Collection Development Policy



The Scotch Plains Public Library and the Fanwood Memorial Library have entered into a shared, cooperative partnership to deliver the highest quality, cost-effective library services to both communities. The libraries agree to create and enact uniform policies and procedures whenever possible.


The Scotch Plains Public Library and Fanwood Memorial Library have agreed to share both a title and patron database in order to most effectively serve both communities.

  • Both libraries will retain autonomy in purchase selection and collection maintenance.
  • Both libraries will consider shared needs when making decisions on unique purchases and removal of items from the collection.
  • Both libraries will endeavor to explore shared collection development in a variety of topics and subject areas.
  • Both libraries will strive to complement rather than duplicate each other’s collection, thereby providing patrons with a broad and current selection of materials.


The mission of the Scotch Plains Public Library is to welcome and support our entire community with resources and services that enhance lifelong learning.

The mission of the Fanwood Memorial Library is to add value to the community by providing citizens of all ages with library services of high professional quality; to meet their evolving and on-going needs for educational, cultural, and recreational information; to promote literacy and lifelong learning; and to foster a love of reading.


  • To guide the libraries in selecting and maintaining a balanced and broad collection in a variety of formats
  • To provide useful, current information sources that reflect a wide range of interests, opinions, and viewpoints
  • To complement rather than duplicate the collections of the local school district
  • To follow a user-centered philosophy for the communities
  • To assist in determining budget allocation for acquired material
  • To ensure that the collections reflect the priorities of the libraries’ long range plans
  • To defend freedom of information and to provide on equal terms, free, open and equal access and service to all individuals and groups

The Scotch Plains Public Library and Fanwood Memorial Library endorse the American Library Associations Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read and The Freedom to View Statements.


The Library Directors will be responsible for the collection development for the libraries in accordance with general policies established by the Library Boards. The Directors may delegate material selection and withdrawal responsibilities for specific areas within the collection to members of the staff who are qualified to perform collection development duties.


Reading, listening to, and viewing library materials are individual and private matters. It is the right and responsibility of each individual library user to select the materials that he/she will use. Parents have the primary duty and responsibility to guide and supervise the reading, listening, and viewing habits of their children. The Scotch Plains Public Library and The Fanwood Memorial Library cannot assume such a role “in loco parentis.”

The libraries do not mark or identify materials to show approval or disapproval of their contents. Materials are not labeled to restrict their use by age, nor will they be sequestered, except to protect valuable items from injury or theft. Placement in a special location does not imply censorship.


The selection of materials for the libraries’ collection is based on accepted professional standards. Recommendations may come from any of the following sources:

  • Professional review journals
  • Standard bibliographic sources
  • Media reviews
  • Publisher’s catalogs
  • Suggestions from library patrons
  • Any other appropriate reviewing media

Suggestions from library patrons will be accommodated when the item requested meets the libraries’ selection standards. If the item is not purchased, every effort will be made to obtain the item through interlibrary loan for the patron’s use.

Materials will be selected to meet high standards in quality, format, content and expression. These criteria will include, but may not be limited to the following:

  • Maintaining an integrated and well balanced collection
  • Appeal and relevance to the community
  • Informational or educational value
  • Popularity of the author or particular title
  • Opinion of critics and reviewers
  • Literary merit
  • Recreational value
  • Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Usefulness to the staff as a professional tool
  • Timeliness of the materials
  • Suitability of format
  • Budgetary limitations
  • Relevance to the libraries’ mission and goals.
  • Relevance to the history of the Township of Scotch Plains or the Borough of Fanwood


The Scotch Plains Public Library and Fanwood Memorial Library are pleased to accept donations of both money and materials to support our library services.

Money donated to the libraries as a memorial, in honor of a person, or as a gift, will be used to purchase items needed for the collection. These items will be selected according to the Criteria for Selection of Library Materials. If the donor requests items be purchased in a particular subject area, every effort will be made to purchase in that area.

The libraries accept gifts of materials without commitment as to their final disposition. Materials that are donated to the libraries will be evaluated by the same criteria as purchased materials. Once accepted, donated materials become the exclusive property of the library. The library will assume responsibility for the disposition of these materials in the manner it deems appropriate.


The collection as a whole is not archival. In order to maintain a collection that is current, accurate, and inviting to library users, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis. The choice of materials to be withdrawn is determined by the professional staff under the supervision of the Directors. The following factors will be taken into consideration:

  • Timeliness
  • Subject coverage available in the collection
  • Age of material
  • Physical condition
  • Frequency of circulation
  • Number of copies
  • Compliance with the Criteria for Selection of Library Materials
  • Space limitations


Scotch Plains residents who feel that an inappropriate item has been selected for the collection may request that said item be reconsidered or withdrawn. In such a situation, the following steps shall be taken:

  1. The staff member to whom the question is first addressed will discuss the complaint with the patron. If the patron is not satisfied with the result of this discussion, the patron will be provided with a Request for Reconsideration of Materials form. This completed form will be given to the Director.
  2. The Director will review the request, evaluate the original reason for purchase, and consider the objection in terms of the Collection Development Policy. The Director will then reply in writing to the patron. A patron who is not satisfied with this reply may request a review by the Library Board of Trustees.
  3. When such an appeal is received by the Library Board of Trustees, it will discuss the complaint at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The patron will be invited to attend this meeting and notified in a timely manner of the Board’s decision.

During the process of reconsideration, the questioned item shall remain in the collection.

Download the Request for Reconsideration of Materials form.

Adopted Scotch Plains Library Board of Trustees 5/17/2006