Collection Development Policy


It is the purpose of the Kenton County Public Library to Preserve Yesterday, Enrich Today, and Inspire Tomorrow for the residents of Kenton County. To achieve this purpose, the Board and staff of the Library are dedicated to providing the highest quality services to meet the educational, informational, and recreational needs of our diverse community. A strong materials collection is the foundation for these services.

The public library plays a critical role in a democracy by providing a full range of information and culture enabling an open exchange of ideas required for the operation of a free society. Thus the Library’s Board and staff are committed to providing materials for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people in our community. With the community becoming ever more diverse, offering a collection that includes various points of view and represents widely diverse backgrounds and values benefits the community and the Library.

The Library staff will make every effort to provide information freely and fully to everyone in our community. While the Library restricts the circulation of some materials rated for adult audiences and uses an Internet filtering device in an attempt to limit the availability of sexually explicit material, any additional restrictions on a child’s use of the Library’s materials is the responsibility of the parent or guardian.

Due to the ever increasing volume of information and the limits of public financing, the Library is unable to acquire and house all the information available, so decisions are required for determining which materials will be obtained and/or retained in the Library’s collection. The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to guide the staff in selecting materials for the Library collection and to inform the public about the principles on which selection is made. The policy also serves as a guideline for determining which gift books to accept, which materials to rebind, which lost or worn out items to replace, and which materials to weed from the collections.

The Kenton County Public Library Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for materials acquired by the Library. The responsibility of selection of materials is delegated by the Library Director to various staff members who select and/or coordinate selection of materials, through the Collection Development Department.

The information needs of our users form the basis for materials selection for the library system, in accordance with the goals and objectives designated by the KCPL Strategic Plan 2014. Emphasis will be placed in the following areas:

  1. Create Lifelong Readers and Learners
    1. Opening the door of learning to preschoolers. Materials selected in this area will assist in introducing preschoolers to the vast array of knowledge available in the Library and in their world.
    2. Independent learning center. The Library will attempt to provide resources for individuals who are pursuing learning and information outside traditional educational pathways. A wide range of topics and formats will be available in an attempt to fulfill this need.
    3. Support of learners in all formal education centers. While no attempt can be made to purchase all curriculum materials, the Library will strive to maintain a materials collection that complements collections of other educational institutions in our area. Materials may be selected for the Library’s collection for potential use in research.
  2. Stimulate Imagination. Popular materials. As a result of this commitment, much emphasis will be placed on purchasing as many current, high demand, high interest materials in various formats as the budget allows. Often these items will need to be purchased pre-review on the basis of demand or anticipated demand.
  3. Connect to the Online World. Reference. Materials selected for this area provide ready access to factual information on a variety of subjects of interest to public library patrons and include both print and non-print formats. Electronic resources will be emphasized in order to provide access equally from all locations and remotely when possible.
  4. Know Your Community Past and Present. Local history and genealogy. It is the Library’s goal to collect and maintain the region’s definitive collection of Northern Kentucky history and genealogy. As many resources as possible will be collected and archived in this area, with emphasis on Kenton County and Northern Kentucky. Because of the nature of the materials and the difficulty of duplication, most of this collection will be located at the Covington Branch. As technology and funding allows, however, materials in this collection will be digitized and made available at the other locations and remotely.

Selection tools used by the staff in developing the collection include:

  1. Review literature
    a. Library Journal

    b. Booklist
    c. Publisher’s Weekly
    d. Horn Book
    e. Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
    f. School Library Journal
    g. Kirkus
    h. Other review sources such as newspapers or magazines

  2. Standard lists
    a. Public Library Catalog
    b. Fiction Catalog
    c. Children’s Catalog
    d. Guide to Reference Books
  3. Publisher’s and jobber’s catalogs
  4. Best Seller lists
  5. Patron requests
  6. Subject bibliographies prepared by various qualified individuals

    or institutions

  7. Newspapers, radio, television, or other media publicity
  8. Internet sources
  9. Various standing order plans which are set up because of the nature of the information or popularity of authors.

Certain selection criteria are used when evaluating all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated. Several of these criteria and combinations of criteria may be used when considering materials. Materials are evaluated on the significance of the entire work rather than individual parts. An item does not need to meet all of the criteria to be acceptable.

