Fostering a culture of reading and thought by serving Switzerland County’s information, life-long learning and leisure pursuits.

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


Purpose of the Policy


This collection development policy has been created:


  • To clearly state the policies of the Library Board
  • To identify responsibility for collection development
  • To provide a process for public input
  • To assist in budget allocation for materials
  • To defend freedom of information and protect against censorship


The Library’s mission statement is as follows:


“The Switzerland County Public Library will foster a culture of reading and thought by serving Switzerland County’s information, life-long learning and leisure pursuits.”


  1. BILL OF RIGHTS: The Switzerland County Public Library Board of Trustees and staff subscribe to the principles set forth in the American Library Association Bill of Rights.


  1. RESPONSIBILITY: The responsibility for book selection lies with the library director, who operates within the framework of the policies adopted by the Switzerland County Public Library Board of Trustees. Patron requests will be considered but the final decision rests with the library director.




a. The basic policy is to select the best in print and non-print on topics of interest to and within the comprehension of the people of the community; to judge each item on its own merits; to think of it in relation to the collection as a whole, and in relation to the public for whom it is intended. Because the library serves a public embracing a wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, and reading skills, it will seek to select materials of varying complexity and interest.


b. In selecting materials to serve the citizens of the community, emphasis is placed on the educational, informational and recreational functions of the public library.


c. The library recognizes that many library materials are controversial, and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collection and to serving the interests of the readers.


d. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents.


e. Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents and legal guardians. Selection of adult books will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into the possession of children.


f. In the selection of books to be added to the collection, generally only those which have been reviewed in standard reviewing sources are considered. Exceptions to this are items of local interest and information which do not usually reach the reviewing media. An effort is continually made to secure items of social, economic and historical importance to Switzerland County, and items written by and about local people within the general guidelines for selection.


g. The Switzerland County Public Library’s collection is by necessity governed to some extent by budgetary controls and limitations of space. Thus it cannot buy everything, but attempts to buy the best that is being published, with representation from as many authors and subjects as possible.




Should a book be challenged as unsuitable for the collection by an individual or group, a printed form to challenge said material shall be given to the patron for completion. Request for reconsideration forms will only be accepted from patrons living within the library district who have an active and valid library card. Requests must be done for an individual book; blanket requests will not be accepted. Upon receipt of the completed form, it will be reviewed by the library director and the Board of Trustees and appropriate action taken within the guidelines herein set forth.




a. The Board of Trustees of the Switzerland County Public Library specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the name of library users to be confidential in nature, in accordance with provisions in the Indiana Code IC 5-14-3-4(b) and IC 5-14-3-4(b)16


b. Further, the Board subscribes to the American Library Code of Ethics, which says in part that “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.”


c. All library employees are advised that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may by authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.


d. Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the library’s officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form, and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance; if the good cause has not been shown, they will insist that such defects be cured.




a. Law and Medical Books: Only very general or basic reference books will be purchased in certain areas. The books are not to be too specialized or considered beyond the province of public service. These areas include law and medicine.


b. Research Material: The Switzerland County Public Library does not attempt to provide specialized material for scholarly research or for extensive genealogical investigation due to limited funds and the availability of large research collections in the Indiana State Library. However, this library does have a responsibility to obtain and preserve materials connected with Switzerland County and Indiana.


c. Textbooks: Textbooks will be considered for purchase only when they are the best or only resource on a topic for reference or research. The library is in no way obligated to provide textbooks for regularly assigned formal classroom, distance learning, or homeschool instruction.


  1. GIFTS


a. The Switzerland County Library welcomes gifts of new and used books, audio recordings, videos, and similar materials in accordance with the book donations policy. Items will be added to the collection in accordance with the selection policy of the library. Once donated, items become the property of the Switzerland County Library, and may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies, sold, traded, or discarded if they are not added to the collection. Donated items will not be returned to the donor and the library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift. The library will acknowledge receipt of donated items but is unable to set fair market or appraisal values. It is recommended that the donor make a list of items donated. If items are being donated to obtain a tax benefit, it is the donor’s responsibility to establish fair market value or obtain expert assistance is establishing any value. The library also reserves the right to decide when a gift added to the collection must be withdrawn. Similarly, the library reserves the right to refuse or stop collecting donations at any time.


b. Monetary gifts, bequests, and memorial or honorary contributions are particularly welcome. Funds donated will be used to purchase items in accordance with the selection policy of the library for materials such as books, audio recording, and videos. Monetary gifts may also be used to purchase other items allowed for within budget constraints such as equipment and services. Monetary gifts, unless specifically designated, will be spent only for purchases in allocated fund categories as specified by the State Board of Accounts. Books and other library materials will be identified with special donor plates whenever possible. If requested, notification of memorial or honorary contributions will be sent to the family of the person being recognized. Suggestions for subject areas or other areas of interest are welcome and will be followed to the extent possible.


c. Acceptance of donations of equipment, real estate, stock, artifacts, works of art, collections, etc. will be determined by the library board based on their suitability to the purposes and needs of the library, laws and regulations that govern the ownership of the gift, and the library’s ability to cover insurance and maintenance costs associated with the donation.




a. Materials that no longer fit the stated service roles of the library will be withdrawn from the collection. This may include materials that are damaged, include obsolete information, or are no longer used. Decisions will be based on accepted professional practice, such as those described in The CREW Method and the professional judgment of the library director or designated staff. When necessary, local specialists will be consulted to determine the continued relevancy and reliability of materials.


b. Items withdrawn from the collection will be disposed of in accordance with local law, which permits discarding into the trash, recycling of paper, or to be sold at the library book sale. Discarded books, magazines and newspapers may also be given to other area libraries, social or community agencies at the discretion of the library director.



Adopted by the Switzerland County Public Library Board of Trustees on June 17, 2003

Revisions adopted July 9, 2013.

Revisions adopted July 11, 2023.

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