Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District is a community resource for the advancement of knowledge, and a provider of innovative and informative cultural enrichment for all ages.

Purpose of Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy, approved by the Library Board of Trustees, sets forth the guiding principles that create and shape the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District’s collection, the practices that maintain it over time and the guidelines that help the curators of the collection respond to community needs. The Collection Development Policy ensures that the District’s collection will be continuously curated to meet the informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the Winnetka-Northfield community.

Philosophy and Scope of Collection

In accordance with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Winnetka-Northfield Library provides resources for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials will not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. Library materials are intended to showcase a diversity and depth of views so that citizens may explore all points of view and issues of interest. The Library upholds the right of the individual patron to access information, even though others may find the content objectionable or controversial.

Materials for children and teenagers are selected to encourage reading for pleasure, facilitate literacy, support developmental and educational needs, and reflect the needs of the community. The reading and viewing activity of minor children is the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their children’s development.

Selection Process

Material selectors employ several methods to determine which materials are best suited for purchase for the Library’s collections. Selectors refer to professional review sources, including Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, VOYA, and Horn Book as well as a variety of web sources. They purchase materials based on anticipated and actual patron demand as apparent in the media and within the community.

Physical formats collected include print books (including large print), DVDs, audio books, music CDs, magazines, newspapers, and specialty kits. Electronic formats include books, audiobooks, magazines, and research and consumer information databases, all of which are accessible through the library website.

Selectors evaluate materials for purchase according to the following criteria:
• patron demand
• importance of subject matter
• critical reception
• accuracy
• relevance to contemporary culture
• enduring value
• authority or significance of the author
• connection to the District community
• suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
• support of local and national school curricula

Patron Requests for Materials Purchases

Patrons may request that the Library purchase items via the following web form: Materials selectors review each request for inclusion in the collection or for loan through the CCS Consortium or Interlibrary Loan.

Gifts and Donations

The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District gratefully accepts gifts and contributions that will further the mission of the Library and help the Library better serve the needs of the community. All donations and gifts are subject to applicable Illinois statutes as well as the Library’s existing policies and guidelines. The Library Director makes the final decision on the acceptance of gifts and reserves the right to decide any conditions of recognition, display, housing, and access. The Library also reserves the right to dispose of gifts deemed to be no longer suited for or needed by the Library.

Monetary Gifts

We welcome donations of money and encourage unrestricted gifts so that contributions can be used in ways that best support the Library’s strategic plan and the needs of the community. 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. Librarians will select specific titles according to the selection criteria outlined in this policy and in keeping with the current needs of the community. If a donation is used to purchase books in memoriam, the Library will affix a memorial nameplate in the front of the book. Donations in memoriam are subject to discard when they are no longer suited for or needed by the library.

Donations of Books and Audiovisual Materials

The Library gratefully accepts donations of books or other resources in good condition. Donations are reviewed by selectors in accordance with the selection criteria outlined in this policy. Anything not retained in the collection will be donated to Better World Books or local schools, libraries, or community organizations in need.

Gifts in Kind

Gifts of furniture, paintings, statuary, plants, other tangible personal property, and professional services may be accepted or declined by the Board with advice and counsel from the Library Director. Any conditions attaching to the proposed gift, including, but not necessarily limited to, the type of recognition provided and the location, disposition, handling or display of the article, will be considered by the Board and the Director. Any such conditions which the Board regards to be inappropriate or impractical may provide a basis for rejection of the gift.

Valuation of Non-Monetary Gifts

Neither the library staff nor the Board will issue a written or verbal statement to the donor regarding the deemed value of non-monetary gifts.

Collection Maintenance

A library collection is a living entity, and good stewardship to taxpayer money requires that the collection remain fresh and tailored to patron needs as new materials are withdrawn and added, formats decline and rise, and publishing trends evolve. Materials selectors employ the following strategies to maintain the Library’s collections:
• Statistical analysis of current collection usage
• Frequent review of and response to requests for materials not currently held by the Library
• Purchase of additional copies of titles in response to high demand
• Purchase of materials to support Library and community programming
• Purchase of materials to support local school curricula and national educational benchmarks
• Monitoring trends in publishing, media, and technology


Materials that no longer meet standards for retention may be discarded. Discarded materials are either sold to benefit the Library District through the Friends of the Library, donated to Better World Books, or donated to book drives or libraries in need via community partners. The following are reasons materials may be discarded:
• damage or poor condition
• material is no longer accurate, relevant, or timely
• space limitations
• lack of patron demand or infrequent use
• availability in other easily accessible collections

Staff review each discarded item for potential repurchase, replacement, or update. The review process takes into consideration patron demand, depth of coverage in the subject area, number of copies in the CCS Consortium, cost, and availability.

Reconsideration of Materials

The choice of library materials is an individual decision. While a person may reject titles for himself or his minor children, he cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the material by others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some complaints, the following procedures have been developed to assure that complaints are handled in a timely and consistent manner.

The complainant will be immediately referred to the Head of the Department in which the material is located or to the Librarian in charge. The Department Head or Librarian in charge will discuss the complaint with the patron and explain the Library Collection Development Policy and the Library Bill of Rights.

If the complaint is unresolved, the Department Head or Librarian in charge will provide the patron with instructions on how to register a formal complaint and immediately notify the Director.
On receipt of the formal complaint, the Director will direct the Department Head to review the material and to respond in writing.

The response will be forwarded by the Director to the complainant with the information that, on written request, a Review Committee will be appointed to consider removing the material if the patron is still dissatisfied.

On receipt of this request, the Director will appoint one trustee and one librarian to join her in reviewing the questioned material.

The Committee will decide to retain the material or to recommend that the Board of Trustees withdraw it.

If the Committee decides to retain the material, the Director will notify the complainant of the decision and of the right to appeal to the Board of Trustees. Patrons are allowed one appeal per title in question.

If the Committee decides to recommend withdrawal, the Board of Trustees will consider it as a Committee of the Whole. The complainant will be notified in writing of the Board’s decision.
The Board of Trustees ascribes to the principles as stated in the American Library Association statement on Challenged Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.


If a patron wishes the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District to reconsider any book or other material which is in our collection, please do so in a letter to the Library Director addressing the following points:
• What is the author, title, publisher and date of publication?
• How was the book brought to your attention?
• Have you read the entire book?
• What do you approve of in the book? Please refer to specific pages and paragraphs.
• What do you object to about the book? Please refer to specific pages and paragraphs.
• Can you identify the central theme or subject of the material?
• Please recommend a book that will convey as valuable a perspective on the same theme, if you are aware of one.
• Are you representing yourself or a group?
• Please provide your name, address and phone.

Following receipt of your letter, the title in question will be reviewed by Departmental personnel and you will be notified of the decision. Following this, you may request that a Committee of Board and Staff be appointed to further consider this title.

Approved on February 19, 2018