Criteria to be considered include:

  1. Authority and reliability
    a. Reputation and/or authority of author, editor, or illustrator b. Reputation and reliability of publisher
    c. Material should be appropriate to the age group for which it is written
  2. Treatment

    a. Accuracy
    b. Contemporary significance or permanent value
    c. Comprehensiveness or depth of treatment
    d. Representation of various points of view
    e. Relation to existing collection and to other material on the subject
    f. Literary excellence of style and readability

  3. Accessibility of information
    a. Scarcity of information on the subject
    b. Availability of material on the subject in other area libraries or through interlibrary loan or on the Internet c. Inclusion of indexes, bibliographies, etc.
  1. Format
    a. Binding, paper, type, design, electronic
    b. Arrangement of material
    c. Language
    d. Appropriateness and effectiveness of the medium to the content
    e. Special features such as index, charts, maps, etc.
  2. Media attention or publicity
  3. Requests or anticipated requests by patrons
  4. Historic value to the community
  5. Collection development policies as explained later in this document
  6. Price and availability

Each area of the collection has individual needs when considering materials to be selected. Generally speaking, popular demand is a strong consideration in selection of items for the collection. Emphasis will be placed on the timely acquisition of best sellers and other heavily marketed popular items. The Library holds membership in OCLC Interlibrary Loan Service, SouthWest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON), and Kentucky Virtual Library, which enables the Library to satisfy patron demand for other materials from a broader base than its own collection.

Library cardholders are encouraged to suggest titles for inclusion in the collection. Such requests are considered on an item by item basis. Suggested titles are judged by the standards listed above, just as are all items considered for addition to the collection. Price, perceived interest by others, and continued value to the collection are key factors in determining whether to add a requested item to the collection.

Adult Fiction Public demand is the primary criteria in selection of fiction. It is selected to satisfy recreational reading needs of the adult public and the Library sets no arbitrary standard of literary quality. Taking into account that adults vary greatly in education, interests, tastes, and reading skills, the Library attempts to select items which are of interest to a wide audience of users. Literary classics will also be purchased. Paperback fiction is added through gifts, and some paperback fiction is purchased. The paperback format of a book is purchased when hardback editions are not available or to provide additional copies of popular titles.

To further meet the high demand for current bestsellers A Quick Pick Collection was added to KCPL in July, 2011. The specially marked items of adult fiction, non-fiction, and adult and juvenile DVDs are non-holdable, non-renewable, and circulate to patrons on a first come, first serve basis.

Adult Nonfiction Nonfiction materials are added with consideration of the various backgrounds, abilities and levels of education which are identifiable within the community. Local needs and interests of the members of the community are also considered. Currency of topic and information will be the key factor in selection of this area of the collection.

Books on CD and Playaways Emphasis will be placed on unabridged books on CD, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults and children.

Young Adult Material in this area is selected to appeal to young adults of middle school through high school age. The Young Adult (YA) fiction collection is a transition from juvenile to adult material and must particularly relate to needs and interests of adolescents. Some duplication of juvenile or adult fiction titles may occur as a result of this interest level. Emphasis is on popular material but less popular items which show excellence in content or style are also included, such as award winning books. Paperbacks are purchased extensively to supplement the hardback collection. Nonfiction for this level is selected for its YA content and reading level. These materials may also be duplicated in the Adult or Children’s nonfiction collections.

Juvenile Fiction and Nonfiction Material in this area is selected to serve recreational and informational needs and interests of children from infants into middle school. Some duplicates of young adult titles may occur as a result of this interest level. A variety of print and non-print materials are selected for all levels of children’s understanding and reading abilities. The basic criteria listed above are used in selection with emphasis on appeal to children and educational contribution. Fiction is equally as important as nonfiction, and literary quality is a primary criteria in selection. Special attention is given to award winning books, while popular/in demand titles or series are also purchased. Paperbacks are purchased extensively because of their appeal and to supplement the hardback collection, and also for ease of transport to other locations.

Reference Materials in this area are acquired in order to provide ready access to factual information. Selections include but are not limited to almanacs, directories, encyclopedias, and indexes. Materials in such non print formats as microfilm, microfiche, electronic resources will also be included. Particular attention is paid to accuracy and currency of the information. This collection is non-circulating.

