Collection Development Policy

Baxter County Library

Collection Development Policy


"Library Board" and "Board" means the governing Baxter County Library Board unless a specific other board is named.

"Library" refers to the collective materials and services offered for public use by the Baxter County Library under  the control of the Baxter County Library Board.

The Baxter County Library Board endorses the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement as established by the American Library Association.



The Baxter County Library will use money collected and donated for the benefit of the public toward the following goals in its provision of Library services and materials:

  • To provide lifelong resources that educate, inspire, and entertain in a welcoming environment;  
  • To serve as a bridge to opened minds, expanded horizons, and improved lives;
  • To support the principles of intellectual freedom, which guarantee access to various expressions of knowledge.   

The Library will coordinate with the Arkansas State Library, the public school and university libraries in Baxter County, and the Baxter County Archives in collection development and acquisition to reduce unnecessary duplication, facilitate efficient sharing of materials and information, and use funds allotted in the most effective manner possible to preserve all significant and representative materials in a variety of forms at all intellectual levels.  The Library serves as the public access point for the online legal Library provided by the Baxter County Bar Association as required by the State that a law Library be available to the public.



Selection and purchase of Library materials rests with the Baxter County Librarian (BCL) who may delegate some responsibilities to other staff members. Staff will adhere to accepted professional practices when making selection decisions.  Prior to the beginning of each budget year, the BCL will determine how budgeted funds will be allocated among the major collection subdivisions, e.g., adult nonfiction, fiction, youth collection, reference, periodicals, and non-print.  Circulation statistics and counts of in-house use of materials will be maintained to assist in decision making.  Average cost per item, as determined by the previous year’s purchases and reports in Library and publishing journals, will also be considered in allocating funds. 

Materials will be selected based on positive reviews in professional journals or actual examination and evaluation of materials.  Popular demand, such as bestsellers, school bibliographies, or local interests, will also be used as the criterion for selection of materials.  Suggestions from the community for items to be considered for purchase are strongly encouraged, but materials must meet selection criteria.          

Baxter County Library does not attempt to acquire textbooks that specifically support school curricula, but it may acquire textbooks for general use by the public.  Multiple copies of popular books, e.g., bestsellers, resume guides, or tax preparation, may be purchased to meet demand.  Paperback books will be purchased when available to meet short-term demand.  The Library will attempt to have information available in a variety of formats as budgets allow, when available and practical.  Video and audio recordings will be selected for potential long-term use that meets general interests.  Regardless of an item’s popularity, the Library may choose not to select it if the available format is not durable enough to withstand reasonable Library use or if it would require excessive staff time to maintain.

Baxter County Library welcomes comments and suggestions regarding the continued appropriateness of materials in the collection, especially with regard to outdated materials.  Suggestions and recommendations will be considered and utilized by the Library in the ongoing process of collection development.

Materials that no longer meet the needs of the community and no longer support the Library’s collection will be withdrawn and disposed of in accordance with the Library’s “De-selection of Materials” policy.



Branch Library collections will be developed as budget permits and as use grows based on the needs/interests of its patrons.  Until use would warrant such a step, it is preferable to exchange materials frequently with the main Library to increase circulation than to develop a larger static collection in branches



Materials that no longer fit the stated mission and service priorities of the Library will be withdrawn from the collection.  This may include materials that are damaged, that include obsolete information, or that have not been used within a reasonable period of time.  Decisions will be based on accepted professional practice, such as those described in The CREW Method, and the professional judgment of the Library director or designated staff.  When necessary, local specialists will be consulted to determine the continued relevance and reliability of materials.

Items withdrawn from the collection will be transferred to the Friends of the Library for sale, or discarded if dirty or dangerously outdated.  No withdrawn items may be sold or given directly to individuals or groups; however, items that do not sell in the Friends sale may be transferred to other nonprofit organizations or placed in a “free books” area for anyone to take.  Discarded magazines and newspapers may be given to other area libraries, placed in the free magazine exchange, or recycled at the discretion of the BCL.

Reference Collection

Selection criteria for reference materials both print and other formats will be consistent with the Library’s Collection Development Policy.  Reference materials will be selected for quick consultation and ease of use.  Materials will be authoritative, based upon evaluation of the subject content and the author's/producer's/ publisher's credentials.  Preference will be given to items with favorable reviews in reputable sources.  Print reference materials are provided for in-Library use only.

Local History/Genealogy

Baxter County Library collects material of local historical or genealogical interest.  Because such materials are subject to loss and are often irreplaceable, they will be kept in a secure location with restricted access. 

The focus of genealogy materials will be primarily local, then state and regional, with preference in acquisition given to those most requested by Baxter County residents. 

Copies of the high school yearbooks from public schools in Baxter County will be purchased annually.  Historical archives of Baxter County newspapers and those in surrounding counties will be collected in digital or microform format, and are a high priority.

