Collection Development Policy


The collection development policy is intended to implement the general objectives of the Library (See Part 2 Section I, General Library Objectives.) The policy provides the framework for the purchase and evaluation of materials in a variety of formats to meet the diverse and continuously changing needs of the community. The collection strives to meet the informational, educational, recreational and cultural needs of persons of all ages and educational levels within the community.


Final authority for the determination of policy in the acquisition of books and other materials is vested in the Library Board of Trustees. Responsibility for material selection within this policy and control of expenditures for materials rest with the Director. Selection decisions are delegated by the Director to qualified staff members.


The Piscataway Public Library is an integrated system with three points of access: Kennedy Library, Westergard Library, and the Online Collection.  It attempts to provide materials for all ages in a wide range of formats including, but not limited to: print, video, sound recording, and electronic media. The three collections aim to support and complement each other.

  1. Kennedy Library serves as the main library with a broad collection that attempts to fill the diverse needs and interests of community members.  It includes materials, both current and retrospective, on a wide range of subjects and representing varying viewpoints and styles. Its collection provides support for Westergard Library.

  2. Westergard Library is a branch library with a basic collection that serves to satisfy the needs of the general user.

  3. The Online Collection represents the diverse viewpoints and interests of the entire community the Library serves. This collection includes citation and full-text databases; eBooks, eAudio Books, and other downloadable and streaming media; and instructional content.


Collection development is an ongoing process which involves the purchase of new materials as well as the re-evaluation of the present collection.  Collection development is based on the merit of content rather than personal considerations regarding the author or producer.

Criteria for the selection of materials include:

  1. Significant needs of the library's patrons and the community
  2. Literary or production quality of the work as a whole
  3. Informational, educational or recreational value of subject matter
  4. Permanent or timely value of subject matter
  5. Authority and accuracy of matter presented
  6. Reputation and significance in the field of those involved in the work
  7. Reputation of the publisher or producer
  8. Appropriateness of format to subject matter
  9. Price
  10. Relationship to cooperative collection arrangements with other libraries
  11. Relation to the rest of the collection
  12. Opinions of others as expressed in professional selection aids such as Booklist, Children’s Core Collection, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, Horn Book; and current general reviewing selection aids such as New York Times Books Review, Billboard, and in various published lists

Criteria for collection maintenance include:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Timeliness
  3. Circulation
  4. Physical condition
  5. Inclusion in standardizing lists
  6. Number of copies
  7. Cooperative collection arrangements with other libraries


Piscataway Public Library collects materials in a variety of popular formats, which support its function as a major information source for the demanding needs of a dynamic population. The collection also serves the popular and recreational needs of the general public, and reflects the racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the Piscataway community.

Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each customer of Piscataway Public Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one customer’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others.

Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision, support recreational reading, encourage and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, lead to recognition and appreciation of literature, and reflect the diversity of the community. The reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their own children’s development.


  1. Curriculum-related materials. The Library supplements local curricular needs but does not purchase materials which are specific to those needs (i.e. textbooks) unless they fill a gap in the collection or are the best materials available on a given subject.
  2. Local authors. The Library will acquire, catalog, and house those works of local authors which are brought to the library's attention and meet the selection criteria, as stated above.
  3. Gift materials. Donations of materials may be accepted with the understanding that the Library will use them as it sees fit.  Materials in acceptable condition which meet selection criteria will be added to the collection.  Others will be disposed of in whatever manner the Library deems best. (See section VII)


Any Piscataway Public Library cardholder’s request for purchase of a specific title, when submitted on the library form provided for this purpose, will be given special consideration. If the title meets the criteria stated here, it will be purchased and the requesting patron notified of its purchase. If a requested title is not purchased, every effort will be made to obtain the title, or an acceptable substitute, through interlibrary loan or alternate means, if the patron so desires.


Since it is possible, even with the best of intent, to err in application of these stated principles, the Director will, upon written request*, review decisions regarding a specific work. Such materials will be referred to the Board when the Director deems it necessary.

*See appendix for form entitled "Statement of Concern about Library Resources."

Revised by the Library Board of Trustees 9/13/2016

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