Collection Development Guidelines

I. Mission

The Boca Raton Public Library provides quality library services and resources necessary to meet the educational, recreational, cultural, business, and other informational needs of its users. The Library is committed to providing information in all appropriate formats and shall select and organize its resources to benefit persons of all ages and abilities.

II. Definitions

Collection Development includes the planning, evaluating, selecting, acquiring, and weeding of the Library's collections.

Library materials include, but are not limited to, the following; books, periodicals, reference works, newspapers, microfilm, CDs, DVDs, large print materials, online databases, the internet, and new formats as they evolve.

Weeding is the regular, ongoing, and systematic evaluation process whereby Library materials are withdrawn from the collection based on specific criteria such as being outdated, worn, damaged, duplicated and/or affected by space constraints.

III. Objectives

Boca Raton Public Library strives to select, organize, preserve and make freely and easily available materials that will aid all individuals in the community in the pursuit of their educational, recreational, cultural, business, and other informational needs. 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 addition, roles for materials and services are reviewed on a regular basis by staff, thus aiding in the overall process of materials selection.

The Library patron is an important part of the selection process. An individual request from a patron for a title is usually honored if the request conforms to the guidelines outlined in these Guidelines. Request forms are found at public service locations in the Library and on the Library's website.

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 or views expressed in those materials. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is an expression 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 materials selection regarding race, creed, gender, occupation, financial position, sexual preference, political affiliation, and religion.

The Boca Raton Public Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View statements of the American Library Association, as well as the Boca Raton Public Library Internet Use Policy.

IV. Selection Criteria

Library materials are selected on the basis of patrons' educational, recreational, cultural, business, and other informational needs. The following general criteria are also used in selecting materials for addition to the collection:
  • Authority, accuracy, and artistic quality
  • Cost, budgetary, and spatial constraints
  • Current appeal and popular demand
  • Importance and value to the collection and to Library users
  • Local interest
  • Positive review from a professional journal
  • Significance of the subject matter
When evaluating free literature materials to be displayed and/or distributed, the provisions set forth in the Library's Collection Development Guidelines should be considered along with the following:
  • Currency of the materials: Items that are outdated are not appropriate;
  • Accuracy of the materials: Items that are misleading or inaccurate are not appropriate;
  • Objectivity of the materials: Items that are primarily devoted to the sale, advertising, solicitation, or promotion of commercial products and services are not appropriate;
  • Breadth of appeal of the materials: Items that are personal in nature or that are not of interest to the community as a whole are not appropriate.
Since space is limited, free literature shall be selected and allowed to be displayed, only in the space(s) provided, in the following order of priority:
  • Materials that pertain to the use of the Library or that describe the services, programs, and informational resources available at the Library;
  • Materials that provide information regarding the facilities, services, programs, and activities of the Recreation Services Department and other agencies of the City of Boca Raton;
  • Materials that provide information that would be of interest to the Library's users that are compiled and distributed by agencies of local, state and federal governments;
  • Materials that contain information that would be of interest to the Library's users provided by any organization that is qualified as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Other materials that contain local information that would be of potential interest to the Library's users.

V. Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for materials selection and the development of the Library collection rests with the Manager of Library Services, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Boca Raton Mayor and City Council, the City Manager, and the Code of City Ordinances. Professional Library staff under the general supervision of the Manager accomplishes the actual selection of materials.

VI. Formats of Materials

Materials may be available in a variety of formats. Factors governing the choice of format include anticipated use, storage requirements, ease of access, cost, and the format of earlier editions. When all other factors are equal, ease of access by the public shall be the primary consideration.

VII. Accessibility

The Boca Raton Public Library is committed to providing equal access to information and materials to all of our users.

Services include:
Materials (check out with BRPL library card)
Assistive Technology (for all BRPL visitors)
  • Magnification Reader: features include adjustable contrast, size and focus. The reader is paired with a 20" color monitor. Located at the Downtown Library and the Spanish River Library.
  • Microsoft Narrator and Microsoft Magnifier: available on all public computers  at the Downtown Library; coming soon to the Spanish River Library.
  • EZSee Large Print Keyboard. Located at the Downtown Library.
Florida Division of Blind Services: Braille and Talking Book Library (for all Florida residents)

Florida residents who have difficulty holding, handling or reading a regular print book because of a visual or physical disability are eligible to access a variety of materials through this state service. It is the largest library of its kind in the U.S., with a collection of more than 2.4 million items in Braille and audio format. All services are provided for free, and materials are sent to and from customers via postage-free mail. To register with Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library, mail a certified application to The Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library. 
If you need additional help please call Instructional Services at 561-393-7906 for information.

