Collection Development Policy

Updated July 2018

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Patrons Right to Read | Criteria for Material Selection | Acquisitions
Donations | Material Selection Procedures | Removal and Weeding of Materials

Collection Development Policy (PDF)

Core Collections

The Safety Harbor Public Library selects and maintains library resources in all formats, including books, periodicals, electronic resources, eBooks, CD audio books, DVDs, and music CDs. Material selection is intended to respond to the educational, informational and recreational needs of our library community. Core collections are as follows:
  • Business Resources: The library maintains a business collection in both print and online formats.
  • eBooks: The library provides access to downloadable fiction and non-fiction e-books through PPLC cooperative purchasing.
  • Lifelong Learning: The library maintains a broad core collection of timely resources in all subjects for all ages.
  • Literacy and ESOL Collection: The library provides a collection of materials for students and tutors.
  • Popular Materials: The library provides popular best selling fiction and non-fiction in all formats and for all ages.
  • Spanish Language Collection: The library provides books and audiovisual materials for Spanish speaking youth and adult patrons.
  • Youth Materials: The library provides a broad coverage of fiction and non-fiction resources that support homework assignments, test preparation, and current subject resources, including Sunshine State titles.

Patrons Right to Read

The Safety Harbor Public Library supports the American Library Association Freedom to Read Statement.
  • Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee
  • Amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004

Criteria for Material Selection

The following criteria as a whole are taken into consideration in the selection of library materials:
  • Annual amount budgeted for the collection category
  • Availability from standard publishers and vendors
  • Availability in PPLC libraries
  • Currency, timeliness, and accuracy of nonfiction
  • Existing library resources
  • Merit of the individual item
  • Popular appeal and demand
  • Suitability of material for the library service community


The majority of library materials are purchased from a library vendor for reasons of economy, consistency and expediency.


The library accepts donations of materials with the understanding that donated items are added to the library collection if the 3 conditions are met:
  • Enhances the collection or fills collection gaps
  • Is in good condition
  • Satisfies materials selection criteria of items purchased for the library
Donated items that are not added to the library collection will be sold at Friends of the Library book sales or discarded. Donated items will not be accepted on condition that they are returned to original owners if they are not added to the collection. The library will not accept textbooks, National Geographic collections, moldy or damaged materials or encyclopedia sets. Donated gift items are reviewed and handled by professional staff.

Monetary donations are accepted by the library to purchase memorial books or materials. Donation bookplates are placed in the item. Memorial library items on specified subject areas or particular titles can be ordered for inclusion in the library collection at the request of a patron provided they meet the library’s material selection criteria.

Self-Published Books

The Library receives numerous requests from local authors to add their books they have self- published or published at their own expense. Although this type of publishing is experiencing rapid growth, these books often do not meet the requirements outlined in the Criteria for Material Selection as candidates for the permanent collection. They typically are not reviewed in standard published sources and do not meet the criteria the Library normally sets for inclusion in its collections.

The Library wishes to support local authors while maintaining the standards needed in its permanent collections, but due to the volume of self-published and print-on-demand titles available, the library does not purchase or add donated self-published books to the collection. Chapbooks and pamphlets without an ISBN are also not considered for addition.

Material Selection Procedures

Professional Selection Tools & Resources

The library relies on professional review sources for each subject area and format within the collection. The following are selection guidelines for specific collections.


The library strives to provide the following:
  • A core classics and broad contemporary curriculum collection
  • A maintained Florida author collection
  • An extensive popular collection for all ages in all genres
  • Selected large print titles in all genres
Guiding Factors:
  • Award winning titles and best sellers
  • Selected large print in multiple genres
  • Titles and authors of local interest
  • Wide variety of popular fiction in all genres


The library collects non-fiction materials of general interest for all ages to meet the information and leisure needs of the community. When there is a noticeable public demand for a certain topic, the library will provide additional, specialized materials related to that topic.

