Collection Development Policy



The Centre County Federation of Public Libraries provides free library service to all persons living in Centre County. Centre County Library & Historical Museum (including its branch library locations and bookmobile) and Schlow Centre Region Library make up the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries. The Library Directors of the two member libraries share co-system administrator duties and responsibilities. 

Schlow Centre Region Library, as the headquarters of the Central Pennsylvania Library District, also operates as a resource library for the district member libraries in Clearfield, Juniata and Mifflin Counties. 

Through cooperation with other area libraries and by participation in the Central Pennsylvania Library District programs, the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries attempts to provide a wide variety of library resources and services to individuals and community groups in Centre County.

The collection development policy is intended to implement the general objectives of the public library: to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community with a full range of modern library services and resources.

The policy is to be reexamined on a regular basis by the Federation Board in consultation with the Library Directors. The Library Directors are responsible for implementing this policy.


A.    General Statement

The libraries purchase, within budgetary limitations, the best materials of both permanent and current interest in all subjects. The selection of library resources is a prime activity of the libraries and is based on the needs and requests of the communities that they serve.

B.    Responsibilities

  • Final responsibility for selection of all library materials rests with the Library Directors, who operate within the framework of policies determined by the Federation Board.
  • However, the Library Directors will delegate to the librarians involved in selection the authority to interpret the policy in making day-to-day decisions. Librarians at the main Centre County Library facility are responsible for selecting, evaluating and weeding materials for the branches and the bookmobile. Problems will be referred to the Directors for resolution. Suggestions from other staff members and library users are encouraged and seriously considered.

C.    Criteria for Selection

Those librarians selecting books and audiovisual materials draw upon their experience and knowledge of the available resources, the existing collection, and the community (its needs, demands, and other library holdings). The overall value of the material to the collection is the chief criterion for selection.

  • Factors considered in recommending library materials for purchase are:    
    • The author’s authority and competence.
    • Importance of the subject matter to the collection.
    • Scarcity of material on the subject.
    • Timeliness or permanence of the item.
    • Appearance of the title in standard bibliographies or indexes.
    • Clarity and accuracy of presentation.
    • Reputation and standing of the publisher.
    • Budgetary considerations and price.
    • Suitability of format and price.
    • Availability of the material in other library collections in the area.

D.    Selection Aids

Printed reviews play an important role in the selection process. Since the libraries can afford only a small proportion of the books and other materials published each year, it is vital that the libraries select those items that best serve the needs of the community.

  • Some important reviewing sources are: 
    • Booklist
    • Publisher’s Weekly
    • Kirkus Reviews Review
    • Kliatt
    • Library Journal
    • Multicultural Review
    • New York Times Review
    • Voice of Youth Advocates
    • Bulletin of Center for Children’s Books
    • Horn Book
    • School Library Journal
    • Video Librarian
    • Ingram Ipage Professional
    • And other professional literature as appropriate

E.   Age of Clientele

  • Children
    • The children’s department serves children from birth through the 5th or 6th grade. It maintains a broad juvenile collection, including materials ranging from standard titles to high-interest items.
    • Special considerations in selecting children’s materials:
      • Series which do not meet the selection criteria are not considered. Each title in a fiction or nonfiction series is evaluated individually.
      • Abridgements will be selected only when the story and concepts are considered suitable for children, but the writing of the original is too involved for the average child. Generally, the libraries do not buy adaptations. Only the best retelling of folk tales will be considered.
  • Young Adults
    • A separate collection of hardbound fiction and paperbacks is maintained for young adults (grades 6-12). Nonfiction books especially suited for young adult needs and interests are distinguished by a “Y” in the call number and are shelved with the adult collection.
    • It is recognized that there is a great range of maturity between children and young adults, and that all materials selected might not be equally suitable in subject and vocabulary for all ages. Final responsibility for children’s and teenagers’ choice of library material rests with their parents or legal guardians.
  • Adults
    • Centre County Federation of Public Libraries has developed the adult collections to serve the interests of the general reader. Resources for patrons engaged in serious and extensive researches are available from the academic and special libraries in the area. The libraries also recognize the special needs of some adults for materials such as large print, closed caption videos, audiobooks, adult new reader books, and English as a second language material.

