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It is the mission of the Madison Public Library to provide access to dynamic collections, appropriate technology, and global information to support and enrich individual, family, and community life.


This policy guides the development and maintenance of collections that reflect the mission of Madison Public Library. It provides the framework for selection and the flexibility to allow the collection to grow and respond to community needs. It reinforces the Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and protects the collection against outside pressures, ensuring an abundance of ideas and viewpoints for the enrichment of all users.  

Scope of Collection

The Madison Public Library collects books and other materials for all ages and in a variety of formats that are responsive to the informational needs and interests of the community and reflect its diversity. 

The Madison Public Library respects each users’ individual quest for information and does not value one user’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement and affirms each person’s right to select or reject any item for their own use. Materials are chosen that reflect a wide variety of viewpoints and inspire learning for all ages.

The Library develops collections including, but not limited to the following: fiction and non-fiction for adults, teens and children; picture books, board books and materials for emerging readers; magazines; local interest and history; movies and documentaries; language-learning resources; and materials in multiple languages. Formats reflect community demand and include, but are not limited to: books, eBooks and eAudiobooks, movies, and Things.

Collections and formats may be added, removed, or modified in response to use, library space, and budget. The Collection Development Plan further defines the scope of each collection and guides their specific development and evaluation.  

The Library may use subscription and pay-per-use services to broaden the reach, scope, and access of digital collections. Titles in these collections are not individually selected by library staff. 


Materials are selected to provide depth and a diversity of viewpoints to the existing collection. While widespread interest and usage are the prevailing influences on selection and maintenance, the Library strives to sustain an inclusive and balanced collection. Scholarly, academic, or highly specialized materials may not meet selection criteria.

Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for selection resides with the Board of Trustees and the Library Director. This responsibility is delegated and shared with Staff selectors. Staff remain receptive to community needs by engaging in open communication with users, recognizing that materials of varying complexities and formats are necessary to meet diverse needs, and seeking improvement through ongoing evaluation. Selection tools include professional journals, reviews, book lists, and vendor lists. User suggestions are welcomed and will be reviewed for inclusion using the selection criteria.  

Selection Criteria

Each item will be judged on its own merit and in its entirety, with concern for its intended audience. Selection is not restricted based on the expressed opinion of an individual or group, nor limited due to the origin, background, or views of its author or creator. The following criteria are deliberately flexible and guide decisions in all areas of the collection. An item need not meet all these criteria for inclusion. 

Relevance to community needs

Potential and/or known demand

Timeliness and/or enduring significance or interest

Relation to existing collection

Accuracy of information

Quality of writing, design or production

Authority or significance of the author/creator or publisher

Intended purpose



Critical reviews


Representation of diverse viewpoints

Local interest

If material is not chosen for the Library's collection, it has been excluded because:

it does not meet the Library's selection criteria;

the budget will not permit the expenditure; or

there is not space for the item.

Materials not added to the collection can be requested through interlibrary loan. 

Managing the Collection

Accessibility and Distribution

The Madison Public Library upholds the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements and allows full access to materials in the public space. Some items, including materials in the South Dakota collection, may require special handling due to age or uniqueness. To preserve them for continued use, users may access these materials inside the Library. The Madison Public Library supports parents and guardians in guiding their child’s development and determining which materials are appropriate. The Library does not restrict access to any area of the collection based on age.


Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

To maintain collections that are responsive to community needs, items are continually reviewed for their ongoing value. As new items are added, outdated, erroneous, and worn-out items are removed. Factors in evaluation include:

• Use

• Continued demand and/or relevance

• Condition

• Availability in other formats

• Space considerations

• Depth of coverage

• Age of collection

• Items are withdrawn when they are: 

• factually inaccurate or obsolete

• worn beyond repair

• unused in a specified period

• irrelevant to the needs of the community


The Collection Development Plan guides specific collection evaluation and weeding measures. Materials which are removed from the collection may be disposed of as directed by state and local laws. Means of disposal may include selling or donating to other agencies.

Request for Reconsideration

The public is free to challenge the presence of materials held in the Library collection. Persons seeking reconsideration must complete a written Statement of Concern. The Library Director will evaluate their request with input from collection development staff and send a written response to the patron. If necessary, further consideration may be made by the Library Board of Trustees. Material under review will remain in circulation until a determination is made. 

Statement of Concern Document

Gifts and Donations

The Library welcomes both monetary and material gifts to support the collection. Monetary gifts may be directed toward materials, programs, or equipment to support the needs of the Library. Gifts of materials will be subject to the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Those not accepted for the collection will be disposed of or donated. The Library does not evaluate or appraise gift materials for tax or other purposes.

Adopted by the Madison Public Library Board of Trustees, October, 2014

Reviewed and Revised, June 2023

Collection Development Policy

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