Collection Development Policy

 Approved April 15, 2008

Books and Material Formats

In accordance to the library’s mission statement, Missouri River Regional Library will provide a wide selection of print, non-print, and electronic resources in order to meet the extensive information needs of our library customers. The library will develop a well-rounded collection of materials in the most appropriate formats for library use. Innovative formats will be acquired and made accessible as they are judged relevant and sustainable to the collection and the community and as funds allow.

Branches and Bookmobile

Branch and bookmobile library collections are of a popular and student-oriented nature designed to meet the majority of local user needs. Materials are selected for the branch and bookmobile based on the general selection criteria as outlined in this collection development policy and procedures. Branch and bookmobile staff recommends selection of some of their own materials and also work with the librarians to develop specific subject areas.


Upon approval by its Board of Trustees, the library annually provides a formal allocation of funds for library books and materials based on the recommendation of the Collection Development Manager.

Community Profile

Missouri River Regional Library is headquartered in the state capital of Jefferson City. The MRRL system serves a population of over 80,000 throughout Cole and Osage Counties, with the main library being located in downtown Jefferson City and the Osage County Library located in Linn. The library also operates a bookmobile that serves a number of schools, nursing homes, homebound, and community residents. Through reciprocal borrowing agreements with other libraries the MRRL service area is expanded even farther by making residents who live outside the two-county service area eligible for a MRRL library card.

The Library’s service area is home to an increasingly diverse population. As community needs arise, the library strives to develop appropriate collections to meet the needs of the entire population.

The Missouri State government is the largest employer in the library’s service area. Lincoln University, a historically black college, is the area’s largest educational institution. Besides Lincoln University’s Inman E. Page Library, there are several other libraries in Jefferson City including the Missouri State Library, Missouri State Archives, Missouri Legislative Library, and Missouri Supreme Court Library. These libraries, as well as the Linn State Technical College in Osage County, enhance the information offerings in our communities. The library is also part of a consortium known as MOBIUS which makes the holding of 68 academic libraries and 1 public library accessible to our residents through our online catalog.

Collection Responsibility

The Board has delegated the collection responsibility to the library director, who, in turn, delegates these duties to the Collection Development Manager. Selection responsibilities are shared between the Collection Development Manager and several full-time qualified staff.


MRRL encourages and accepts gifts and donations, with the understanding that materials will be added to the collection only if they meet the same criteria for selection used for purchased materials. Once a gift is accepted by MRRL, it becomes the property of the library, to be used or disposed of in accordance with the policies established by the Board of Trustees. The library discourages conditional gifts, but the Board of Trustees may approve special arrangements. Upon request, the library will provide the donor with an acknowledgment letter (to serve as a tax receipt). The library is not permitted to place a value on donations.


Evaluation of library material ensures the development and maintenance of a well-rounded collection. One method of evaluation includes the use of professional tools such as "best" lists, reviews, usage statistics and ILL requests. Additionally, the collection will be compared to standard bibliographic tools such as Public Library Catalog, Fiction Catalog, and Children's Catalog. Another method of evaluation draws upon the professional knowledge of the selection staff regarding patron needs and interests. Suggestions from patrons are a welcome means of identifying specific collection areas that require development or maintenance.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is the process by which libraries lend items to each other for use by their patrons. Multiple requests for an individual title or consistent requests for materials in specific subject areas will be considered for purchase. Staff from the ILL department will cooperate with the Collection Development Manager by suggesting titles or subject areas that are in demand and not met by our collection.

Request(s) for Purchase

MRRL welcomes recommendations from the public for purchase of materials. Paper and electronic forms are provided for submission by library patrons to the Collection Development Manager. Requests are given consideration based on the selection criteria set out in this document and established collection development procedures.

