Collection Development Policy

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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 (the “District”) 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 District’s community.

Philosophy and Scope of Collection

In accordance with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the District provides resources for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people within the community the District 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 District 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, promote 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 or caregivers, who guide and oversee their children’s development.

Selection Process

Material selectors employ several methods to determine which materials should be purchased. These include the following:

  • Patron demand and/or anticipated demand
  • Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
  • Support of local and national school curricula
  • Connection to the District community
  • Importance of the subject matter
  • Media coverage and critical reception from professional review sources
  • Accuracy
  • Timeliness and relevance to contemporary culture
  • Representation of diverse interests and viewpoints
  • Relationship to existing collections
  • Authority or significance of the author
  • Enduring value
  • Item price
  • Availability at other nearby consortium libraries

Physical formats collected include books (including large print, comics and graphic novels), DVDs and Blu-rays, audiobooks (on CD and play-away format), magazines, newspapers, video games, and specialty kits (e.g., STEAM kits and items from the “Library of Things”). Electronic formats include eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers, eVideos, eMusic, and research and consumer information databases, all of which are accessible through the library website.

Patron Requests for Material Purchases

Patrons may request items via the following web form:

Material selectors review each request and determine whether to acquire the title via Interlibrary Loan or purchase for the collections.

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 materials are withdrawn, new ones are added, formats decline and rise, and publishing trends evolve. Material 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
  • Identifying and resolving gaps in subject coverage


Materials that no longer meet standards for retention may be discarded. Discarded materials are donated to Better World Books, Friends of the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library, or to book drives or organizations in need via community partners. The following are reasons materials may be discarded:

  • Material is no longer accurate, relevant, or timely
  • Damage or poor condition
  • Lack of patron demand or infrequent use
  • Space limitations
  • Availability in other easily accessible collections

Staff review each discarded item for potential repurchase, replacement, or update before making a final determination about weeding the item. 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.

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