San Jose Public Library Collection Development (NEW)

What is in the library’s collection?

Our library selects materials in many formats including books, DVDs, magazines, CDs, and audiobooks. Electronic resources such as electronic books and audiobooks, streaming and downloadable video and music, electronic magazines and newspapers, and databases are also purchased for you to borrow and use. We select materials across a broad range of subjects to respond to the diverse needs of our community. The items in our collection meet the needs of a wide range of ages, languages, educational backgrounds, interests, and reading levels.

San José State University has their own collection development policy which can be found online.

How do we select items to add to the collection?

When choosing, cataloging, or removing items from our collection we follow the City Council Library Materials and Services Policy and the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, and are guided by our Mission Statement. Our librarians use multiple tools to help them select materials. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Customer demand
  • Professional reviews
  • Timeliness of the subject matter
  • Diverse points of view
  • Knowledge of the author or publisher
  • What items are currently in the collection
  • Cost

Electronic resources also take into consideration:

  • Functionality
  • Availability of remote access
  • Quality of user experience
  • Absence of solicitation/promotion
  • Compliance with SJPL’s privacy policy
  • Synergy with the collection as a whole (physical and electronic)

We also highly value your suggestions for adding items to our collection. Suggestions can be made through our online form. All suggestions are given serious review, and not all suggested materials are added to the collection. We are not able to respond to you individually due to the high number of suggestions we receive.

Our librarians seek to add materials that offer both factual information and diverse points of view. Works are judged on their value as a whole and may be kept despite potentially controversial or conflicting content.

How do we maintain the collection?

In order to maintain a current and appealing collection we regularly evaluate all library materials. Our librarians regularly remove materials based on several factors including:

  • Condition
  • Community interest
  • Accuracy
  • Relevance
  • Timeliness

Items removed from the collection are given to the Friends of the Library or recycled based on condition.

We may also discontinue use of electronic resources or remove items from our collection. Decisions are made based on the same criteria used for selection in addition to:

  • Amount of use
  • Usefulness to staff and customers
  • Cost per use

How can I donate books to the library?

All gifts are evaluated based on the same criteria as purchased materials. The decision to accept donated items is made by the collection development librarians. Donated items that are not added to the collection are not returned to you. Instead, we offer these items to our Friends of the Library. We encourage monetary donations that allow our librarians to choose materials based on our guidelines.

What if I want an item to be reconsidered?

Any request to remove specific materials from the collection are considered based on our selection guidelines and the City Council Library Materials and Services Policy. If you feel an item does not follow the guidelines in this policy you may complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form by contacting a branch manager. The City Librarian, or designee, will review your request and reply within 30 days. The item in question will remain on the shelf until a decision has been made.