F.   Special Areas/Considerations

  • Reference material
    • Although most any item in a library can be used to provide reference service, the libraries maintain a specific collection of print and electronic reference materials. As a general rule only the latest edition of a reference title is kept in the reference area. Older editions are transferred to the circulating collection or withdrawn.
  • Local History
    • The Schlow Centre Region Library maintains some local history material covering the Centre Region and Centre County. Included are yearbooks of the State College High School, and Friends of the Library oral history tapes and transcriptions. The collection also contains, on a limited scale, bound and unbound publications and vertical file material about Centre Region and Central Pennsylvania history.
    • Schlow Centre Region Library does not attempt to collect primary materials (private papers, diaries, manuscripts, and church, society, or company records). Genealogical and in-depth local history requests are referred to the Centre County Library, the Penn State Room of the The Pennsylvania State University Libraries, or the local historical or genealogical societies.   
    • The purpose of the Centre County Library and Historical Museum Pennsylvania Room collection is to collect and preserve primary and secondary source materials that document the history of Bellefonte and Centre County with an emphasis on genealogy materials, and to make them available to researchers and the general public. In addition, the Centre County Library and Historical Museum will maintain a general collection of Pennsylvania state history materials.
    • The Pennsylvania Room materials are physically located in the Historical Museum building, but are considered part of the reference collection of Centre County Library, and as such are not a circulating collection.
    • The history portion of the collection includes county histories and atlases, and state and regional histories chosen on the basis of scholarly reputation and/or permanent value and interest to Pennsylvania Room patrons, such as histories of the towns and townships of Centre County by local authors. Standard works on Pennsylvania-related subjects such as railroads, arts and crafts, folklore, and industries also are in the Pennsylvania Room core collection.
    • The genealogical portions of the collection are geographically defined, relating primarily to Centre County and the counties that are directly adjacent (Clinton, Clearfield, Huntingdon, and Union), and secondarily to other areas of Pennsylvania. The collection also includes some general reference works on the hobby of genealogy. The Pennsylvania Room collection also includes historic Centre County records, Centre County newspapers on microfilm and some in original paper form; and numerous indexes and card files relating to local history and genealogy.
  • Local Authors
    • Materials written or produced by local authors are not automatically added to the collection. Textbooks and research-oriented materials by local residents and faculty members will be added only if they are of general interest. 
  • Best Sellers
    • Multiple copies of books likely to be in high demand are ordered in advance of publication, and additional copies are added when the number of reserves per copy exceeds a predetermined ratio. It is important to have sufficient copies available within the county to fill pending reserves in a timely manner since best sellers may not be requested on interlibrary loan. Unneeded copies are withdrawn when the demand declines.
  • Material for school assignments   
    • Students’ school-related needs are served with supplementary reading and reference materials, but the libraries do not attempt to undertake the curriculum-support function of the school library. It is expected that each school will meet its own curriculum needs with adequate books and other materials.
    • The libraries do not supply textbooks used in the schools and colleges of this area. Textbooks are purchased only when they provide the best coverage of a subject, are the best sources of information available, and are of use to the general public.          
  • Schlow Centre Region Library - Materials to serve district libraries
    • Materials may be purchased for the clientele of the libraries in the Central Pennsylvania Library District, as well as for the use of patrons in Schlow Centre Region Library’s service area. This could include rotating collections, reference materials, and/or shared electronic resources. Any material in the Schlow Library collection is available to the Central PA population through interlibrary loan.
  • Digital resources
    • The libraries additionally seek to provide library users with access to electronic materials in a variety of formats. Due to the high cost of electronic resources, digital collections do not serve the same purpose as collections in print, and the libraries are limited in what they can both purchase and maintain access. Rather than working to develop a broad collection, the libraries seek to meet demand for currently popular titles. This may include the purchase of multiple copies of trending or bestselling titles in digital formats, the purchase of subscriptions to particular collections, or the addition of titles with no wait times.

