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Collection Development & Weeding Policy


The Mission of the Harris-Elmore Public Library & Genoa Branch Library is to engage all of our communities, inspire lifelong learning, and provide universal access to a broad range of information, ideas, and entertainment.



Collection Development includes the planning, selection, acquiring, cataloging, and weeding of the library's collections of all formats.


Library Materials include, but are not limited to the following: books, e-books, periodicals, pamphlets, government publications, reference works, newspapers, microfilm, audiobooks, CD's, DVDs, video games, cake pans, hot spots, board games, large print materials, and educational on-line databases.


Weeding is the regular, on-going, and systematic evaluation process whereby library materials are withdrawn from the collection based on specific criteria such as outdated, worn, damaged, and/or duplicated materials.



The primary goal of collection development is to provide the best possible collection with the financial resources available. The decision to select any item for the collection is based on demand, anticipated need, and the effort to maintain a wide and balanced collection.


In the development of its collection, the Harris -Elmore Public Library and the Genoa Branch Library recognize that it is impossible for libraries of their size to provide a balanced, comprehensive collection that is strong enough to meet all community needs. As a member of the Serving Every Ohioan Consortium, they have an automated resource sharing network that supplements its resources with materials borrowed from other libraries in the consortium.


The library patron is an important part of the selection process. An individual request from a patron for a title may be honored if the request conforms to the guidelines outlined in this policy statement. The library has a suggestion for purchase section on its website. Suggestions regarding services and other aspects of library operations are also encouraged and can be made to any library employee.


The Board of Library Trustees considers and adopts a Collection Development Policy, which they authorize the Library Director and Branch Manager to administer through selection and purchase. The Director allocates the materials budget annually.




The Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch Library recognize that its patrons have diverse interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values, political views and needs. All patrons are free to reject for themselves any materials which do not meet their approval. This freedom does not include the right to restrict the freedom of others to read and inquire.

Library materials are selected on the basis of informational, educational, cultural, and recreational value. These materials are selected in compliance with the mission and goals of the library. The following general criteria are also used in selecting materials for addition to the collection:


1.      Relevance to Library’s mission

2.      Permanent value as standard work

3.      Current appeal and local demand

4.      Informational and recreational needs of users

5.      Budget

6.      Authority, accuracy, and artistic quality


Reviews are a major source of information about new materials. The primary source(s) of reviews are: School Library Journal, Library Journal, Booklist, Book Page, and other relevant industry publications. The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title which is in demand.


School curriculums are also a significant source for consideration in the selection of library material, as the library wishes to comply with the informational needs of every age group.


Additionally, consideration is given to requests from library patrons and books discussed on public media. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole.


The library strives to maintain materials representing all sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection of materials by the library does not mean endorsement of the contents of views expressed in those materials. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is an expression of the library's policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of that particular point of view. The library provides service to all within the framework of its rules and regulations and does not knowingly discriminate in its material selection regarding race, religion, nationality, or political view of an author or creator.



The ultimate responsibility for materials selection and the development of the library collection rests with the Library Director, who operates with the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.



The Harris-Elmore Public Library considers all types and formats of media to be in the realm of human expression and part of the human record. Because the library functions in a rapidly changing society, it is flexible about changes in communicative material, both in form and style of expression. The library does not reject materials for acquisition solely on the basis of medium.


Factors governing the choice of format include anticipated use, storage requirements, ease of access, and the format of earlier editions. When all other factors are equal, ease of access by the public should be the primary consideration.



The library accepts gifts, donations, and will purchase memorials. The library reserves the right to evaluate all gifts, donations, and memorial requests in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Those which do not meet the library's objectives and policies may be refused, or disposed of as the Director sees fit.


Memorial gifts of books or money are also accepted with suitable bookplates placed in the book. It is desirable for gifts or for specific titles to be offered after consultation with the Library Director.


The Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch Library do not appraise gift materials for tax purposes. The library will, upon request of the donor, provide a written receipt for gifts, indicating the number and general description of materials. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance by the library.



