Collection Development Policy

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Lincoln Library Collection Development Policy

Collection Principles 

Lincoln Library strives to provide the local community with a comprehensive collection of materials representing broad areas of knowledge—within the limits of space and budget—which aid in the pursuit of education, information, research, recreation, and culture. As a result, materials are selected to reflect changes in educational, cultural, economic and intellectual patterns, and the impact of new technology. 

In an effort to freely provide materials and access to resources representing diverse and sometimes controversial opinions on an issue, materials will not be excluded because of political, social, religious, or moral ideas expressed within. The library’s acquisition of an item is not an endorsement of the item’s content, but rather an expression of the library’s support of intellectual freedom. The library has a responsibility to protect the rights of all users and therefore does not limit the scope of its collection; neither are materials placed in restricted areas because some individuals may object to their content. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies solely with his or her parent or guardian. 

The library adheres to the First Amendment to the Constitution as well as the principles of intellectual freedom adopted by the American Library Association: 

Responsibility for Selection 

Collection management is performed by professional librarians, who have obtained an ALA-accredited master’s degree in library science, under direction of their designated department manager. Ultimate responsibility for materials selection resides with the Library Director. 


The materials budget is recommended by the Library Director and approved annually by the city council. 

Scope of the Collection 

Lincoln Library’s collection of books and other media provides a wide variety of materials for people of all ages in a diverse array of formats including: print, audiovisual, electronic, and other items such as multimedia kit or microfilm. Electronic materials are obtained through license agreements, making a broad range of databases, eBooks, Audiobooks, and streaming music and video accessible through the library’s website and catalog. 

The Sangamon Valley Collection provides access to local history and genealogical documents relating to the Sangamon River Valley area, focusing on the immediate local area of Springfield, Illinois, and Sangamon County. 

Selection Criteria 

Professional staff use their training, knowledge, and expertise along with the general criteria listed below to select materials: 

  • Accuracy and clarity of presentation and/or content 
  • Quality, literary and technical merit or artistic excellence, visual and/or sound quality, or award-winning 
  • Public demand, current or anticipated interest, or needs of the community 
  • Extent of publicity, critical reception, or reviews from professional journals and other authoritative sources 
  • Subject area and representation of various interests and viewpoints 
  • Relevance to existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses and contribution to overall collection balance 
  • Timeliness of material 
  • Prominence, authority, and/or competence of author, creator, or publisher 
  • Contemporary or historical significance, popular interest, or permanent value 
  • Suitability of physical format (size, material type, binding) to library circulation, use, and housing 
  • Availability of material for purchase, at other libraries, online, and similarity of sources 
  • Cost, library materials budget, and space 

Additional electronic criteria: 

  • Licensing and networking requirements 
  • Cost per use, metered use, and single copy single use availability and pricing comparison 
  • Comparison of content and electronic formats with other electronic platforms and formats as well as physical formats 
  • Ease of use 
  • Accessibility and operational capacity on various systems and devices, system and hardware requirements 
  • Vendor training, support, and technical support 

This list of selection criteria is not exhaustive and other criteria may be considered. 


Textbooks may be purchased when no other material in a given field is available or to provide a basic understanding of a given discipline. No attempt is made to supply student demands for textbooks in specific subjects. Textbooks to support local school curricula are not purchased. 


To ensure the acquisition of resources desired by library users, suggestions are always considered for addition to the collection. A request may be made by completing the online Item Request Form, or by placing a request at any of the library’s public service desks or over the phone. 

Collection Management 

Professional librarians conduct systematic and continuous evaluation of materials in the collection to ensure materials meet the community’s changing needs. Materials that are damaged, in poor condition, obsolete, unused, old editions, superseded, inaccurate, or unnecessary duplicates are withdrawn. When evaluating materials for removal from the collection, the library uses contemporary methods of deselection based on established practices derived from current, professional publications on weeding in a public library. Additionally, professional staff assess the need for replacement of removed materials or those that are damaged, lost, or missing. Items are not automatically replaced, as decisions are based on general selection criteria and availability. 

Local Authors 

Lincoln Library welcomes donations of material by Springfield and Sangamon County authors. Local authors wishing to donate books must meet the following criteria: 

  • The work must be bound. The binding must be strong enough to withstand multiple readings/circulations. Spiral bound books will not be accepted. 
  • A maximum of two (2) copies will be accepted. 
  • All materials must contain an ISBN (international standard book number) in order to be cataloged. 
  • World Language materials are accepted. 
  • Audio visual material and eBooks are not accepted. Print works with accompanying CDs and DVDs are also not accepted. 

Once donated, local author books become the property of Lincoln Library. Lincoln Library reserves the right to choose which donations meet the library’s mission, and as a result, which will be added to the library’s collection. Not all donations are guaranteed to be added to the collection. Local author works that are added to the collection are subject to the same maintenance guidelines that exist for the section in which the donated local author book resides. Once withdrawn, a book will not be returned to the contributor. When an item is donated, the author will be asked to provide the following information for cataloging purposes: full real name of the author; full title from the title page (not the cover); date of publication; number of pages (if applicable). Lincoln Library staff will not provide reviews of local author works. 


Lincoln Library accepts gifts of books and other materials that are in good condition and that meet the criteria of the Collection Development Policy. The library reserves the right to accept or reject gifts and make decisions as to their use, housing, and final disposition. Items are not returned to donors. Gifts that are not added to the collection may be sold to benefit the library, recycled, or given to another nonprofit organization. 

Reconsideration of Materials 

Persons from Lincoln Library’s community who wish to request the library reconsider the inclusion or exclusion of a specific item in the collection must complete a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form (Appendix A). This form will be reviewed by the librarian who selected the material (if applicable), the appropriate department manager, and the Library Director in relation to the library’s mission, the selection criteria of the library’s Collection Development Policy, as well as the principles of intellectual freedom adhered to by the library. After evaluating professional reviews and other materials submitted by the community member and staff, a written response will be sent to the individual at the earliest possible date. 

Approved by Lincoln Library board April 2023 


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