Collection Development

Purpose of Policy

The purpose of the Bristol Public Library Collection Development and Management Policy is to provide guidelines for acquisition and withdrawal decisions, resource allocation, and long-range planning of collection needs in accordance with the library’s mission statement and current strategic plan.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director, who operates with the policies determined by the Board of Trustees. The Direction delegates the responsibilities for specific subject areas and formats regarding the evaluation, acquisition, retention, and withdrawal of materials.

Cooperative Relationships

The Library encourages the use of interlibrary cooperation to better serve the needs of the patrons by expanding available resource sharing (interlibrary Loan, ILL, SRCS) and cooperative agreements that benefit the community.  

Intellectual Freedom

Guiding principles for the Library’s materials selection and use policies is the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association.

Selection Criteria

The Library strives to develop a viable collection of standard works of permanent value and popular materials of current significance, striking an overall balance between public demand and diversity of material. The interest and needs of the community, the individual merit of each item, and the library’s existing collection, budget, and services are the main factors in selecting material.

The criteria listed below apply to the selection of all materials for the Bristol Public Library

• Authenticity
• Public demand and/ or interest
• Timeliness and/ or significance of the subject
• Contribution to a balanced collection
• Support of Library’s mission and strategic plan
• Community Relevance
• Cost
• Reviews for professionally recognized sources

Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage. A work will not be excluded from the Library’s collection solely because the content may be controversial.


Materials are purchased in a variety of formats. The Library monitors the development of new formats and, within budgetary and technical limitations, adds these to the collection. The choice of formats will be based on patron demand, community trends, product development, and positive critical reviews.

Patron Reviews

Patron suggestions and requests will be considered in accordance with the selection criteria outlined in this document. Requests not acquired by the Library may be available via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Adopted 8-24-2017