Request(s) for Reconsideration (Challenged Materials)

Patrons who wish to request the removal or relocation of library resources in any format will be provided with a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The Director, Collection Development Manager, and the selector of the challenged material will consider the written request and the Collection Development Manager will respond in writing as to the library's decision about the item in question. The Director will apprise the Board of Trustees of any such request(s) and decision thereof. However, if a patron is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may request that the Board of Trustees review the decision at a regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Resources in Neighboring Libraries

MRRL recognizes that additional libraries exist throughout the community, and it will not attempt to duplicate special collections of the State Library or Wolfner Library for the Blind, Lincoln University’s Inman E. Page Library, the Supreme Court Library, the Legislative Library or others. MRRL makes an effort to be aware of the neighboring libraries' collections. Library staff provides this information to patrons in order to guide them to the most appropriate collections in the area.


There is no single standard that can be applied in all cases when making a selection decision. However, standard criteria such as literary merit, enduring value, accuracy, authority, social significance, importance of the subject matter to the collection, cost, scarcity of material on the subject, and availability of the same or similar materials nearby, are often used when making a selection decision. Tools used in selection include professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers' catalogs, and reviews from reputable sources. Although the library offers a collection representing diverse points of view, it does not specifically endorse any particular author, belief, or view by selection of materials.

Standards and Intellectual Freedom

MRRL supports the latest revision of the Missouri Standards for Public Library Service, adopted by the Missouri Library Association. It also endorses the latest revisions of theLibrary Bill of Rights, the Code of Ethics, and the Freedom to Read, adopted by the American Library Association. As much as it is practical, the library will follow the practices and procedures set out in the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual written by the American Library Association.


Systematic weeding of the collection is required of every selector in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons' needs, to ensure its vitality and usefulness, and to make room for newer materials. Library staff may withdraw titles because of loss or physical damage.

An item is considered for discard when it is (1) obsolete or outdated; (2) physically deteriorated or damaged; (3) no longer circulating; or (4) one of many copies of a formerly popular title. As much as possible, MRRL will follow the standards set forth in the latest edition of The Crew Method: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries.

Systematic weeding of the collection is required of every selector in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons' needs, to ensure its vitality and usefulness, and to make room for newer materials. Library staff may withdraw titles because of loss or physical damage.

An item is considered for discard when it is (1) obsolete or outdated; (2) physically deteriorated or damaged; (3) no longer circulating; or (4) one of many copies of a formerly popular title. As much as possible, MRRL will follow the standards set forth in the latest edition of The Crew Method: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries.

Updated and approved by the Missouri River Regional Library Board on April 15, 2008


Missouri River Regional Library
Collection Development Procedures
Updated February 2008

The Mission

This policy has been adopted by the Missouri River Regional Library to guide collection decisions and to make information about the library collection available to library staff and patrons. The policy serves as a guide when questions about the collection arise.

The mission of Missouri River Regional Library is “to make available to the residents of Cole and Osage Counties a diverse collection of human wisdom, experience, and ideas.” The library makes accessible and promotes the use of informative and creative resources and cultural programs by which people of all ages, abilities, and circumstances can pursue their educational, professional and recreational interests. Authority and responsibility for selecting library material rests with the Library Director and is delegated to the Collection Development Manager and the library staff selectors. The role of the Collection Development Librarian and the library selectors is to identify, assess, and acquire the materials that support the Library’s mission and the needs and interests of a diverse and growing population.

The Collection

Collections are developed in broad subject areas that are of high interest and which affect the daily life of Cole and Osage County residents. The library seeks to provide, within its financial limitations, a general collection of materials embracing broad areas of knowledge which meet the following collection development objectives:

1. To provide materials that meet the customers’ interests and needs in a timely manner
2. To provide materials to preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school age customers to encourage and promote continued use of the library
3. To provide a broadly based collection that supports recreational reading as well as independent and lifelong learning
4. To provide collections that are wide ranging and represent multiple viewpoints on various subject matter
5. To purchase materials in quantities proportionate to levels of demand. To practice ongoing collection management using output measures, statistical reports available from the online system, and other data for continuous collection evaluation
6. To keep current with technological changes that might affect the development of the collection