E-Books The Library provides downloadable materials for both the adult and juvenile collections. Collection Development works with the Digital Branch Librarian to select appropriate vendors to supply this content. Materials for this collection are chosen using the same criteria listed above for the physical collection.

Web Based Reference Sources Increased emphasis will be devoted to acquiring web based reference sources in order to insure currency and more widespread access to information. Databases in this area are selected by the Digital Branch Librarian in order to provide access to quality information to all Library locations as well as patrons outside the Library when available. The databases in this collection are frequently updated. The varieties of databases selected are also intended to serve all ages of information seekers.

Kentucky and Local History The goal of the Kenton County Public Library in this part of the collection is to provide the most comprehensive and in depth Kentucky collection in the area, documenting the political, cultural and economic history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky with a strong emphasis on the Northern Kentucky Region, especially Kenton County. KCPL is the major repository for this material in Greater Cincinnati. Types of materials which are collected include books, microform, photos, maps, paper ephemera, pamphlets, online databases, and music.

The library also collects genealogical materials that will assist patrons in researching their family history. The geographic focus of this collection is the Commonwealth of Kentucky, with a strong emphasis on Northern Kentucky and Kenton County.

The majority of these collections are non-circulating.

Maps Emphasis is placed on the collection of maps pertaining to Kenton County and Northern Kentucky. Included are road maps, government maps, and other special topic maps. Maps of other areas of Kentucky are selectively acquired as are general U.S. and world maps which do not appear in atlases.

Large Print Material Large print material is selectively acquired to meet general recreational and informational reading needs of adult and juvenile visually impaired patrons. Material is purchased for use in the Homebound program as well as by the general public and some selection may be based on the needs of homebound users.

Textbooks The library does not generally attempt to collect textbooks. They will be acquired only when they supply the best or only information available on a subject. They will not be acquired or duplicated to satisfy the demands of a particular institution or curriculum.

Periodicals The library acquires periodicals in order to provide recreational reading, to provide information supplemental to the book collection, and to provide material that is not yet and may never be in book form. Selection criteria for periodicals are the same as those for books and other materials. The Library participates in the Kentucky Union List of Serials which enables the Library to reach beyond the scope of its collection to satisfy patron demand. The Library will rely heavily on electronic sources for back issues.

Newspapers Newspapers are acquired for recreational reading, to meet reference needs, and to provide current information. Subscriptions are held for most local, selected major Kentucky, and national newspapers. Complete back files will be maintained at the Covington Branch only for certain local papers of Kenton County, Covington, and Newport. The preferred method of keeping these records will be on microfilm.

Government Documents The Library acquires government publications which are important for reference or popular reading and study. Emphasis is placed on documents pertaining to Kentucky and especially to Kenton County. As a State Data Center Affiliate, the Library receives and maintains a collection of U.S. Census material pertaining to Kentucky, Kentucky demographic information, and other statistical data. Local full depository libraries are located at Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Audio Visual Material (CDs, DVDs, and video games) are selected by the A-V Specialist to supplement the traditional print collection and to provide information and entertainment not available in print format. In addition to the general selection criteria, particular consideration is given to composition, production quality, appropriateness of format to subject, and ease of use.

• DVDs: Emphasis is placed on popular, classic and award-winning feature films, television productions, children’s features, and educational and instructional videos. Closed captioned videos will be purchased when possible.

  • Music on CDs: Emphasis is placed on a wide range of popular music for both adults and children. Music CDs with a ‘Parental Advisory’ label will be classified as CD-X, and will not be loaned to people under the age of 18 without expressed permission from a parent or caregiver.
  • Video games: Emphasis is placed on popular, classic and award winning video games for both the Adult and Children’s departments. Ratios of games systems purchased will follow current system demand. Video games rated ‘Mature’ will be classified as VG-X and will not be loaned to people under the age of 18, without expressed permission from a parent or caregiver.

    Other Media Other non-print sources of information or entertainment may be considered for inclusion in the Library’s collection as demand and technological advances warrant.

    Other Collections The Library has several special collections to meet the unique needs of certain portions of the community. These collections include, but are not limited to, book club kits, curriculum packs, new readers materials, the Racing to Read van collection, and the Spanish collection.

