The Boulder Public Library (BPL) Collection Development Policy is a framework for the growth and development of the collection of library materials and resources in support of its mission. BPL seeks to provide a collection that balances viewpoints across a broad spectrum of subject matter and opinion in formats suitable to a variety of learning and recreational interests.
BPL adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View statements and bases its collection development policy on the principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. BPL maintains that only parents and guardians have the right and responsibility to determine their minor children’s access to library resources.
Scope of Collection
Content, materials and resources are selected to meet the information, cultural, educational, literacy instruction and recreational interests and needs of patrons. The collection supports the development and sustainability of an engaged community through free access to ideas and information, and is intended to reflect the diversity of the local community, as well as global perspectives. The BPL collection provides access to content through print, multimedia and electronic formats with a choice of treatment and level of difficulty so that most patron needs can be met within BPL’s current budget and physical space limitations. Frequent changes in electronic and digital resources necessitate staff’s continual evaluation of online resources.
BPL materials and resources are available to all. BPL participates in cooperative interlibrary loan networks to expand the range of materials and resources available to patrons. Budget and space limitations, as well as local needs, preclude BPL from duplicating the specialized and comprehensive collections available elsewhere in Boulder and the greater Denver area. Anticipated demand, the needs and interests of local patrons, BPL’s physical space limitations and the available budget inform staff selection decisions, the number of copies purchased and where materials are located in the BPL system.
Carnegie Branch for Local History Collection
The Carnegie Library collects, preserves, and makes available materials relating to the history of Boulder County with a special emphasis on the city of Boulder. The collection is focused on the social history of Boulder County, and it is comprised of both purchased and donated materials about people, real estate and events in local history. Learn more about the Carnegie Donations and Collection Policy.
Selection and Maintenance Guidelines
BPL’s collection is maintained to be vital and dynamic. New resources are continually added to the collection and the collection is systematically reviewed for relevancy and value to the community.
Responsibility for material and resource selection rests with the library director, who delegates the selection and removal of materials and resources to professional staff members. Staff selectors use their training, knowledge, and expertise along with the following general considerations for selecting materials and resources:
- Current and potential relevance to community needs
- Extent of publicity, critical review, and current or anticipated demand
- Local or global significance of the author, artist, performer or subject matter
- Relevance to the collection’s strengths and weaknesses
- Representation of all reading levels and audiences
- Reputation and/or significance of the author, publisher, producer, artist or performer
- Suitability of format to library circulation and use
- Availability, cost to purchase and to make ready for use within the scope of the budget
- Digital licensing requirements
- Ease of use
- Speed, flexibility and layout/appearance of electronic resources
- Availability of full-text articles that can be downloaded, printed and emailed
Community requests and recommendations for purchase of materials are welcomed and are subject to the same selection criteria as any other item considered for the collection. Addition of any materials or resources to the collection does not represent BPL’s endorsement of any theory, idea, or policy contained therein.
Decisions concerning the removal of materials and resources from BPL’s collection is made based on patterns of use, the capacity of each location, and the holdings of other libraries available to BPL patrons. Staff members evaluate the collection using the following criteria:
- Physical condition
- Number of copies in the collection
- Relevance to the needs and interests of the community
- Current demand and frequency of use
- Accuracy and timeliness
- Local topics
- Availability elsewhere including other libraries and online resources
Donated materials are subject to the selection criteria in this policy and typically are not added to the collection. BPL sells donated materials in the bookstore and through online vendors. Donated materials that are not considered by BPL or its book sale vendors as suitable for sale are responsibly recycled as a last resort. Revenues from material sales are used to fund the volunteer services program, special projects, and/or the purchase of library materials and resources.
Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
An eligible individual has the right to request reconsideration of materials or resources in the collection, programs, exhibitions, and displays by completing and submitting a Request for Reconsideration Form [PDF]. Please review the Request for Reconsideration Policy.
Adopted by the Boulder Public Library District Board of Trustees, December 12, 2023.