Collection Development Policy


Purpose of the Policy 

The South Kingstown Public Library Collection Development Plan is designed to inform the public and guide professional staff about the principles and criteria upon which resources are selected and retained. A policy cannot replace the judgment of the staff responsible for the selection of print, non-print and electronic resources, but stating priorities and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing what best meets the needs of the community while maintaining budgetary responsibilities. 

Library Mission Statement 

The South Kingstown Public Library provides free, convenient and equal access to print and non-print materials, services and technologies that support our community’s informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs. 

Collection Development Policy Goals 

The goals of the South Kingstown Public Library Collection Development Policy are: 

a) To develop a system-wide collection of materials which meets the needs of library users as identified in the mission statement in conjunction with the recognition that special or in-depth research material is available through the library’s membership in Ocean State Libraries and LORI (Library of Rhode Island).

 b) To supplement the formal educational programs of the local school system. 

c) To balance user demand for traditional print and non-print materials with the increasing demand for electronic formats and services. 

Collection Development Principles 


The ultimate responsibility for the selection of all library materials rests with the Library Director, operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees of the South Kingstown Public Library. This responsibility is shared through the delegation of actual materials selection to the professional librarians on the staff at Hale, Kingston, and Peace Dale. Suggestions from other staff members and library users are encouraged. In addition, consideration is given to items in heavy local demand that might not necessarily meet other selection criteria.

Intellectual Freedom

In its selection of materials the library fully subscribes to the American Library Association’s principles of Intellectual Freedom, Freedom to Read, and the Library Bill of Rights. Selection of materials is based upon the criteria that follow. Although materials that meet these criteria may be objectionable to some members of the community, it is this library’s policy to provide free access to all and to protect individual choice. 

It is the responsibility of librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to defend challenges to that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large. 

Criteria for Selection 

Certain factors influence the selection of library materials. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, will be judged in terms of the following standards: 

  • - Patron interest 
  • - The creator’s significance and credibility 
  • - The importance of subject matter to the collection 
  • - Timeliness or permanence of the material 
  • - A variety of viewpoints - Authoritativeness 
  • - Accessibility of the material in the Ocean State Libraries (OSL) Consortium 
  • - The presence of favorable reviews in standard, independent review sources such as: Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and the New York Review of Books; reviews in local newspapers such as the Providence Journal or the Boston Globe, BookPage and dependable media sources 
  • - Suitability of physical form for library use, as well as type and legibility 
  • - Price

Donated or purchased copies of books written by local authors are accepted at the library; however, inclusion within the library collection will be determined by professional staff following the general selection criteria. The Library does not purchase unsolicited materials or act in lieu of professional review sources. The Library accepts donated copies of self-published books but does not guarantee inclusion in the collection. Items donated to the Library become the property of the Library and may not be returned to the donating party. Self-published and Vanity Press titles are held to the same criteria as any other work the Library evaluates for the collection. 

Using the criteria listed above, materials are recommended for purchase by the professional staff. The final responsibility for selection of library materials lies with the Library Administration. 

The South Kingstown Library attempts to serve the entire community. Selection of books and other materials is guided by community interest and demand, subject to the Library's Collection Development Plan; a copy of this document is available upon request.  

Approved Board of Trustees 12/96; Revised & Approved 5/99, 7/00, 12/03, 3/08, 12/18