Collection Development Policy

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, and which reflects the diverse interests and backgrounds of the Boca Raton community. 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, organizing, displaying, and weeding of the Library's collections.

Library materials include, but are not limited to, the following; books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, music, movies, large print materials, online databases, digital and streaming content, special collections, 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Weeding is the regular, ongoing, and systematic evaluation process whereby Library materials are withdrawn from the collection based on specific criteria such as date of publication, wear, damage, or duplication.

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 broad and balanced collection. In addition, materials and services are reviewed on a regular basis by staff, thus aiding in the overall process of materials selection.

The Library strives to maintain materials representing a variety of perspectives in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection or display 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 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, or religion.

IV. Selection Criteria

Library materials are selected based on educational, recreational, cultural, business, and other informational needs of the community. The following general criteria are also used in selecting materials for the collection:

  • Source authority, accuracy, and artistic quality
  • Cost, budget limits, availability, and spatial constraints
  • Current appeal and popular demand
  • Local interest and community representation
  • Positive review from professional sources
  • Current or historical significance of the author or  subject matter

The Library patron is an important part of the selection process. An individual Request to Purchase from a patron for a title is usually honored if the request conforms to the guidelines outlined in this Policy.

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, the Library Board, and the Code of City Ordinances. The Collection Development Librarian II, under the general supervision of the Manager of Library Services, makes the actual selection of materials. The Collection Development Policy, approved by the Library Board, is one of the Library's fundamental policy documents. It outlines the philosophy that creates and shapes the Boca Raton Public Library's collection, the practices that maintain the collection over time, and the guidelines that help the Collection Development Librarian II respond to community needs.

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 revision or formatting 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 our users. Services include:

Materials (check out with Boca Raton Public Library card):
  • Audiobooks on CD
  • Closed-Captioned Labeled DVDs
  • Large Print Books
  • Playaways
  • 24/7 Digital Library
    • Closed-Captioned and Transcript Option Streaming Video
    • Downloadable Audiobooks, eBooks

Assistive Technology for all Library visitors, located at each library building:

  • Magnification Reader (currently at Downtown only): features include adjustable contrast, size and focus. The reader is paired with a 20" color monitor.
  • Microsoft Narrator and Microsoft Magnifier, available on all public computers.
  • EZSee Large Print Keyboard.

Florida Division of Blind Services: Braille and Talking Book Library

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, and Donations

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. Print on Demand, Self Published and/or Local Authors

The Boca Raton Public Library appreciates the willingness of authors to contribute their items to the Library collection. All requests presented to the Library are subject to the same selection criteria as purchased items. An item(s) not accepted for 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 Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal and Library Journal.  Kirkus reviews may be considered if item is reviewed by other sources as well. Amazon reviews are not considered a professional source.
  • A listing of the item(s) availability in other locations such as libraries, historical societies, or bookstores.
  • Information about author, publisher and publication date, 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 Collection Materials

The withdrawal of materials from the collection, also called weeding, is an ongoing process established by professional library standards and is essential for the maintenance of an active and useful collection. Materials that are outdated, worn, damaged, duplicated, and/or do not meet current patron demand may be removed from the collection. The Collection Development Librarian II, under the general 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 Library 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 returned or 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. The Library maintains consistent temperature controls to avoid high humidity inside the buildings.

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 Library. When Library collection materials are no longer of a useful value as determined by the Collection Development Policy, materials may be dispositioned. The Library may dispose of library materials in various ways, including:

  • Giving the materials to the Friends of the Library
  • Recycling appropriate materials
  • Disposing damaged materials

XII. Unrestricted Access

The Boca Raton Public Library recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for Library users to exercise their rights as citizens. The Library believes that reading, listening, and viewing are individual, private matters. While Library users 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 locoparentis. 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 collection materials, book club selections, storytime selections, or library displays will be labeled, restricted, sequestered, or altered because of any controversy about the author, subject matter, or intended or potential audience.

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.

XIII. Free Literature

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. Since space is limited, free literature should 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.
Unapproved free literature materials include outdated, inaccurate, or misleading information; materials which are primarily devoted to the sale, advertising, solicitation, or promotion of commercial products and services; and materials that are personal in nature or that are not of interest to the community.

XIV. Concerns and 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 II 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, they have 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 the Manager's decision will be forwarded to the Boca Raton Library Board for formal review at a regularly scheduled board meeting.

Approved by Library Board 2/16/2022