization? ____ Name of Organization ___________________________

1. Resource on which you are commenting:
___ Book (e-book) ___ Movie ___ Magazine ___ Audio Recording
___ Digital Resource ___ Game ___ Newspaper ___ Other

Title ________________________________________________________________________
Author/Producer _______________________________________________________________

2. What brought this resource to your attention?

3. Have you examined the entire resource? If not, what sections did you review?

4. What concerns you about the resource?

5. Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?

6. What action are you requesting the committee consider?



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