Collection Development Policy

Abbeville County Library System
Collection Development Policy

Mission of the Library and of Collection Development

Mission Statement

The Abbeville County Library System is a service-oriented organization whose mission is to provide quality materials and programs to meet the education, informational, and recreational needs of our community. The library system is committed to supporting lifelong learning, an informed citizenry, and a love of reading.  To this end, our collection will offer a broad and relevant selection of print and media resources with access to information through current technology.  Staff members are dedicated to providing information and library services in a welcoming environment. 

Purpose of the Collection Within the Context of the Mission

A library is identified and defined principally by its holdings of materials and information resources.  The library acts to fulfill its mission by selecting, acquiring, organizing, preserving, maintaining, and providing access to a collection of materials (both print and nonprint) and electronic resources that address the interests and needs of the members of a diverse and complex community.

Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The collection development policy serves several purposes:

Guides the Abbeville County Library System staff in making decisions about the selection, management, and preservation of library materials, and in allocating library resources.  It provides guidelines for acquisition and withdrawal decisions and  long-range planning of collection needs in accordance with the library system’s mission.

Informs the public of the principles that govern collection development at the Abbeville County Library System. 

Constitutes a public declaration of the library’s commitment to the principles of free access to ideas and information, and to providing collectionsk that reflect a variety of viewpoints. 


Collection Development Policy


The Community

Knowledge of the community is a vital ingredient in the responsible selection of library materials.  Abbeville County is a predominantly rural area, with a population at the 2021 census of 24,299.  The Abbeville County Library System recognizes that the community is diverse in its makeup and its needs and endeavors to meet the community’s needs within the framework of available staff and funds. 


The Abbeville County Library System provides service to all individuals in the community: children, young adults, and adults.  Our mission is to provide books and other materials selected to aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information, emotional growth, research and leisure. 

Though the library system attempts to give the best service possible to its regular users, it also has an obligation to collect materials and search for methods of service that will satisfy the needs of those in the community who have not traditionally been library users.  The library must consider not only the present needs of the community, but must anticipate its future needs in order to give timely service,

The Abbeville County Library System provides service to all within the contexts of library objectives, regardless of gender, race, creeds color, sexual choice, native language, handicap, age, occupational or financial position.

Responsibility for Material Selection

Final responsibility for selection of materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies and objectives determined by the Library Board.

Criteria for Selection

Basic to the Library’s Selection Policy are the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement adopted by the American Library Association.  The following factors are considered in the selection process; however, an item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. 

General Criteria:

     A. Relevance to community interests and needs

     B. Expressed public demand

     C. Current usefulness or permanent value

     D. Opinions of critics, reviews, staff members and public

     E. Reputation and/or significance of author

     F. Statement of challenge or original point of view

     G. Relation to existing collection

     H. Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject

     I. Quality in content, format and binding

    J. Availability of materials in the subject areas

    K. Budgetary and space considerations

    L. Probability of interest to and use by the community. 


Specific Criteria for the Evaluation of Works of Imagination:

    A. Representation of important movement (literary or social), genre, trend, or national culture

    B. Vitality and originality

    C. Artistic presentation and experimentation

    D. Sustained interest

    E. Effective characterization

    F. Authenticity of historical, regional or social setting


Use of the Library’s Materials

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents.  In the adult collections, library materials are not sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting them from injury or theft.  Use of rare and scholarly items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm. 

The Abbeville County Library System provides free access to materials in a variety of formats for patrons to select or reject.  The library’s decision to acquire material does not constitute endorsement of that material’s content.  It is the goal of the Abbeville County Library System to offer access to materials that reflect the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority and those that may be controversial in nature.

To facilitate their use, separate collections for children and for young adults are maintained.  However, children are not limited to these collections and are permitted to use and borrow adult materials owned by the library system.  Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials, regardless of format or content, rests with the parents or legal guardians.  Selection of adult materials will not be limited by the possibility that material may inadvertently come into the possession of minors. 

Scope of Collection

The library does not generally purchase certain classes of books as a matter of policy.  These include:

   A. Expensive editions

   B. Collectors’ items

   C. Textbooks, or material for school assignments, unless of general public interest, or the best book on a particular                      subject. 

Gift Materials

Gift books and other materials may be accepted by the library system.  Their inclusion in the collection will be subject to the selection criteria used in purchasing new materials.  In no case will the materials be added simply because they are gifts. 

Gifts are accepted with the provision that they may be disposed of as best meets the needs of the library, through addition to the collection or given as contributions to local charitable organizations, like the Friends of the Library.  Physically obsolete, completely outdated or inappropriate materials are disposed of. 

Maintaining the Collection

Materials may be repaired or rebound if their physical condition warrants.  Items that are obsolete or not repairable are either given as contributions to local charitable organizations, like the Friends of the Library, or are disposed of. 

Weeding of Materials

In order to properly maintain the library system’s collection, it becomes necessary to remove materials that are no longer relevant in that they become outdated or inaccurate with the passing of time and the acquisition of new knowledge.  In addition, as the library system adds new materials, it becomes necessary to remove older materials that are no longer used by or of interest to the public. 

When removing an item from the collection, the following are considered:

    A. How long has the material remained in the library without being used?   

    B. Is the information found therein incorrect or misleading because of new information or discoveries?

    C.  Does the library own more recent and more accurate material on the same subject?

    D. Is there an historical significance that may make the materials valuable at present or in the future?

    E. Is the work a standard in its particular field?

    F. What is the general condition of the material?

Disposition of Weeded Material

At the discretion of the library director, materials will either be given as gifts to a local charitable organization, like the Friends of the Library, or will be disposed of. 

Procedure for Request for Reconsideration of Materials

A patron may request the reconsideration of an item in the library system’s collection.  To do so:

    A. The patron will complete the reconsideration form, which must be returned within 30 days.

    B. The patron will receive a response within 30 days.

    C. When necessary, the patron will meet with the library director.

    D. When necessary, the patron and the library director will meet with the Abbeville County Board of Trustees.

    E. The library board will make the final decision regarding the material in question.

Revision of Policy

The policy will be reviewed and revised as necessary.  The Abbeville County Library System Board of Trustees may revise this statement of policy by majority vote. 

Note:  The collection development policies of numerous institutions, including those of White Plains, New York, of Iola, Wisconsin, and of Minneapolis, Minnesota were consulted in the preparation of this policy. 

*Reapproved with updates by the Abbeville County Library Board of Trustees on September 20, 2022