Collection Management

Statement of Purpose

The Collection Management Policy describes how the Burlington County Library System (BCLS) manages its vast collection of materials, including print, digital and online resources. This framework ensures that library tax dollars are wisely spent in acquiring and maintaining a well rounded collection that supports the needs of the community and the mission of the library.

BCLS serves its mission by providing a balanced collection of materials that reflect a wide range of subjects, viewpoints, and interests at a variety of reading levels. The library system provides access to its collections, resources, and services without regard to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, national origin or social and political views.BCLS subscribes to the following American Library Association statements: “Library Bill of Rights,” “Freedom to Read,” and “Freedom to View”, as well as to the New Jersey Library Association’s “People’s Rights to Libraries.”

Materials Evaluation

Guidelines for Selection

Collection Management staff use their training, knowledge and expertise along with the Criteria for Selection guidelines below to select materials for the collection. Sources for selection include,but are not limited to, published recommendations from standard review sources and specialized publications, publisher/vendor catalogs and advertisements, professional and trade bibliographies,and customer requests/recommendations. Staff also select items based upon bestsellers lists,blogs and websites that reflect popular reading and subject interests.

Criteria for Selection

Management of the library’s resources involves the continuous process of identifying materials that will be added to or withdrawn from the BCLS collection. Staff involved with the selection and retention process will consider the following criteria when evaluating materials: 

  • Literary, artistic, or technical quality of the item as a whole
  • Educational or informational value
  • Accuracy, timeliness, or permanence
  • Favorable reviews from standard sources, reliable bibliographic tools, or specialized publications
  • Popularity with readers
  • Reputation and importance of author, editor, artist, or creator
  • Qualifications and significance of publisher, director or producer
  • Relation to other materials and formats in the collection
  • Suitability of format and physical condition
  • Cost relative to need or merit
  • Balance in formats and presentations including physical, digital and online licensed content
  • Local interest or relevance to community

Children's Materials

BCLS understands that materials acquired for youth must be regarded with special care due to the developmental needs of children and their readiness to master sensitive topics and/or content. In response, BCLS asserts that the responsibility of a child’s use of materials as well as content appropriateness lies with the parent or guardian.

Suggestions for Purchase

BCLS customers are encouraged to suggest items for purchase using an online form available on the library website and in the digital catalog. Collection Management staff review all material suggestions in a timely manner, assessing the titles using the selection criteria and availability for purchase.

Criteria for Weeding and Withdrawal

A regular review of materials is essential to maintaining the quality of the collection. Materials in the collection are managed through an assessment and evaluation process to ensure that the collection remains up-to-date, balanced, and attractive. Professional staff with collection management responsibility will evaluate materials for possible withdrawal using the following Guidelines:

  • Material containing obsolete or inaccurate information
  • Badly worn or damaged materials that cannot be repaired or rebound
  • Duplicates for which a high initial demand period is long past
  • A sufficient number of other titles on the subject
  • Amount of use over time
  • Last copy in the system which may require additional review
  • Availability elsewhere, including other libraries or online resources It is the responsibility of professional staff to assess the need for replacing materials that are damaged, destroyed, lost or removed from the collection. Decisions are based on need, demand,budget, and availability for purchase.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Burlington County Library has a responsibility to provide a comprehensive collection representing a wide range of ideas and viewpoints; moreover, BCLS has committed to the right of free access to information for all individuals. Customers wishing to recommend the removal or reclassification of a particular item may submit a Request for Reconsideration form. Requests to remove materials will be considered by the Library Director in consultation with librarians selected in a review committee. The Director will offer a response with consideration of the review committee's recommendation.


BCLS gratefully accepts donations of materials in a variety of formats, but has a right to refuse certain donations that do not meet standards outlined above. The library retains unconditional ownership of the gift; therefore, any donated materials that are not added to the collection will not be returned to the donor. The library does not evaluate or appraise gift material for donor tax purposes. 

Gift materials may be added to the collections, may be offered to other nonprofit organizations, or disposed of by other means. Used material donations will be accepted when they are in good condition. Materials in poor condition will be discarded immediately by the collection management team.