    Library Website The Library maintains a website on the World Wide Web which contains information about the Library, provides access to the Library’s catalog, and allows each patron access to his or her own circulation record. Patrons may renew items and place holds through the website. The site also provides links to various other informational websites and an electronic collection which has been determined by the Digital Branch Librarian to be of interest to patrons. These sites on numerous subjects are examined and collected by various staff members and submitted to the Digital Branch Librarian who makes the final decision about inclusion on the Library’s website. Criteria for selection will be the same as other materials.

    In 1997 the Board of Trustees authorized the use of an Internet filtering device to filter sexually explicit material. From time to time sexually explicit websites which evade the filter may need to be blocked manually. Upon request by library staff, the Digital Branch Librarian will review the site and determine whether it should be blocked. The site may be reviewed if requested by staff or patron using the Request for Reconsideration form attached to this document.

    Other Policies

    Donations The Library accepts gifts with the understanding that only those items which meet the selection criteria will be added to the collection. Gifts of local material are encouraged. The Library accepts donations of magazine subscriptions provided the magazine meets the criteria listed above. Donated magazines will be placed in an area designated for that purpose. These materials will not be cataloged or processed. They will not be listed in the Library’s database nor will backfiles be kept. Gifts of out of date material, unneeded duplicates and items in poor physical condition will not be added to the collection. The Library reserves the right to dispose of donated material as it deems most appropriate. The Library cannot make a commitment to keep any materials on a special shelf or otherwise separate from the main collection, or to establish special conditions or policies for their use. Memorial and other cash donations intended to purchase material will be used to purchase items that are mutually satisfactory to the donor and the Library.

Format Changes. With advancements in technology, changes in format will continue to occur. Availability of materials in a particular format is subject to change. The Library staff considers use, demand, collection needs, and market availability in these purchasing decisions.

Multiple Copies The popularity of certain materials demands that multiple copies, and sometimes multiple formats, be purchased for the collection. Experience has determined that titles by certain popular authors will require multiple copies be purchased initially, often by way of standing orders. Duplicate copies of titles by popular authors in other formats such as large type and audio will be purchased when available. Sometimes this may be determined by patron requests for titles in various formats. The number of holds on popular titles is also monitored on a regular basis to determine if more copies will need to be purchased to reduce waiting times for patrons to receive these titles.

Reconsideration of Challenged Print or Non-Print Materials Once an item has been accepted as qualifying under the selection policies and criteria of the Kenton County Public Library, it will not be removed from the collection at the request of those who disagree with it unless it can be shown to be in violation of these policies and criteria. A form to be used if an item is challenged is appended at the end of this document. Completed Request for Reconsideration forms should be returned to the Director of the Library. The Director will appoint a committee to consider the challenged material and present a recommendation on the request. The Director will make the final decision regarding the material. The requestor may appeal the decision to the Board of Trustees.

Purchasing of Materials Most items for the collection will be purchased through approved vendors. Some items will be purchased directly from the publisher, such as Thorndike large print books. Other items that are available only online will be handled on a case by case basis. Generally, used items will not be considered for purchase by the Collection Development and Acquisitions departments. Self-published items will be purchased only when they meet the requirements of the Collection Development Policy.

Binding and Rebinding An item may be bound or rebound if it is unique or important to the collection.

Weeding Space limits the amount of material which can be shelved. Systematic withdrawal, or weeding, of materials which are no longer useful to a current and active collection is as necessary as the purchase of new material. The necessity for current information varies in different areas of the collection. However, weeding generally follows the same principles and criteria as selection. Additional factors to be considered are:

• Age and currency of the material/format
• Availability of a later edition
• Significance of the item
• Use/popularity
• Availability of space
• Condition of material

Replacement An item which has been lost, damaged, or weeded from the collection will not be automatically replaced. Need for replacement is determined by the general selection criteria and also two primary factors:

  • Subject coverage in comparable or more current material
  • Demand for a specific title

    Patrons may purchase a replacement copy for an item only if it is a new, exact copy of the original item, with an ISBN that matches the existing record in the library’s system. NOTE: This is not a recommended procedure.

    When A-V materials are returned with missing or damaged discs, the patron will be charged a standard rate for each missing part. The current rate shall be $10.00 per missing or damaged disc.

    Approved by the Board of Trustees January 19, 2016

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