The library’s non-fiction collection provides, but is not limited to the following:
  • Current medical, health, legal, automotive, test preparation, travel, business and technology
  • Florida Collection (gardening, travel, history)
  • General self-help resources in psychology, parenting, cooking, and crafts
  • Popular biographies, general history, music and the arts
Guiding Factors:
  • Award winning and bestselling titles
  • Currency, timeliness, and accuracy
  • Multicultural, diversity of opinions and viewpoints

Youth & Young Adult

The library houses an extensive collection of materials for youth, including board and picture books, easy readers, chapter books for all grade levels, non-fiction books, and YA books for teens.

Guiding Factors:
  • Award winning books, including Caldecott, Newbery, Geisel, Belpre and other recognized award winners
  • Bestselling titles
  • Non-fiction titles to support arts, science, nature, history, geography and current event school projects
  • Recommendations and reviews from library review sources


The library provides print and online access to a general selection of popular living and business magazines and newspapers for the informational and recreational needs of the community.

Guiding Factors:
  • Periodical coverage may be print or online subscription or both, depending on cost and customer use patterns.
  • Periodicals are selected based on annual circulation statistics, patron requests, and community needs assessments.
  • Print periodicals are limited by the available display and storage space.


The library provides a broad general collection of compact discs for the recreational and educational enjoyment of its patrons.

Guiding Factors:
  • Clean lyrics
  • Cost
  • Popular and bestselling artists of all genres
  • Selection from all music styles, with a balance of new releases and traditional classics


The library collects books on compact disc for the recreational and educational enjoyment of patrons of all ages in CD format and downloadable audio through the PPLC sponsored OverDrive collection. Selection is of downloadable audio books for the OverDrive collection are decided cooperatively by area library representatives.

Guiding Factors:
  • Current releases in fiction and non-fiction
  • Language learning materials
  • Price of CD versions
  • Print version located in the fiction or non-fiction collections
  • Quality of vendor packaging and replacement disc policy
  • Reputation of the narrator
  • Unabridged versions

Audiovisual Resources

The library collects and maintains current AV technologies in use by the general public. At present, we provide and DVDs, and a limited collection of VHS tapes for the recreational and informational needs of the community. (Note: VHS format is no longer added to the collection.)

The collection coverage includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Customer requests that satisfy general appeal criteria
  • General films with appeal to the general public
  • Major American and foreign award-winning feature films
  • Non-fiction subjects such as exercise, travel, concerts, home improvement and cooking
  • Popular new releases
  • Professional training and continuing education resources
  • Selected films of theatrical play productions
  • Selected non-fiction documentary films
  • Titles from “best of” and “recommended for public library” lists
Guiding Factors:
  • Ratings and age recommendations provided by the filmmaker determine whether the film is cataloged in the adult, family, or youth areas of the library.
  • X-rated films are not selected for the collection
  • Price

Reference Materials - Print Format

Accurate and current reference materials are provided for all ages on all subjects. Print reference materials are for in-library use only. The library print reference materials include the following:
  • Bibliographies and readers advisory resources
  • Broad overview of all subject areas, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and almanacs
  • Community information and referral resources
  • Current books and pamphlets on Pinellas county and State resources
  • Current City of Safety Harbor commission meeting minutes and agendas, budgets, and city codes
  • Investment, consumer, and small business resources
  • Local history collection documenting the history of the city, the land, city residents, and the library
  • Tax preparation materials and forms

Electronic Resources

The library provides access to the electronic resources to supplement print reference works, to provide K-12 and distance learning homework support, and to enrich the lives of the general public of all ages and backgrounds:
  • City-funded electronic resources, selected to enhance the local reference collection
  • Foundation funded databases
  • Library computer use of word processing, spreadsheet, and related Microsoft software
  • PPLC funded subscription databases
  • State funded Florida Electronic Library
  • Technologies for saving and printing electronic data, includes CD burner and laser printing
  • The Internet (see Computer Internet Access Use and Internet Access Policies)
Guiding Factors:
  • Accuracy and quality of content
  • Ease of use by general public
  • Licensing restrictions
  • Price
  • Remote or in-library access
  • Scope and coverage

Adult Literacy & (ESL) English as Second Language

The library provides adult literacy, basic adult education resources, pre-GED, GED, TOEFL, and
English as a Second Language material in all formats for adult literacy and ESL student and literacy tutors.

