Collection Development Policy

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The mission of the Waterloo Public Library is to provide free access to information, education, and recreation in a welcoming environment.

Selection Philosophy

The Library Board of Trustees (Board) of the Waterloo Public Library (WPL) has adopted and supports the following documents from the American Library Association: 

A.                  Professional Code of Ethics

B.                  Library Bill of Rights

C.                  Freedom to Read Statement

D.                  Freedom to View Statement

E.                   Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors

F.                   Diversity in Collections

G.                  Labeling Systems

H.                  Expurgation of Library Resources

The Board supports the library’s dissemination of knowledge and information presenting a wide variety of ideas. Full, confidential, and unrestricted access to this information and diverse points of view is essential for patrons to exercise their constitutional rights. 

The library does not try to justify or promote any particular points of view. WPL acknowledges some materials are controversial, and any given item may offend someone. The library does not select materials based on any anticipated public approval or disapproval. WPL makes selection decisions on the merits of materials within the context of established selection criteria, as outlined in this policy.

The Board recognizes that the selection and use of library materials are predicated on the library patron’s constitutional rights and their freedom from censorship by others. 

WPL does not reject, reclassify, relocate, restrict access to, or remove a resource because an individual or a group has found the material objectionable. WPL provides access to material that may be controversial to some patrons while also providing a process by which individuals or groups may formally request reconsideration of material they find offensive or inaccurate.

The Library collection is organized, marked, and maintained in a non-judgmental, objective manner to help people find the materials they want. The library labels materials only by classification or directional aid.

Parents or legal guardians have sole responsibility for their child’s reading, viewing, and listening of library materials. Library staff does not act in loco parentis. 


The library’s primary goal is to provide quality public library service to the people of Waterloo, Black Hawk County, and the Greater Cedar Valley area. Therefore, WPL shall select materials that support patrons' information, education, and recreation needs while reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds of our service population. WPL conducts this work within the scope of this policy, the collection space, and budget.

Selection Responsibility

This Collection Development Policy provides guidance to the qualified and knowledgeable library staff responsible for materials selection and collection management. Ultimate responsibility for collection management at the WPL rests with the Library Director, who administers under the authority of the Board. The Director, in turn, delegates the authority for collection management to designated library staff.  


Library staff uses a wide variety of resources, including, but not limited to, professional journals, popular media, publishing trends, patron requests and recommendations, and circulation data to guide selection decisions.

Library staff also evaluates materials for selection based on these criteria:

  • Relevance to the present, anticipated, and potential community needs, interests, and desires
  • Representation of diverse points of view
  • Reputation and qualifications of the author, creator, or publisher of the work
  • Circulation history of the creator’s previous works or similar titles
  • The extent to which the item enhances the existing collection
  • Current, local, or historical significance
  • Technical and/or physical quality of material  
  • Suitability of subject, style, and format for the intended age level
  • Physical limitations of the building and shelving
  • Commercial availability of the material
  • Cost 

Local History Collection

Purpose and Scope 

The Waterloo Public Library curates its Local History Collection to preserve, protect, and provide the public with access to materials that document the history and development of Waterloo and associated individuals, businesses, and organizations. WPL may collect materials from Black Hawk County or other Iowa counties if they help to place Waterloo citizens, businesses, organizations, or events within the historical context. 

Materials added to this collection must be of interest to the broader community. Primarily personal interest materials such as family genealogies or photographs may be collected on a limited basis if the person or family were integral to the development of some aspect of Waterloo or Black Hawk County. 

Materials Collected

This collection primarily comprises books and other paper ephemera such as pamphlets, maps, government documents, photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, and manuscripts. In some cases, digital copies of items may be added to the collection in lieu of physical copies, although physical copies are preferred. 

The library shall only add digital copies if the originals are confirmed to be out of copyright or the library is granted permission by the copyright owner. The library shall not accept materials for this collection which are more suitable to a museum collection. 


WPL keeps fragile or one-of-a-kind items in this collection in storage. The library may provide access to the information in such items by providing physical, microfilm, or digital copies. The library encourages patrons to use these provided copies, but patrons may request access to the originals.

The library does not interlibrary loan items in this collection.


Donated materials in good condition can sometimes be used in the library’s collection. The library applies the same criteria for evaluating donated materials as it applies to purchasing materials. Donated materials that are added into the collection become the property of the library. Items not added into the collection become the property of the Friends of the Waterloo Public Library.

Memorial books or other library materials may be donated in honor of a friend or relative, and at request, can be marked with a special bookplate and noted in the online catalog. The library does not accept responsibility for notifying donors of withdrawal or replacement of memorial items.

All donations are tax-deductible and a blank receipt can be furnished for tax purposes, but does not place a financial value on used items.

Removal of library materials 

To help maintain the quality of the library’s collection, library materials may be removed for one or more of the following reasons, in accordance with the CREW method:

  • Obsolescence: format or subject matter is no longer timely, accurate, or relevant
  • Damage or poor condition 
  • Space limitations 
  • Insufficient use

The library disposes of removed materials through Friends of the Waterloo Public Library book sales, giveaways, and/or recycling. 

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service offered by the library to obtain materials from other libraries that may not be in our collection.

Patrons with full access library cards may borrow up to 5 items per month through ILL at no cost. The library assesses a $2.00 fee to the patron’s account for each item beyond the 5 item limit. ILL privileges may be suspended if ILL items are not checked out and returned in a timely manner. 

WPL attempts to find lending libraries that do not charge lending fees. Patrons shall be notified for approval of any lending fees. Any additional fees the lending library may charge, as well as charges for lost or damaged materials, shall also be the patron’s responsibility. Fees may be waived at the discretion of the Library Director or designee.

In general, since WPL does not offer textbooks or duplicate resources already provided at local academic libraries and special libraries, patrons are encouraged to use ILL for these types of materials.

WPL cannot guarantee all ILL requests will be filled. 


Any WPL patron residing in Waterloo or rural Black Hawk County who objects to the presence, absence, classification, or location of a material in the library’s collection may do so by completing a “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” form, which they may obtain from the library. 

The “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” form may be submitted to the library for formal review by a committee of library staff. The committee will examine the challenged material and determine if it follows this Collection Development Policy. The committee will then make a determination and library staff will notify the patron of the outcome and provide any supporting documents.  

Material under review shall remain in the circulating collection without restriction until a determination is made. 

If the patron is unsatisfied with the committee’s decision, they may choose to proceed with their challenge by petitioning the Board to review the outcome and supporting documents. The Board shall make a final decision.


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