G.   Maintenance of collection

  • Weeding
    • Weeding is the systematic withdrawal of items which are outdated, no longer needed or damaged. This process is an integral part of collection development and maintenance. In general, the criteria used in selecting new materials also apply to weeding. Materials that fall into the following categories should be withdrawn:
      • Materials which contain outdated information;
      • Superseded editions;
      • Worn or defaced items;
      • Material that is no longer timely.
      • Material that no longer circulates.
  • Duplication and multiple copies
    • Multiple copies of titles are purchased where there is an expressed need. Duplication is kept to a minimum, but materials must be in sufficient supply to make the libraries dependable sources for the people they serve. Because of over-lapping interests and reading abilities, titles occasionally appear in more than one circulating collection (adult, young adult, or children’s). Such duplication is made at the discretion of the librarians in charge of these collections.
  • Replacement
    • Titles for which the last copy has been withdrawn are considered for replacement. The same criteria that apply in original selection apply to replacement with particular attention given to the following:
      • The continued value of the particular title;
      • The demand for the specific title based on circulation records;
      • The extent of adequate coverage of the field in the existing collection;
      • The availability of newer or better material in the field.
      • The availability of the title for reordering.
  • Binding, Rebinding and Mending
    • Decisions must be made continuously on how to handle worn books -- whether to mend, bind, or withdraw them. Each decision is based on:
      • The actual condition of the item;
      • The number of duplicate copies in the collection;
      • The current validity of its contents;
      • Availability of the title for reorder; and
      • The cost of mending or binding versus the cost of replacement.
      • New paperbacks are sometimes bound to prolong their life.

H.   Special Formats:   Print Material

  • Paperbacks
    • Paperback editions are added to the collection for reasons of economy and because this format appeals to many readers. General selection policies and criteria apply to the purchase of paper bound materials.
    • Paperbacks are purchased if:
      • There is no other edition available.
      • It is an original title appearing only in this form;
      • Duplicate copies are needed.
      • The hardback edition is too expensive.
  • Large Print Books
    • Books in large type are purchased for patrons with partial vision. The collection is shelved separately.
  • Newspapers
    • Local newspapers, plus a representative selection of major newspapers of national coverage, are purchased for the following purposes:
      • To provide current news coverage;
      • To satisfy recreational reading needs;
      • To provide a unique source of local information.
  • Periodicals
    • Periodicals are chosen for the following purposes:
      • To supplement the book collection as an additional source of information - especially current information;
      • To satisfy recreational reading needs;
      • To serve as book selection aids and professional reading for the staff.
      • Periodicals indexed in EbscoHost are given first priority. All magazines at the main libraries are kept at least two years plus the current year. Back issues for many periodicals are available in full text in EbscoHost.
  • Vertical file material – Schlow Centre Region Library
    • Maps and local history, including oral histories, are maintained in vertical files for public use. Information previously presented in pamphlet form is now widely available on the Internet.

