Policy: Collection Development

The White Plains Public Library provides an up-to-date collection of print, audiovisual and digital materials that are carefully selected, systematically arranged, and aggressively promoted. These materials offer education, entertainment, and the potential for life-long enrichment.

The Library creates its collection in partnership with the White Plains community, seeking input and recommendations on the content we should acquire. We closely watch how our collections are utilized, and regularly adjust our spending to best meet the needs of White Plains cardholders.

The Library board of trustees has the responsibility “to purchase, sell or exchange, improve and repair books and other library materials required for the proper operation of the library….” Through its by-laws, the Library board vests the library director with responsibility for collection development. With management staff, the director allocates budget to carry out collection development, determines allocation of resources, and assigns responsibility for the development and management of the collection.

Scope of the Collection

The collection serves White Plains residents from birth through adulthood.

The Children’s Collection, housed in The Trove, serves children up to sixth grade, as well as parents, caregivers, teachers and professionals involved in service to children.

The Young Adult Collection, housed in The Edge, focuses on the informational and recreational needs of adolescents (12-19); additional materials purchased for young adults can be found throughout the adult nonfiction collection.

The Adult Collection serves adults of all ages and includes a range of materials: books in print and digital formats, DVDs, CDs, streamed and downloaded materials. Non-fiction material is typically acquired at an introductory through community college level.

The White Plains Collection focuses on the City of White Plains, with some coverage of Westchester County. It includes books, pamphlets, maps, photographs, indexes and local newspapers.

As a Cooperating Collection Library of the Foundation Center of New York, the Library provides materials–print and online–that assist grant-seekers and nonprofit organizations.

Criteria for Selection

In selecting material, staff rely on a variety of sources, including reviews in trade journals, consumer media, patron requests, and sales information. Considerations include:

Requests by White Plains Library cardholders
Accuracy, clarity, currency and comprehensiveness
Artistic or literary merit
Award recipients
Curricular enrichment
Reputation or qualifications of author or producer
Local interest in subject or author
White Plains or Westchester history
Scarcity of Library material on a subject

The Library is a forum for all points of view and adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom. In creating its collection, the Library is guided by three documents adopted by the American Library Association: The Library Bill of Rights (www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill), the Freedom to Read Statement (www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/statementspols/freedomreadstatement), and the Freedom to View Statement (www.ala.org/vrt/professionalresources/vrtresources/freedomtoview).

Criteria for the Withdrawal of Materials

The Library continually evaluates its collection. Staff withdraw material to keep the collection fresh and relevant. Relevancy is especially important in several areas of the collection—including medicine, science, and financial investing—where the information changes rapidly. Considerations include:

Condition—damaged or missing parts
Dated content, no longer accurate or reliable
Little or low use
No longer relevant to the community
Online availability of content
Space limitations as new items are acquired
Multiple copies of a title.

Enhancing Our Collection

The Library welcomes input from the Community and strives to meet patron requests in a timely manner. A “Request a Purchase” procedure is in place whereby a White Plains cardholder can recommend that the Library acquire an item that it doesn’t have. The form is available online https://whiteplainslibrary.org/purchase or at the public service desks. The Library will respond to all requests within 72 hours.

Also, the Library is a member of the Westchester Library System (WLS), a consortium of 35+ libraries. The holdings of all WLS libraries are in one catalog and available for borrowing throughout the County. Borrowing from member libraries is often the most efficient way for patrons to access material. The holdings of the member libraries may also inform the Library’s decision to acquire, or not acquire, an item.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees on July 8, 2015

PDF Version: Collection_Development_Policy_May_2015.pdf