VIII. Gifts, Memorials, & Donations to the Library Material Collection

The Library accepts collection gifts and donations and will provide memorial bookplates. The Library reserves the right to evaluate all gifts, donations, and memorial requests in accordance with the selection criteria and per the City of Boca Raton's Donation Policy. Items that do not meet the Library's selection criteria may be refused, sold or otherwise disposed. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance by the Library. 

IX. Materials Policy for Print on Demand, Self Published &/or Local Authors

The Boca Raton Public Library appreciates the willingness of authors to have their items added to the library collection. All requests presented to the Library are subject to the same selection criteria as purchased items. An item(s) not included in the collection will be donated to the Friends of the Library Bookstore.
 All requests must include the following information:
  • Copy(s) of published reviews from professional journals or publications such as Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal and Library Journal.  Amazon reviews are not considered a professional source.
  • A listing of the item(s) availability in other locations such as local libraries, historical societies or bookstores.
  • Information about author, publication/printing, content summary, and why item should be included in the Library's collection.
  • Requests will be received at the Spanish River Library, 1501 NW Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431, Attn: Collection Services.

X. Withdrawal of Materials

The withdrawal of materials from the collection, also called weeding, is an ongoing process established by set guidelines and is essential for the maintenance of an active and useful collection. Materials that are outdated, worn, damaged, duplicated, affected by space constraints, and/or do not meet patron demand may be removed from the collection. The professional staff of the Library, under the direction and supervision of the Manager of Library Services, will be solely responsible for the weeding of the collection.

Information On the Effects of Mold On Wet Materials

The BRPL makes every attempt to ensure a mold free environment. Whether a book has been or is slightly damp or completely wet, the book cannot be retained in the collection.

The most important factor in mold growth is the presence of moisture, most commonly in the air, but also in the object on which the mold is growing. If relative humidity is over 70%, mold growth is inevitable. In addition, many molds contain colored substances that can stain paper, cloth, or leather.

XI. Disposal of Library Collection Materials

Library collection materials are identified by the City of Boca Raton as a "supply."

Once a supply is beyond its usefulness, it may be disposed of by the BRPL. When library collection materials (i.e. supplies) are no longer of a useful value as determined by the BRPL Collection Development Guidelines and/or the BRPL Weeding Policy, materials may be disposed of. BRPL may dispose of library materials in various ways including:
  • Giving the materials to an organization (e.g. Friends of the Library, Boca Raton Historical Society, Wayne Barton Center)
  • Recycling the materials
  • Processing the materials as solid waste

XII. Access

The Boca Raton Public Library recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for patrons to exercise their rights as citizens. The Library believes that reading, listening, and viewing are individual, private matters. While patrons are 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 materials shall not be inhibited by the possibility that children may utilize the items.

The Library collection will be organized and maintained to facilitate access. No materials will be labeled, restricted, sequestered, or altered because of any controversy about the author, subject matter, or intended or potential audience.

XIII. Concerns & Requests

The Boca Raton Public Library 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.

Any resident of the City of Boca Raton may express his or her objections to particular library materials by completing a Patron Request for Reconsideration of a Work form. After the form is completed, it will be referred to the Collection Development Librarian who will evaluate the original reasons for the purchase of the material. The professional staff will consider whether the material meets the selection criteria outlined in this policy. The patron will receive a response from the Collection Development team concerning the disposition of the request; if the patron wishes further or different action, he/she has two weeks to appeal in writing to the Manager of Library Services. The Manager of Library Services will then respond in writing to the patron. Appeals of this decision will then be forwarded to the Boca Raton Library Advisory Board for formal action at a regularly scheduled board meeting.

Endorsed by the Library Board on January 15, 2014.