I.   Special Formats:   Non-print Materials

  • Sound Recordings
    • The recorded sound collection consists of compact discs, cassettes and digital downloadable files. Selections include classical, jazz, folk, and popular music. Other important sections are audiobooks and other non-musical recordings, especially children’s stories, language learning, and other instructional recordings.
  • Electronic Resources
    • Reference and informational CD-ROMS, software and electronic databases are selected to supplement the collection. In many cases these resources are available to patrons both inside and outside the library. Each decision is based on:
      • Ease of use and accessibility for patrons
      • Available space for the print copies
      • Cost of the resource
      • Subject matter               
      • Ability to serve patrons quickly
  • Educational toys, games and puppets
    • Toys, games and puppets are chosen to foster developmental skills primarily among preschool children. Eye-hand coordination, color differentiation and self perception are some skills which these materials teach young children. Puppets also encourage verbalization, and creative dramatics, and can be used effectively with picture books. Toys and games which reinforce reading and math skills for school age children are also included.
  • Multimedia kits
    • Kits of book-cassette or book-CD combinations are available mostly for preschool and elementary age children. Kits can foster reading skills, expose children to quality literature, and provide an added dimension to the learning experience. Many kits for adults focus on language skills (English, English as a second language, and other languages). Some kits for teachers, youth leaders and parents provide a variety of material on a specific theme. Both fiction and nonfiction subjects are included in this collection.
  • DVDs and Videocassettes
    • The library maintains a collection of videocassettes and DVD’s primarily for the home use of adults, youth and/or children, although some titles also have public performance rights. The library acquires these materials to serve recreational and informational purposes. Informational DVDs and videocassettes take advantage of the film’s ability to present ideas and information in ways superior to print (such as cooking, exercise, sports, and nature tapes). Broad popular appeal is the main criterion for selection for this material.  
  • Microforms
    • The Centre County Library & Historical Museum maintains a collection of microforms to support the Pennsylvania Room’s research collections. 
    • The Schlow Centre Region Library does not own microforms. Patrons desiring extensive back files of periodicals or other information on microforms are referred to The Pennsylvania State University Libraries.
  • Other non-print media
    • Other non-print media will be purchased if they represent the most suitable, useful and effective format in which to present a subject. While there are special considerations in the selection and use of these non-print materials, the same general philosophy expressed in regard to print materials applies.
  • Equipment
    • The libraries have media equipment available for patron use and library programming. Selection of media equipment is based on the following criteria:
      • Quality of performance
      • Ease of operation
      • Durability and design, with emphasis on safety features;
      • Portability;
      • Ease of maintenance and repair;
      • Reputation of manufacturer;
      • Cost, in comparison with other models.


The libraries accept gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they become the property of the library and are evaluated in the same manner as purchased materials. Materials which are useful to the library collections are retained, and other materials disposed of in whatever manner the libraries deem best--by giving them to other libraries or other institutions, or by selling them. The donor is not notified about the final disposition of the book unless this is specifically requested at the time of donation.

No special shelves or sections will be designated for gift collections. The libraries do not provide evaluation of gifts for tax relief or other purposes.

Funds for the purchase of materials are accepted. The libraries encourage donors to place as few restrictions as possible on the funds in order to permit the flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the collection. An appropriate book plate is placed in each honor or memorial gift and a list of honored persons is published once a year. There is a separate policy on endowments for library materials. 


The libraries have a responsibility to serve all segments of the county. Materials useful to some may be objectionable to others.  Selections are based solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collections and to serving the interests of readers. The libraries attempt to represent all sides of controversial issues. Their function is to provide information, not to advocate specific points of view.

Reading preferences are a purely individual matter; while anyone is free to personally reject books and other materials, this right cannot be exercised to restrict the freedom to others.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no cataloged item will be placed on closed shelves, except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft. Items may be placed on temporary reserve for specific class assignment or projects.

Responsibility for what children and young adults read and view rests with their parents’ and/or legal guardians. Selections will not be inhibited by the possibility that controversial materials may come into the possession of children or young adults.

In its selection of materials, the libraries subscribe to the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements and to the Library Bill of Rights (appended).


Any complaint by a patron concerning the presence or absence of any library material is referred to the librarian responsible for that collection who will discuss the matter with the complainant. If the complainant is not satisfied, an appointment should be made with the Library Director to discuss the matter further.

Some collections offered by the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries are neither owned nor managed by the Federation. These include but are not limited to statewide collections available to public libraries. Any requests for specific titles, or challenges to titles currently in the collection, will be addressed using the collection development policy of the managing entity.