The withdrawal of materials, also called weeding, of the collection is an ongoing process directly related to collection development. The Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch Library maintain the quality of the collection by retaining or replacing essential materials and by removing items that are outdated, damaged or worn out, duplicated, no longer accurate, and no longer used may be removed from the collection. The library does not automatically replace all items that are removed because of loss or damage.


A collection that is continuously weeded doesn’t look over-crowded and is much more appealing to patrons who want to browse. When old, faded and grubby titles are removed the collection looks fresh and inviting. Weeding also helps the librarians keep track of their collection to beef up sparse areas and stop investing in sections that are no longer of interest to patrons.



Weeding Criteria:

The Library weeds in accordance to the standard CREW Method (Continuous Review, Evaluation & Weeding) for public libraries. “MUSTIE” is an acronym that simplifies the criteria for weeding books.


M=Misleading and/or factually inaccurate information

U=Ugly, worn and beyond mending

S=Superseded by a new edition or a much better book on the subject

T=Trivial of no discernible literary or scientific merit

I=Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community.

E=Elsewhere--the material is easily obtainable from another library


Additionally, if an item has not been checked out in over 3 years, it is strongly considered for removal from the library collection.


The professional staff of the library, under the general direction and supervision of the Library Director, will be solely responsible for the weeding of the collection. Items removed from the collection may be sold, given away, recycled, discarded, or otherwise disposed of at the discretion of the Harris-Elmore Public Library and its Genoa Branch Library.



The library provides an impartial environment in which individuals and their interests are brought together with the universe of ideas and information spanning the spectrum of knowledge and opinions. The library board affirms the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to View, and Freedom to Read policy statements in support of acquiring and managing collections.


The Board of Trustees recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for patrons to exercise their rights as citizens. The Board believes that reading, listening, and viewing are individual, private matters. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire cannot be restricted.


The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and guardians, not the Library, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening, and viewing choices of their own minor children. Selection of adult collection materials should not be inhibited by the possibility that the items may be utilized by minors.


The Harris-Elmore Public Library and the Genoa Branch Library do not select, retain, or remove materials on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval of any group of patrons, but solely on the basis of the standards stated in this policy. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents. All patrons will have free access to all materials, and no materials will be sequestered (except items that need protection because of rarity, cost, potential for loss, fragility, or unsuitability of format for heavy use).



This policy defends the freedom to read, view and hear. The Board of Trustees considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. If a patron claims that a particular item is not constitutionally protected, the burden of proof rests with the patron.


The Board of Trustees recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the library collection. Patrons who object to the presence of certain materials in the collection will be provided with this policy and a form to request formal reconsideration of the library resource. Those patrons who are unwilling to accept that the inclusion of these materials conforms to the goals, principles, and standards outlined in this policy will be referred to the Library Director who will discuss the matter with the complainant.


If the patron is dissatisfied with the Director's verbal decision or written reply, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board at a regularly scheduled Board meeting, abiding by the rules of Public Participation at Library Board of Trustees Meetings. The Board, after receiving public testimony from the patron and from the Director, will decide whether or not library policies have been followed and whether to add or withdraw the material in question. The Board will issue a written report within ninety days of the receipt of the challenge containing its decision and recommended action regarding the challenged material.


The library will not consider the removal of an item on grounds of obscenity or for any other reason covered by law unless a court of competent jurisdiction has ruled against it. An item will be considered for removal only once in a twelve-month period.


Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use and circulation pending final action. If a court having jurisdiction over the library decides that any material in the collection is unprotected by the Constitution of the United States, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available to patrons until a final ruling is made.


Patrons may request that the library acquire specific items. The library will consider the request in terms of whether the items conform to the goals, principles, and standards outlined in this policy; the availability and cost of the items; and the likelihood of general interest in them.



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, 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 by the Board of Trustees 

November 19, 2018

Revised January 8, 2024

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