The selection of materials is an art which requires a basic knowledge of broad subject areas, familiarity with standard bibliographies, the present state of the collection, and an understanding of the needs of the community. The first phase of selection is based on reviews as well as publisher materials and popular media attention. The second phase of selection is based on the circulation of the previous published works by the author or by the circulation performance of the subject area. The final level of selection is based on factors that include budget and perceived demand. Tools used in the selection of materials include professional, trade, and popular journal reviews, subject bibliographies, publishers’ catalogs, and publishers’ promotional materials as well as authoritative internet sites. The selectors use our library’s automation system to generate reports that include annual statistics on collection performance.

Selection criteria and purchasing levels vary by area, but in general all materials are selected based on the following guidelines:

1. Topic or author is of high interest with demonstrated demand or need
2. Social and cultural significance
3. Availability and suitability of format
4. Critics’ and staff reviews
5. Reputation of publisher or producer
6. Reputation, authority, or significance of author, composer, film maker, etc.
7. Timeliness of the material
8. Quality of writing, design, illustration, and production based on professional standards
9. Relationships to existing materials (broadens the collection or fills in gaps)
10. Self-published materials are not generally purchased. The library makes exceptions if local demand warrants it. The main reason for this practice is due to the lack of editorial process.

While selection decisions are made on an affirmative basis in so much as the library decides to buy an item rather than to exclude an item, there are, however, materials that are not selected. The reasons for not selecting materials vary, but in general include at least one of the following:

1. Topic or author is “out of scope” of the collection
2. Cost
3. Item is of a highly specialized nature, more suitable for other types of libraries.
4. Format that the library does not support or cannot process and/or circulate
5. Material does not meet the needs of the collection (it is not in demand, is transient or obscure, does not fill a gap or broaden the collection)
6. Duplicative
7. Poorly reviewed by standard sources

The local public library in America is a gateway to all information. When the Missouri River Regional Library does not own a particular book, article, or other item, it encourages patrons to suggest purchase or to request the item through interlibrary Loan. MRRL also is part of a consortium known as MOBIUS. MOBIUS is a consortium of libraries in the state of Missouri. The membership includes 68 full members from colleges, universities, the Missouri State Library, and Springfield-Greene Public Library. The holdings of these institutions are accessible to Cole and Osage county patrons.

Areas of the Collection

Adult Fiction
The adult fiction collection exists to meet the recreational and educational needs of library patrons. Selections are made to ensure that the collection provides access to popular and quality books for a range of users recognizing their diverse tastes and backgrounds. Each item selected for the system is determined individually. Selection is based on one or more of the criteria listed below. Therefore, no single standard will always be applied. Materials are collected in a variety of formats. Multiple copies of high demand titles are purchased and popular series are continued within the system whenever possible. MRRL strives to provide a comprehensive fiction collection of selected key authors.

Criteria for selection of Adult Fiction are as follows:

1. Representation of an important movement, literary style, trend or culture
2. Originality
3. Artistic presentation and quality evidenced in the plot, setting, theme, characterization point of view, and style
4. Sustained interest and entertainment
5. Attempt to satisfy readers of different tastes, interests, purposes, and reading abilities

Adult Non-Fiction
The Adult Non-Fiction collection is intended to contribute to the education and enjoyment of our library patrons by providing materials for the pursuit of independent learning, recreational reading, and beginning research. In a few subject areas the collection may support the advanced learner. The collection is continuously reviewed for currency of information to assure that essential and significant information is added and retained.

Children's Collection
The children’s collection provides current, popular, educational, and notable materials for preschoolers through middle school students as well as for parents and teachers. This collection consists of recreational and informational materials that foster a love of reading. The library tries to anticipate and to meet the skill and interest levels of readers from the preschooler to the beginning reader to the child ready for more advanced resources.

