Policy on Collection Development and Management

Purpose of Policy

The purpose of the Hancock County Public Library Collection Development and Management Policy is to provide guidelines for acquisition and withdrawal decisions, resource allocation and long-range planning of collection needs in accordance with the Library's mission statement and current strategic plan.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director who operates within the policies determined by the Board of Trustees. The Director delegates the responsibilities for specific subject areas and formats regarding the evaluation, acquisition, retention, and withdrawal of materials.

Cooperative Relationships

The Library encourages the use of interlibrary cooperation to better serve the needs of its patrons by expanding available resources through Resource Sharing (Interlibrary Loan (ILL)) and cooperative agreements that benefit the community.

Intellectual Freedom

Guiding principles for the Library’s materials selection and use policies is the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association.

Scope of the Collection

The Hancock County Public Library system is currently comprised of the Central Library in Greenfield, Sugar Creek branch in New Palestine, and the Bookmobile outreach service. The Central Library is the primary reference and resource center for the three sites and has the most inclusive and comprehensive collection. The Sugar Creek branch library and the Bookmobile primarily serve their communities, with collections and services tailored to their communities’ cultural, educational, recreational, and informational needs. Materials are easily accessible to users through online holds for customer pickup, and digital services available 24/7.

Selection Criteria

The Library strives to develop a viable collection of standard works of permanent value and popular materials of current significance, striking an overall balance between public demand and diversity of material. The interests and needs of the community, the individual merit of each item, and the library's existing collection, budget, and services are the main factors in selecting materials.

Criteria listed below apply to the selection of all materials for Hancock County Public Library:

  • Public demand and/or interest
  • Timeliness and/or significance of the subject
  • Contribution to a balanced collection
  • Support of Library's mission and strategic plan
  • Community relevance
  • Cost
  • Reviews from professionally recognized sources

Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage. A work will not be excluded from the Library’s collection solely because the content may be controversial.


Materials are purchased in a variety of formats. The Library monitors the development of new formats and, within budgetary and technical limitations, adds these to the collection. Choice of formats will be based on patron demand, community trends, product development, and positive critical reviews.

Patron Requests

Patron suggestions and requests will be considered in accordance with the selection criteria outlined in this document. Requests not acquired by the Library may be available via Inter-Library Loan (ILL).

Gifts and Donations

The Library gratefully accepts gifts depending on need, space, and relevancy to Hancock County (also see Special Collections/Local and Indiana History section below).

General De-selection Criteria

Ongoing evaluation of the collection is necessary in order to maintain a current, accurate and inviting collection. The criteria listed below apply to the de-selection of all materials for the Hancock County Public Library:

  • Poor circulation statistics (including in-house usage statistics)
  • Out of date information
  • Poor condition and/or physical appearance
  • Extra copies no longer necessary
  • Space
  • Community relevance

Professional Collection

Library staff may order books that are only available for staff use, and they become a part of the Professional Collection. These are books that are closely tied to library initiatives, programming, and services as well as continuing education, which is why they must be available to staff at all times. If a patron is interested in borrowing a professional collection item, they should fill out a Request to Purchase Materials or Interlibrary Loan request form. The selector for that area then knows there is demand and an additional copy can be considered for the circulating collection. If an item is no longer needed for the Professional Collection, the library may choose to put the item in the circulating collection.

Special Collections

The Local History/Genealogy Room of the Hancock County Public Library is maintained as a non-circulating collection of local history and genealogical materials.

A. Genealogy

The Library develops and maintains a collection of genealogical materials, including: materials related to Greenfield, surrounding towns and Hancock County; select materials from the surrounding counties of Henry, Madison, Shelby, Hamilton and a limited collection of Marion County items, especially in townships bordering Hancock County; select materials on states which were part of the migratory routes to Indiana, especially North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Ohio.

A. Local and Indiana History

The Hancock County Public Library is the main collection environment for information about Hancock County and Greenfield. The Library will purchase and consider donations of materials related to the county. Materials on prominent Hoosiers, including James Whitcomb Riley, famous Hoosier authors and other items on Indiana are also appropriate additions to the collection.

Reconsideration of Materials

A “Hancock County Public Library Patron’s Request for Reconsideration of Materials” form is provided for a patron wishing to request that the library staff reconsider a specific title currently in the collection. The patron completes the form and submits it to the Director. The Director will review the title and write a letter of response to the patron. The patron will be invited to voice further objections at the next meeting of the library board. All complaints about library materials are viewed in the context of the Collection Development and Management policy. Titles may only be reconsidered once per year.

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