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Orange County Public Library

Collection Development Policy

Revised December 13, 2012


Purpose of the collection development policy

This plan serves as a guide for the selection and withdrawal of materials for the Orange County Public Library (OCPL). The policy is designed to support the library’s Mission Statement.

The Community and the Library

Orange County is a unique county of 400 square miles, nestled among the rolling hills and towns of the North Carolina piedmont area, on the edge of the famed Research Triangle. The Orange County Public Library system serves a diverse population of 130,000 residents in a welcoming atmosphere with three locations, a highly trained staff and quality resources that support our community.  Orange County is home to the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the former mill town of Carrboro, and the historic town of Hillsborough, the County seat.


Mission Statement

The Orange County Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community.

Collection Development Policy

This policy is to provide guidance for the selection and withdrawal of library materials in order to meet the needs of the community. The policy is to inform library staff and the public about the collection and the library management principles upon which decisions are made. 

A library must be responsive to the needs of the people it serves.  As the community changes, the library will need to reassess and adapt its collections to reflect new and changing areas of interest and concern.  However, no changes will be made that violate the principles contained in the Library Bill of Rights, adopted and amended by the Council of the American Library Association, or the ALA Freedom to Read policy statement.


  • Adult – The library offers general works of fiction and non-fiction representing the recreational and informational interests of the community.      
  • Teen – The teen collection consists of materials considered to be of interest to adolescents.  The collection focuses on titles that are of current interest to teens.
  • Children’s – The children’s collection consists of materials for children that address their developmental, informational, and recreational interests and needs. 
  • Local History – The library maintains a local history collection offering residents of Orange County as well as visitors from outside the county access to genealogical and historical research materials relating to Orange County and North Carolina.  The collection also provides research materials for general/novice inquiries or school assignments.  This collection is housed at the Orange County Main Library.
  • Electronic Resources – The library offers a select collection of electronic resources. This collection is supplemented by resources freely available through NC LIVE.
  • Film – The library offers a general collection of recreational, informational and instructional films.
  • Periodicals – The library offers patrons a collection of current newspapers and magazines to meet recreational and informational needs.
  • Music – The library offers a general music collection for recreational interests. The collection is housed at Orange County Main Library.
  • Professional Collection – The library maintains a specialized collection of materials to support staff professional growth and library operations. This collection is available only to library staff.
  • E-book materials – The library offers e-book works of fiction and non-fiction representing the recreational and information interests of the community.  Publishers control distribution of e-book materials limiting access to public libraries for specific titles.
  • E-book readers – The library offers a limited number of e-book readers at the Main Library. These readers are pre-loaded with a selection of fiction and non-fiction titles for all ages.

Overview of Orange County Library locations


Orange County Main Library

The Orange County Main Library is operated in the Town of Hillsborough, offering the full selection of materials outlined in this policy.

Each of our branch libraries offers collections unique to their size and population.

Orange County Carrboro Branch Library

The Branch Library is located in the media center of McDougle Elementary / Middle School. This branch shares its collection with the school media centers.  Due to its shared location, the collection is limited in its size and scope.

Orange County Cybrary

The Cybrary is located in the Century Center in downtown Carrboro. The Cybrary focuses on computer access and literacy and therefore provides a very small collection of popular materials for the adult population.

Selection and Maintenance

Responsibility for the Collection

The final authority for the library collection rests with the Library Director.  Implementation of the policy is delegated to:

  • Head of Adult and Teen Services
  • Head of Children’s Services
  • Branch Managers
  • Other professional staff may participate as assigned.

All staff members and the general public are encouraged to participate in the selection of materials by making purchase suggestions.

Selection Criteria

Selection is a discerning and interpretative process.  Staff considers the following criteria when selecting materials, though an item need not meet all of the criteria to be selected.

  • Relevance to interest and needs of community
  • Positive reviews in professional journals and review sources
  • Popular demand or anticipated demand for the title
  • Availability of material elsewhere in the area
  • Suitability of format or physical form for library use
  • Content appropriate for the age and interest of the population
  • Qualifications of the author, creator or publisher of the work
  • Price and affordability
  • Representation of diverse points of view
  • Currency and accuracy of the information
  • Space requirements
  • Consideration of vendor / publisher availability to libraries

Suggestions for Purchase

The library strongly encourages input from the OCPL community concerning the collection.  All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection.  It is the library’s intent that suggestions for purchase are to be used to help the library in developing collections which best serve the overall interests and needs of the community.


Gifts of books and other library materials in good condition will be accepted by the library with the understanding that these items will be considered for addition to the collection subject to the same selection criteria as purchased items.  The library reserves the right to give donated materials to the Friends of the Library or use them for program giveaways.

Request for Reconsideration

The OCPL selects materials using the established criteria.  Requests for removal of items from the collection may be made using a formal procedure.  Staff reviews the request in relation to the library’s mission statement and the selection criteria.  A written response to the request for removal is sent to the patron from the Library Director within 30 days of receipt of the request.

Print a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

Philosophy of Collection Management

The library’s collection is a living, changing entity.  As items are added, others are reviewed for their ongoing value and may be withdrawn from the collection.  Great care is taken to retain or replace items that have enduring value to Orange County’s readers; however, the library is not an archival collection retaining items in perpetuity.  Decisions are influenced by patterns of use and by the holdings of other libraries that may specialize in a given subject matter.  Professional staff review the collection on an ongoing basis in order to maintain its vitality and usefulness to the community.


Implementation is delegated by the Library Director to:

  • Head of Adult and Teen Services
  • Head of Children’s Services
  • Branch Managers 
  • Other professional staff may participate as assigned.

Criteria for Withdrawal

Staff considers the following criteria in choosing materials for withdrawal, though an item need not meet all of the criteria to be withdrawn.

  • Physical condition
  • Currency of information
  • Lack of use
  • Availability elsewhere – including other local libraries
  • Number of copies in the collection
  • Availability of shelf space

Review and Revision

The Collection Development Policy is available to the public at the library or on the library’s website.  The policy will be reviewed at least once every two (2) years and updated as necessary.  Any changes recommended will be incorporated into the policy, following approval by the Library Director.