In order to support the varied reading levels among children, the children's collection is comprised of a variety of materials that include board books, beginner readers, picture books, juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction, juvenile reference, and parent/teacher resources. Board books are purchased to develop a love of reading at the early preschool stage; multiple copies of easy reader titles are purchased for the beginning reader. While the picture book collection contains illustrated titles for preschoolers, this collection may also contain titles for older children. The juvenile fiction collection contains novels and short fiction appropriate for early elementary school children through middle school students while the juvenile nonfiction collection contains informational and recreational materials for preschoolers through middle school students. The juvenile reference collection contains materials to aid in student learning, to aid in reader's advisory services to children and young adults, and to aid in children's programming.

Materials are selected in response to the needs and interests of young people by recognizing their diverse tastes, backgrounds, abilities, and potential. Each item must be individually considered for its intended audience and is evaluated according to previously stated selection criteria with particular attention paid to reading level and age-appropriateness of content. Children's materials are purchased in a wide variety of formats.

The children’s collection seeks to supplement the public school libraries, although our resources are not focused on materials to support all aspects of assignments. As a general rule, the library does not acquire textbooks used in school as these materials are available elsewhere, curriculums are revised every year, and the required textbooks change frequently.

Audio-Visual Material Collection
While the acquisition of print material is a large part of our mission, we also make available collections of audio-visual materials in the adult and children’s departments. The selection of audio-visual materials complements the library’s selection of print materials. The library recognizes that patron’s desire information and popular materials in various forms. The Library currently purchases music CDs, audio books on cassette and CD, downloadable audio, ebooks, and DVDs.

The Reference Collection consists of materials which can be consulted for bibliographic or factual information, and will not be read in their entirety. Reference works are purchased to support the general needs of the community and are intended to yield information useful for basic inquiry in most fields of knowledge. Expensive purchases will be made when strong compelling need is in evidence and as the budget allows. Access to specialized resources and academic titles is provided by Jefferson City’s governmental and academic libraries. Online resources are acquired by the Digital Services Librarian and supplement the information needs of the Reference department as well as the general public.

Local History
The Missouri Collection emphasizes subjects relevant to all of Missouri: history, government, biology, travel, sports, biography, and the arts. Books by local authors are included if their works fill a gap in a subject area or are reviewed positively by authoritative sources. Books by noted Missouri authors such as Mark Twain and Maya Angelou, are also included to represent Missouri’s literary heritage within the collection.

In contrast, the Genealogy Collection focuses primarily on Jefferson City as well as Cole and Osage counties, followed by mid-Missouri, and when useful, the entire State of Missouri. The volumes themselves and/or the subject areas they represent have permanent value to the community and are made available to the general public for research on local, genealogical and historical issues.

The library also maintains an Outreach Department which provides services to residents unable to visit the library. Outreach staff visit a host of elementary schools in Cole and Osage Counties. The collections include selections of popular books and audio visual materials as well as a children’s fiction and nonfiction collection with the needs of the local schools in mind. The Collection Development Manager is ultimately responsible for the collections, but relies heavily on the expertise of the Outreach Manager and assistants.

Teen Collection
The teen collection provides materials for the recreational interests, informational needs, and personal growth of teens. This collection provides current, popular, and notable materials geared to the interests of teens grades 6-12. Teen materials are selected with an awareness of the variety of interests, backgrounds, reading skills, and developmental skills of patrons between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Each item must be individually considered for its intended audience and is evaluated according to previously stated selection criteria.

Since the resources of the adult and children’s collections are conveniently available, the teen collection does not attempt to fill all teen needs for materials. Although the teen collection seeks to supplement the public school libraries, our resources are not focused on materials to support all aspects of assignments. As stated previously, the library does not acquire textbooks used in school as they are available elsewhere, curriculums are revised every year, and the required textbooks change frequently.

