Collection development and maintenance policy

Click here for a pdf version of this policy.

Policy approved by the Board of Trustees, November 1989

Policy revised and approved by the Board of Trustees, March 1996

Policy revised and approved by the Board of Trustees, December 1999

Policy revised and approved by the Board of Trustees, June 2006

Policy revised and approved by the Board of Trustees, March 2012

Policy revised and approved by the Board of Trustees December 2020


Bethlehem Public Library provides free, open and equal access to ideas and information for all members of the community. The library recognizes its responsibility to carefully select and maintain its print, non-print, digital and other collections in support of its mission to make its resources available to every patron regardless of characteristic or class as defined in the library’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

Expanding areas of knowledge, changing social values, technological advances and changing demographics of a diverse and evolving community require flexibility, open-mindedness and responsiveness in the selection, evaluation and reevaluation of library items and resources.


Bethlehem Public Library affirms as part of this collection development policy the following documents of the American Library Association: Library Bill of Rights, Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and Freedom to View Statement.  These documents may be viewed on the ALA website

Library items and resources defined

Library items and resources include but are not limited to: books, magazines, audiobooks, videos, electronic books, online databases, digitized pictures, digitized books and newspapers, digitized audio recordings, computers, Library of Things items, and museum passes.


Authority and responsibility for the selection of library items and resources are delegated to the library director by the board of trustees. The director may delegate related responsibilities to qualified staff.

Selection of library items and resources

Standard professional journals, authoritative online tools, as well as popular and local media sources, are used in the selection process. The library’s acquisition of any item or resource does not constitute endorsement.

While a single standard cannot be applied, potential items and resources are judged by appropriate criteria:

  • relevance to community needs, interests and demand
  • balance with the current collection
  • suitability to the intended audience of subject, style, format, interest and reading level
  • reputation of the author, composer, filmmaker, publisher or producer
  • quality of writing, design, illustration or production

Withdrawal of library items and resources from the library collection

Items and resources are withdrawn from the collection in order to maintain its usefulness, currency, relevance and condition. Withdrawn items and resources may be sold, offered to the Friends of Bethlehem Public Library, other libraries or non-profit organizations, recycled, discontinued or discarded.

Reconsideration of library items and resources in the library collection

Patrons requesting that an item or resource be withdrawn must complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Item or Resource form and submit it to the library director. The matter will be given serious attention and a response will be made within a reasonable time. The request will be considered in light of the library’s collection development policy, the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, the opinions of the various reviewing sources, and any other appropriate source. The library director will notify the patron of the results of the reconsideration.

The director’s decision may be appealed to the library Board of Trustees.

Statement on access

Responsibility for monitoring a minor’s access to items and resources rests with the parent or legal guardian.

Marking of library items and resources

Stickers or other markings may be applied to library items and resources by library staff to classify or catalog an item in order to improve ease of access to items and resources.

Library items and resources will not be marked or identified by library staff to show approval or disapproval of their contents.

Policy review

This collection development policy is available to the public at the library or on the library website. It will be reviewed by the library director and the board of trustees every five years.

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