If a patron wishes, the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form or “Request for the Addition of Materials” form will be supplied. On receiving the completed form, the librarian will examine the item in question, and reconsider it according to the collection development policy. Based on this re-evaluation, the Library Director will decide whether or not to add or remove the material in question and will write to the complainant giving the reasons for the decision. If still unsatisfied, the complainant may appeal in writing to the Federation Board. Materials subject to complaint will not be removed or acquired pending final action.


The libraries cannot have available in their own collections all materials for all possible needs. Fortunately, in the area there are several libraries that are open to the public including Patee/Paterno Libraries of the Pennsylvania State University. Centre County Federation of Public Libraries cooperates with these and other libraries in Pennsylvania and beyond to ensure broad access to materials for all library patrons.

When items are requested that are unavailable locally, the libraries try to borrow the items for the patron from another library through interlibrary loan. The libraries also send materials to other libraries for the use of their patrons. Interlibrary loan service is available to all library users.

In addition, the public libraries in the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries have a special mandate to share freely their collection, including the best sellers that are normally not sent out on interlibrary loan.

Appendix to the CCFPL Collection Development Policy

This appendix exists to clarify collection scope, selection, practices, and procedures as they relate to the Pennsylvania Room and Historical Museum. This appendix supplements the Centre County Federation of Public Libraries Collection Development Policy.

Appendix 1: Pennsylvania Room Collection

A. Scope

The Pennsylvania Room collection aims to provide relevant research materials for patrons conducting research related to genealogy or local history, with a special focus on Centre County resources. All materials included in the collection are relevant to either Centre County or Pennsylvania research in some way.

B. Criteria for Selection

Pennsylvania Room staff selecting books and other materials draw upon their experience and knowledge of the available resources, the existing collection, the community (its needs and demands), and the credibility of the item. The overall value of the material to the collection, defined by its scope, is the chief criterion for selection.

Factors considering in recommending materials for addition to the collection are:

  • The author’s authority and competence
  • Importance of the subject matter to the collection
  • Scarcity of material on the subject.
  • Timeliness or permanence of the item.
  • Clarity and accuracy of presentation.
  • Budgetary considerations and price.
  • Suitability of format and price.
  • Availability of the material in other library collections in the area.
  • Condition of the physical item.


The Pennsylvania Room accepts the following formats in good condition for its permanent collection:

  • Paperback and hardback books
  • Unbound paper documents
  • Microfilm
  • Newspaper
  • Maps
  • Electronic documents (not CDs or DVDs)

D. Maintenance of Collection


Weeding is the systematic withdrawal of items which are outdated, no longer needed or damaged. This process is an integral part of collection development and maintenance. In general, the criteria used in selecting new materials also apply to weeding. Materials that fall into the following categories should be withdrawn:

  • Materials which contain inaccurate or unsourced information;
  • Worn or defaced items;
  • Items that are not utilized by researchers at regular intervals;
  • Formats that are challenging to support;
  • Materials that are otherwise duplicated in the collection

Duplication and Multiple Copies

Due to space constraints, duplicates are only acquired when a resource is of sufficient value to Pennsylvania Room staff, such that a duplicate copy may be kept for staff reference at the service desk.


Titles that are missing for more than six months, or that are damaged or worn to the extent that they are not usable, will be replaced either by purchase or by substitute of a better-quality duplicate.

Binding, Rebinding, and Mending

Decisions must be made continuously on how to handle worn books -- whether to mend, bind, or withdraw them. Each decision is based on:

  • The actual condition of the item;
  • The current validity of its contents;
  • Availability of the title for repurchase; and
  • The cost of mending or binding versus the cost of replacement.

Appendix approved by the Centre County Federation Board of Trustees: 2/11/2021

Approved by the Centre County Federation Board of Trustees: 12/03/2009

Amended by the Centre County Federation Board of Trustees on 11/10/2022

CCFPL Collection Development Policy (Revised 2022)