Gifts and Suggestions

Gifts to the Missouri River Regional Library, in the form of subscriptions, donations, or monies, are welcome. Gifts that become part of the general collection should not require special handling or special circulation procedures. Once a gift item has been processed and added to the collection, it is subject to the same standards as any other material and may be weeded in the course of time. Missouri River Regional Library will accept financial donations to buy materials following the same guidelines used with any other selection decision.

Customer suggestions that the library purchase a certain item are always welcome. Suggestions are evaluated on the following criteria: need in the collection, appropriateness to collection, cost, and availability elsewhere in the area. The submission of a request does not guarantee its purchase. If a work is not selected for purchase, the customer is encouraged to request the book through inter-Library Loan or MOBIUS.

Collection Maintenance

The collection needs continuous evaluation to ensure that the library is fulfilling its mission. The collection also needs systematic weeding of library materials in order to maintain a current and accessible collection. Weeding identifies damaged items, dated materials, and items which are no longer used. Materials which have been withdrawn and are in good condition will be given to the MRRL/ABLE book sale. No items can be held or given to individuals.

The Missouri River Regional Library selectors are responsible for ensuring properly maintained collections. Missouri River Regional Library loosely follows the CREW method of weeding and augments it with weeding reports and other reports generated for specific areas. The library’s policy is not to automatically replace titles discarded, lost, or withdrawn. The need for replacement in each case is based on the existence of adequate coverage of the subject, the timeliness of the title in question, the demand for the specific title, and the availability of the item. The collection is not archival and is reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis to meet current needs.

Reconsideration of Library Material

The Library recognizes the First Amendment right to free expression as the cornerstone of the democratic process. Free access is a fundamental objective of the public library. Usefully organized and open collections are essential components of free access. The library seeks to abide by the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights , Library Code of Ethics, and the Freedom to Read. The materials added to the collection are cataloged and processed in the manner that best suits the format and ensures open and equitable access. Items are not labeled to indicate point of view or bias. The library ensures free access to its holdings for all patrons, who are free to select or reject for themselves any item in the collection. The choice of library material by patrons is an individual matter. The library finds the responsibility for a child’s reading, listening, or viewing material to rest with the parent and/or legal guardian and promotes previewing materials if parents are concerned about content. While one can reject material for oneself or one’s child, one cannot restrict access to material for others. Although the library is divided into sections such as Children’s, Reference, Fiction, Non-Fiction, etc., for the convenience of the public, patrons of any age may use all parts of the library. The classification system, reviews by professionals, and the librarians’ expertise contribute to the appropriate placement of materials.

It is a vital obligation of the public library to reflect, within its collection, myriad and differing points of view. The Missouri River Regional Library does not endorse any particular belief or view nor does the selection of an item indicate an endorsement of any viewpoint. Library materials will not be marked or otherwise identified to indicate approval or disapproval of the contents. All circulating material will be made available to the public in the manner that best facilitates access by the public. In the selection of materials, an attitude of flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the residents of this area is kept constantly in mind. Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the library’s collection solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, or because it is controversial.

Once an item has been purchased it will not automatically be removed upon request. However, the library has established procedures to ensure objective and fair reconsideration of questioned materials. Anyone who wishes to file a reconsideration request may obtain a Materials Reconsideration Request Form from library staff. Once the form has been completed, it is submitted to Collection Development Manager. The request for consideration is assigned to the selector in whose area the item falls. This staff member reads, views, or listens to the work, reads reviews, and compares the acquisition decision to the collection development policy. Once the staff selector has made a preliminary decision, and that decision is shared with the Collection Development Manager, who then follows the same procedure. Once a determination is made concerning the item, the Collection Development Manager drafts a letter for approval by the Library Director in response to the request. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may request to speak with the Library Director. If the patron still does not feel their concerns are resolved, he or she may request that the Board of Trustees review the decision at a regularly scheduled board meeting.