Library staff will assist in locating materials, but will not perform genealogical research for the public.

Local Authors

Materials written or produced by local authors must meet the general selection standards for inclusion in the Library collection.  No materials will automatically be added to the collection; however, if donated they will be added to the special collection of “Items of Local Interest.”



Developing collections of materials in other languages is limited by fiscal constraints.  Materials to help in the naturalization process and which support the learning of English as a second language may be purchased. 


InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

Baxter County Library participates in the national interLibrary loan program that permits the Library to borrow materials for its patrons from other libraries.  ILL loan service is available to all patrons whose record is clear of fines and overdue items.  Materials may be requested for patrons who do not hold a current Library card, but use will be limited to in-house.  Books and photocopies of articles from periodicals not owned by BCL, or that are otherwise unavailable, may be requested for loan through interLibrary loan. Requests for periodical articles, including newspapers and reports, will be checked against the Library’s electronic databases before the request is forwarded to ensure that the requested information is not available.  Audio and video recordings, microfilm, and genealogy materials may be requested but are often difficult to obtain.  Items owned by the Library but checked out to another patron or otherwise temporarily unavailable may not be borrowed through interLibrary loan.

The Library may restrict the number of items requested by an individual patron when necessary to ensure fair, equitable, and timely service within the constraints of budget and staffing.  The Library may make a charge to recover postage.  Requests that staff determine may violate copyright laws will not be accepted.  Photocopies received through interLibrary loan will be stamped with a notice of copyright.



BCL’s website serves as a logical extension of the Library’s information resources and supports its mission to connect patrons with timely, accurate sources of information.  In order to strengthen the Library’s print and non-print collection, effort will be made to find valuable sites that supplement the existing print and electronic collection available in the Library.

The Library’s Web site is not intended to be open as a full or partial public forum.  Library staff, under the direction of the Library director, will select Web sites to link to from the online reference resources and other subject areas on the Library’s Web site.  Whenever possible, priority will be given to links to other governmental and community Web sites that provide legal, noncommercial, public service information.  The Library may link to commercial sites when the Librarian has determined that sufficient free content is available to make it a worthwhile resource or when the resource is the most authoritative and no free resource is available.  Requests for Web sites to be placed on the Library’s Web site must be reviewed and approved by the Baxter County Librarian.  Staff will write a short annotation that describes the content of the linked Web site.

Library staff will run link-checking software monthly to ensure that the links remain active and viable.  At least annually, all links will be checked to ensure that the content remains accurate, reliable, and timely.  Sites that no longer meet the needs of Library patrons or that no longer meet the selection criteria will be removed.  Patron complaints or concerns about site content will be handled under the Library’s “Request for Reconsideration of Materials” policy.



If individuals take issue with Library materials that do not support their own views or values on a subject or that is not compatible with their beliefs, staff is available to discuss concerns and to identify alternate materials that may be available.  If a patron’s concern is not satisfied through discussion with staff, a formal, written request for reconsideration of materials may be submitted to the Library director.  Copies of this form are available at the service desks or from the director’s office.

For a request for reconsideration to be considered, the form must be completed in full. The patron submitting the request must be a resident of Baxter County and hold a valid borrower’s card.  The Library staff and the Librarian consider each request in terms of the criteria outlined in the Library’s materials selection policy and the principles of intellectual freedom, printed reviews, and other appropriate sources.  The Librarian will respond in writing within 30 days of receipt to the patron’s request for reconsideration.  The response will indicate the action to be taken and reasons for or against the request.  An item will be evaluated for reconsideration only once in a 12-month period.



Monetary gifts, bequests, and memorial or honorary contributions are particularly welcome.  Funds donated will be used to purchase items in accordance with the selection policy of the Library.  Books and other materials purchased with bequests and memorial or honorary contributions will be identified with special donor plates whenever possible.  If requested at the time the donation is made, notification of memorial or honorary contributions will be sent to the family of the person being recognized.  Suggestions for subject areas or other areas of interest are welcome and will be followed to the extent that such items meet the Library’s selection policy and collection needs.

Baxter County Library welcomes gifts of new materials.  Items will be added to the collection in accordance with the selection policy of the Library.  Once donated, items become the property of Baxter County Library and may be transferred to other libraries and nonprofit agencies, sold, traded, or discarded if they are not added to the collection.  The donor may place no conditions on the donation.  Donated items will not be returned to the donor, and the Library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift.

The Library will acknowledge receipt of donated items, but is unable to set fair-market or appraisal values.  It is recommended that the donor make a list of items donated.  If items are being donated to obtain a tax benefit; it is the donor’s responsibility to establish fair-market value or obtain expert assistance in establishing any value.  Once a donated item has been added to the Library collection, it is subject to all other Library policies and may be discarded according to the policy on withdrawal and disposition of Library materials.

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