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Resources Selection Policy

Printable policy (PDF)


The Resources Selection Policy defines the criteria used by Library collection development staff in choosing Library resources and materials.


Durham County Library offers the community print and non-print resources and materials consistent with the library’s mission to encourage discovery, connect the community and lead in literacy.

Selection of Resources

All resources and materials considered for addition to the collection will be evaluated on the following criteria, considering the work as a whole. Not all criteria must be met and no one criterion will be decisive.

  1. Authority and reputation of the author/producer
  2. Responsible and timely treatment of the subject
  3. Clarity, organization, and readability of both design and content
  4. Significance and/or usefulness in relation to the existing collection
  5. Usefulness for a public library collection with a general audience
  6. Evaluation of critical and/or professional reviews
  7. Literary or artistic merit
  8. Production quality (visual aspects or sound elements)
  9. Cost relative to work’s value to the collection
  10. Durability of format
  11. Appropriateness of treatment for intended audience
  12. Appropriateness of medium to subject portrayed
  13. Relevance to the interests and needs of the community
  14. Popular demand

Electronic resources and digital content will be subject to these additional criteria:

  1. Print versus electronic cost considerations
  2. Compatibility with library platforms
  3. Technical quality of the reproduction
  4. Currency and frequency of maintenance
  5. Ease of use
  6. Demonstrated widespread and enduring adoption of a given technology
  7. Content output options
  8. Training requirements for staff and the public
  9. Remote access capability
  10. Legal and licensing terms
  11. Technical support capability
  12. Privacy practices of the provider

Recommended websites will be subject to these additional criteria:

  1. Availability of contact information for responsible parties
  2. Quality of access through fast loading files, clearly defined elements, ease of use, and graphics that complement rather than distract
  3. Stable Uniform Resource Locator
  4. Complete access without requirements for credit card or personal information
  5. Does not present known security risks (spyware, virus, etc.)

Non-curated Collections

In order to expand the range of digital content available to library card holders, the library provides access to non-curated collections of digital content. These collections are ones for which the content is determined by the content provider. Because it is impossible to review every individual item in the library’s non-curated collections, Durham County Library staff assess the value of each collection as a whole based on the above selection criteria. As with Durham County Library curated collections, parents and legal guardians are responsible for the selection and use of Library materials and resources by their children. The Library supports the right of individuals to reject for themselves or their children resources and materials they find unsuitable or objectionable; however, the freedom of others to read, view, listen or inquire will not be restricted.

Patron suggestions

The Library welcomes suggestions for resources from the public and will consider such suggestions following the criteria outlined in Selection of Resources.

Curricular materials

The Library selects educational resources useful to the general reader but does not provide curricular materials for programs of formal instruction.

Resource Sharing

Realizing that no one library collection can be comprehensive, the Library may provide for the needs of its patrons by using the resources of other libraries in compliance with the National Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.

Collection Maintenance

The Library engages in an ongoing evaluation to keep its collections current, in good condition, responsive, diverse and useful to the needs of the community. Based on this evaluation, materials may be retained, replaced by new copies, preserved to ensure long-term retention, or permanently withdrawn from the collection and discarded according to accepted professional practices. The same judgment exercised in the selection of the collection shall be used in the weeding process. Materials will be evaluated according to professionally recommended criteria such as:

  1. frequency of circulation
  2. format or physical condition
  3. currency of information
  4. role in the overall collection

Intellectual Freedom

Recognizing that ours is a free society, the Durham County Library provides access to a collection of materials that is balanced and diverse. Selections are not made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval by specific segments of the community but on the merits of the material and the selection criteria described above. The Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights set forth by the American Library Association. In addition, the Library endorses the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement, also developed by the ALA and adopted by the Library Board of Trustees on January 28, 1985.

These documents are appended to the Resources Selection Policy.

Parents and legal guardians are responsible for the selection and use of Library materials and resources by their children. The Library supports the right of individuals to reject for themselves or their children resources and materials they find unsuitable or objectionable; however, the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted.

Requests for reconsideration: The Library recognizes that a diverse collection may result in some requests for reconsideration. In order to ensure that they are handled in a consistent manner, requests for removal of items from the collection should be made using the following procedure:

  1. Borrowers wishing to register a formal Request for Reconsideration about the inclusion of any particular title will receive a copy of the Resources Selection Policy and a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources” form from the location manager or manager on duty at that location or from the Library website.
  2. Borrowers must return a completed “Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources” form to a location manager or manager on duty.
  3. Requests for Reconsideration will then be reviewed by a committee composed of the Deputy Director, the manager of the facility where the Request for Reconsideration was received, the Resources and Finance Officer, the Collection Development Administrative Librarian and the selector for that subject area. Requests for reconsideration of an individual item in the library’s non-curated collections [see Non-curated Collections above] are subject to limitations imposed by the vendor.
  4. The recommendation of this committee will be communicated to the Library Director.
  5. The Library Director will make a decision and communicate it by letter to the borrower.
  6. To appeal the decision, the borrower may request a hearing by the Library Board of Trustees. Such a request should be made in writing to the Library Director at least one week prior to a board meeting. The Library Board of Trustees advises the Library Director, who is authorized by the County Manager to make a final decision.


Gifts of materials will be evaluated by the Library’s Collection Development staff, according to the criteria in the Library’s Resources Selection Policy and the Library’s Gift policy. Collection Development staff are responsible for determining if gifts can be used within the system. Items that are not accepted into the Library’s collection may be returned or disposed of at the Library’s discretion.


The Resources Selection Policy applies to all Durham County Library Collections.


Responsibility for developing and implementing effective procedures to support this policy lies with the library collection development staff. The Resources Selection Policy is reviewed annually by the Collection Development Administrative Librarian and collection development staff and is updated periodically as needed.


It is the responsibility of the Resources and Finance Officer, with the advice of the Board of Trustees, to interpret, monitor and recommend updates to the policy. The ultimate responsibility for implementing the Resources Selection Policy lies with the Library Director.


  1. American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights
  2. American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement
  3. American Library Association’s Freedom to View Statement
  4. Printable policy and Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources Form (PDF)

Effective Date: July 2023