Guiding Factors:
  • Collect easy vocabulary versions of literary classics
  • Feature materials that enhance reading and writing abilities
  • Purchase current and accurate materials
  • Select easy vocabulary materials for adults covering daily life, general health, citizenship, consumer issues, parenting, job seeking, and safety
  • Select instructional materials to enhance and supplement the literacy collection at the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas

Spanish Language Collection

The library collects Spanish materials in all formats for all ages. Juvenile titles include board books, picture books, and youth fiction. Adult titles include general reference works, contemporary fiction and poetry, selected literary classics, and general non-fiction, including health, parenting, religion, and politics.

Guiding Factors:
  • Current, popular, and accurate
  • General appeal and popular titles.
  • Provides English-natives with resources for practicing and learning language
  • Some materials will bridge to ESL resources


The library provides a downloadable eBook collection through the PPLC sponsored OverDrive collection and NetLibrary. (New titles are no longer added to the NetLibrary collection.) Selection of eBooks for the OverDrive collection is done cooperatively by area library representatives.

Guiding Factors:
  • Budget constraints
  • Popular and bestselling nonfiction and fiction titles

Deaf Literacy Collection

The library houses a Deaf Literacy Collection which is sponsored by PPLC. Selection of materials for this collection is the responsibility of the Deaf Services Librarian to support the Deaf Community and Deaf Literacy Programs.

Removal & Weeding of Library Materials

The Safety Harbor Public Library mission is to offer individuals of all ages a center for cultural activity within the community and provide an empowering and caring environment where educational, recreational, cultural and professional needs can be successfully met through materials, programs, services, and technologies. We are also in the business of providing “the right book, for the right reader, at the right time.”

As the technology changes the information provided takes on many different forms, including electronic resources and ebooks, but public libraries today are still very much about books. Books however become outdated, worn, ripped, and sometimes the information the book contains is no longer needed and the book is “weeded” or removed from the collection.

These outdated books or those that are tattered or irrelevant, are sometimes sold in the Friends of the Library quarterly book sales. Disposal of books can be misinterpreted by taxpayers. Shelf space is one of the public library’s most expensive costs and shelf space must be used for books that are factually correct, current, and in good condition and used by the community.

The public library’s role in our society is that we provide our community with the best possible current collections. This means that some of our collections must be discarded. Our staff makes difficult disposal decisions as stewards of the public dollar.

Guiding Factors:
  • Physical condition
  • Relevancy
  • Frequency of use, last date of circulation
  • Number of copies available in other PPLC libraries
  • Accuracy of material, timeliness
  • Duplicate copies

Policy Preparation

The Safety Harbor Public Library Collection Development Policy is prepared by the staff, adopted by the Library Advisory Committee and approved by the City Commission. Its purpose is to provide a framework for the acquisition and retention of all library materials. The collection development policy supports the mission of the Library by ensuring that appropriate, quality, up to date materials are carefully organized and available to the public.


The Collection Development Policy will be reviewed on a 3-year cycle, in compliance with the Standards for Florida Public Libraries, section 4.1, the library has an approved collection development policy, including an intellectual freedom statement which has been developed or updated in the past 3 years.

American Library Association

The American Library Association declares as a matter of firm principle that it is the responsibility of every library to have a clearly defined materials selection policy in written form which reflects the Library Bill Of Rights, and which is approved by the appropriate governing authority. (Quoted from the American Library Association Council statement on Challenged Materials; an Interpretation Of the Library Bill Of Rights, adopted June 25, 1971; amended July 1, 1981; amended January 10, 1990 by the Council)

Quick Links

Materials Selection Policy | Patrons Right to Read | Criteria for Material Selection | Acquisitions
Donations | Material Selection Procedures | Removal and Weeding of Materials

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Safety Harbor Public Library • 101 2nd Street North, Safety Harbor, FL 34695 • 

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