Collection Development Policy

The Monroe County Public Library Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of collections in support of the Library’s mission to “enrich lives and strengthen our community by providing equitable access to information and opportunities to read, learn, connect, and create.”

The Library’s goal is to provide a diverse Monroe County community with materials that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may include items that are considered controversial and may offend some users. Inclusion of questionable language or attitudes in materials is not in itself a reason to exclude them from the collection. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression and supports the principle of intellectual freedom.

The Library provides free access to materials in a number of formats (print, non-print and electronic) to all Library customers. Library customers make their own choices as to what they will use and what they will not use. The Library encourages each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by their children. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian. MCPL adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom adopted by the American Library Association.

About the Library and Its Community

MCPL serves the residents of Monroe County, Indiana, home of Indiana University.  The library provides service through a Main Library in downtown Bloomington, a branch in Ellettsville, and outreach services including a bookmobile, homebound and van delivery, and jail service.  The library also hosts an active adult literacy program, and a community access television station. 

The Library’s collection provides a wide range of literary, cultural, educational, informational and recreational materials for people of all ages. Collections may include popular and in-demand materials as well as special formats, such as large print books; foreign language materials; test and study guides; financial, tax and business information; school and career information; consumer, health and medical information, and others. The Indiana Room Collection documents the history of Bloomington and Monroe County and provides a broad scope of information about local news, people, events, and businesses.

Scope of Collection

The scope of the collection refers to the range and type of materials selected including the formats offered and the level of difficulty. The scope is as broad as possible to allow the expression of a wide range of opinions and perspectives. MCPL collections will focus on the general patron rather than the researcher. Materials of local significance or value may be digitized to expand and preserve access.The collection is not archival. No extraordinary efforts are made to retain or preserve last copies or out of print titles.

Criteria for Selection

General criteria for selecting library materials are listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be selected.

  • public demand, interest or need,
  • contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • attention of critics and reviewers
  • prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator or publisher                  
  • timeliness of material
  • relation to existing collections
  • statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • accessibility and durability


In alignment with the Library’s mission to strengthen our community and enrich lives by providing equitable access to information, the Library’s digitization program serves to produce, organize, disseminate, and maintain a collection of digital content that expands free public access to materials of local significance or value. Physical materials
owned by MCPL may be considered for digitization based on the following criteria:

  • Library must obtain rights or access [public domain, creative commons license, or MCPL must hold the copyright or obtain permission to digitize and provide unrestricted access]
  • Unique, original items not previously digitized
  • Digitization is within the Library’s means (format, size, quality, and quantity of digitized content and relative costs)
  • Subject matter is appropriate for library collections with clear scope; local or historical significance, community impact or value, and fits the library’s strategic priorities
  • Collection must be capable of organization and metadata description
  • Strategic value of a potential community partner
  • Project can be funded through Access and Content Services digitization operating funds and/or supporting grant, appropriate staff time (where applicable) exists to support the project

Responsibility for Selection

The Board of Trustees delegates the development of the collection to the Director. The overall collection development process for MCPL involves a wide variety of individuals including librarian selectors, strategists, unit managers and the Director.


The materials budget is recommended by the Director and approved by the Board of Trustees annually.

Suggestions for Additions to the Collection

To assure the acquisition of resources desired by Library users, customer suggestions are always considered for addition to the collection. A request can be made by filling out a Suggestion for Purchase Form online or at any library location. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with criteria for selection.    

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan is a process by which MPCL tries to obtain materials directly from another library on behalf of a customer, or another library borrows materials from MCPL on behalf of its customer. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to obtain materials which would not ordinarily be purchased by the MCPL and to provide material from MCPL's collection to other libraries.

Customers in good standing may request items not found in MCPL's collection or other local library collections (such as Indiana University) through interlibrary loan.

Collection Maintenance, De-selection, and Replacement

All collections are routinely reviewed to ensure that they continue to meet our community’s needs. Materials that are worn, no longer in high demand, or potentially obsolete may be removed. Librarians assess the need for replacing materials that are damaged, destroyed or lost. Items are not automatically replaced and decisions are based on need, demand and budget.


The Monroe County Public Library Foundation gratefully accepts donations of gently used materials for use in its bookstore and book sale events. No conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance. Items are not returned to donors. The Foundation allows library staff to select donated materials for inclusion in the collection where appropriate and according to the library’s selection guidelines.

For additional information about donations please see the library’s gift policy.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The selection and de-selection of materials is an ongoing process, involving many different staff and many interactions with the community.  Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered is asked to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form available online or at any library location. The form will be forwarded to the Director and once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, a letter will be sent to the requestor explaining the decision. If the requestor remains dissatisfied with the resolution, they may appeal to the Library Board in writing, within 10 days of receiving the Director's response.

XII. Annual Review

This policy is reviewed annually, and recommended changes are sent to the Director for consideration. Changes recommended by the Director will be sent to the Board of Trustees for approval.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees August 19, 2020