Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


Connecting you to a world of ideas and information to enrich your life. 


This policy guides the development and maintenance of collections that reflect the mission of Siouxland Libraries. It provides the framework for selection and the flexibility to allow the collection to grow and respond to community needs. It reinforces the Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and protects the collection against outside pressures, ensuring an abundance of ideas and viewpoints for the enrichment of all users.   

Scope of Collection

Siouxland Libraries collects books and other materials for all ages and in a variety of formats that are responsive to the informational needs and interests of the community and reflect its diversity. 
Siouxland Libraries respects each users’ individual quest for information and does not value one user’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement and affirms each person’s right to select or reject any item for their own use. Materials are chosen that reflect a wide variety of viewpoints and inspire lifelong learning for all ages.
The Library develops collections including, but not limited to the following: fiction
and non-fiction for adults, teens and children; picture books, board books and materials for emerging readers; magazines; music; local interest and history; movies and documentaries; language-learning resources; and materials in multiple languages. Formats reflect community demand and include, but are not limited to: books, music audiobooks, eBooks and eAudiobooks, movies, and tablets. Collections and formats may be added, removed, or modified in response to use, library space, and budget. The Collection Development Plan further defines the scope of each collection and guides their specific development and evaluation.   

The Library may use subscription and pay-per-use services to broaden the reach, scope, and access of digital collections. Titles in these collections are not individually selected by library staff. 


Materials are selected to provide depth and a diversity of viewpoints to the existing collection. While widespread interest and usage are the prevailing influences on selection and maintenance, the library strives to sustain an inclusive and balanced collection. Scholarly, academic, or highly specialized materials may not meet selection criteria.

Responsibilty of Selection

Responsibility for selection resides with the Board of Trustees and the Library Director. This responsibility is delegated to the Collections Librarian and appropriate selectors. Staff remain receptive to community needs by engaging in open communication with users, recognizing that materials of varying complexities and formats are necessary to meet diverse needs, and seeking improvement through ongoing evaluation. Selection tools include professional journals, reviews, book lists, and vendor lists. User suggestions are welcomed and will be reviewed for inclusion using the selection criteria.  

Selection Criteria

Each item will be judged on its own merit and in its entirety, with concern for its intended audience. Selection is not restricted based on the expressed opinion of an individual or group, nor limited due to the origin, background, or views of its author or creator. The following criteria are deliberately flexible and guide decisions in all areas of the collection. An item need not meet all of these criteria for inclusion. 

  • Relevance to community needs
  • Potential and/or known demand
  • Timeliness and/or enduring significance or interest
  • Relation to existing collection
  • Accuracy of information
  • Quality of writing, design or production
  • Authority or significance of the author/creator or publisher
  • Intended purpose
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Cost
  • Critical reviews
  • Format
  • Representation of diverse viewpoints
  • Local interest

If material is not chosen for the Library's collection, it has been excluded because:

  • it does not meet the Library's selection criteria;
  • the budget will not permit the expenditure; or
  • there is not space for the item.
Materials not added to the collection can be requested through interlibrary loan. 

Managing the Collection

Accessibility and Distribution

Siouxland Libraries upholds the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements and allows full access to materials in the public space. Some items, including materials in the Caille Room, may require special handling due to age or uniqueness. To preserve them for continued use, users may access these materials inside the library. Siouxland Libraries supports parents and guardians in guiding their child’s development and determining which materials are appropriate. The library does not restrict access to any area of the collection on the basis of age.

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

To maintain collections that are responsive to community needs, items are continually reviewed for their ongoing value. As new items are added; outdated, erroneous, and worn out items are removed. Factors in evaluation include:

  • Use
  • Continued demand and/or relevance
  • Condition
  • Availability in other formats
  • Space considerations
  • Depth of coverage
  • Age of collection

Items are withdrawn when they are: 

  • factually inaccurate or obsolete;
  • worn beyond repair;
  • unused in a specified period;
  • irrelevant to the needs of the community.
The Collection Development Plan guides specific collection evaluation and weeding measures. Materials which are removed from the collection may be disposed of as directed by state and local laws. Means of disposal may include selling or donating to other agencies.

Requests for Reconsideration

The public is free to challenge the presence of materials held in the library collection. Persons seeking reconsideration must complete a written Statement of Concern. The Library Director will evaluate their request, with input from the Collections Librarian and appropriate collection development staff, and send a written response to the customer. If necessary, further consideration may be made by the Library Board of Trustees. Material under review will remain in circulation until a determination is made. 

Gifts and Donations

The library welcomes both monetary and material gifts to support the collection. Monetary gifts may be directed toward materials, programs, or equipment to support the needs of the library. Gifts of materials will be subject to the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Those not accepted for the collection will be disposed of or donated. The Library does not evaluate or appraise gift materials for tax or other purposes. 

Policy History

Effective: August 1, 2020

Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees on July 8, 2020

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, age, 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.

The 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.

  1. We therefore affirm these propositions:
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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

Disposition of Library Materials

South Dakota Codified Law 14-2-49. Discard of old library materials -- marking -- Disposition. Any public library may discard over-duplicated, outdated, inappropriate, or worn library materials; provided, that such materials shall be marked clearly with the words: "Discarded, ___________ public library" wherever the property label of such library appears. Such discarded materials may be given to other libraries or to nonprofit agencies, destroyed, offered for public sale, or traded to a vendor for future library material purchasing credits.

Source: SL 1976, ch 143, section 21; SL 197, ch 127.