ImagineIF Libraries

5000 Collection Development

The purpose of the Collection Development and Management Policy is:

  • To document collection management procedures;
  • To guide staff in the selection, retention, and withdrawal of library materials;
  • To inform the public of the philosophy of collection development and the policies involved; and
  • To establish a framework for continuous collection evaluation and improvement.

Collection Objective

The ImagineIF Libraries’ collection is developed based upon community interests and needs, the composition and use of the existing collection, and input from customers, staff, and the Library Board of Trustees. ImagineIF Libraries’ Collection Development Policy reflects the three pillars of Strategic Plan for the Future, 2015-2017: Explore, Connect, Create.

ImagineIF’s primary service commitment is to the people within its service area, including people of every age, education, background, personal philosophy, religious belief, occupation, economic level, ethnic origin and human condition. The collection contains information on a variety of subjects and views, and is organized to provide unrestricted and easy access within the limitations of space and budget. All ImagineIF materials are intended for public use and, with the exception of selected special or reference collections, all materials are available for check-out.

Collection Responsibility

The Board of Trustees vests responsibility for selection of library materials in the Library Director under guidelines established by the Board. Members of the staff, qualified by reason of education and/or experience, serve on the Collection Management Team and are assigned to assist with the selection of materials.

General Collection Description

The library collections are comprised primarily of popular materials directed toward the general public and an effort is made to have the most current information available. There is a special collection of materials that focuses on the history of Flathead County and surrounding areas. Older general material is held only if it has local historical significance.

Collection Philosophy

ImagineIF endorses the following American Library Association statements:

  • Library Bill of Rights See Appendix A
  • Freedom to Read See Appedix B
  • Freedom to View See Appendix C

ImagineIF upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. Materials available present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.

See the appendices to this document, adopted by the Board of Trustees, which include the statements above and various interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.

Selection Criteria

The criteria for selection, acquisition, customer requests, duplication, replacement, and withdrawal (weeding) are the same for all materials and formats. Selection of materials is driven by customer demand in all formats for all ages. Items do not need to meet all criteria to be selected, nor does fulfilment of criteria necessarily guarantee selection.


  • Customer demand and interest
  • Critical reviews
  • Presentation and readability
  • To balance of all sides of an issue
  • Author’s reputation and significance as a writer
  • Reputation and standing of the publisher
  • Local or national significance
  • Availability of the material or information elsewhere
  • Quality of the physical format
  • Reasonable cost

In most cases, the library will not purchase or accept as gifts self-published materials that are not reviewed in established review journals.

The electronic collections available through MontanaLibrary2Go are part of a statewide consortium. These materials are selected and withdrawn by a cooperative committee, not by ImagineIF staff, and are subject to separate collection development policies and procedures. MontanaLibrary2Go is administered by Montana State Library and by two committees: an elected Executive Committee and a volunteer Selection Committee.

MontanaLibrary2Go Policies and Procedures

Withdrawal Of Materials

Staff shall review the collection on an ongoing basis with the goal of maintaining the quality and vitality of the library collections. This process of collection management incorporates continuous collection evaluation through the use of circulation reports and analysis of collection use. Worn, damaged, and dated materials shall be removed from the collection on a regular basis. Materials may also be withdrawn if they are not used or are superseded by a new edition or a more authoritative work on the same subject. Other criteria that may be applied include the changing demands of users, replacement of materials with other formats, space, and collection balance. Withdrawn materials will be disposed of in the manner deemed most appropriate for that item. Methods of disposal may include the free shelf at ImagineIF Kalispell, sale by affiliated support groups, distribution to other libraries or community service organizations, or recycling.

Special Collection

The Special Collection is established to collect, preserve, and make available for research primary and secondary archival materials relating to Flathead County. The Special Collection is a repository for materials primarily concerned with Flathead County, Montana. Less extensively collected are materials related to northwest Montana and to the State of Montana as a whole. Materials with no connection to these geographic regions may occasionally be included for their protection or preservation.

Since materials in the Special Collection are intended to provide an ever-available source of information on Flathead County, they are for use only in the library. Customers may use items from the Special Collection in any ImagineIF location. When a customer requests that an item from the Special Collection be sent to a satellite location, the item will be transported there by the library courier and will remain available for a limited number of days. Items judged to be irreplaceable or too fragile to transport may be used only at ImagineIF Kalispell.

Donation Of Library Materials

The Library Board of Trustees welcomes the generosity and thoughtfulness of the community in supplementing the library collections through monetary donations and memorials. The Board requires that all such gifts, grants, donations, devises, or bequests be accepted on its behalf by the Library Director in keeping with guidelines established by the Board.

Donated materials are accepted with the understanding that they will be handled or distributed through balancing the best interests of the library system with the intent of the donor. Most items will be given to the Friends of the Library to sell at their annual book sale. Upon request, ImagineIF Libraries will provide the donor a receipt, but will not appraise the value of donated items.

Donors of funds for the purchase of library materials are encouraged to provide some guidance in the selection of materials by specifying an appropriate broad subject area. While taking under advisement the donor request, ImagineIF Libraries reserves the right to the final decisions regarding all materials. Library materials purchased with donated funds may be designated by a bookplate or other appropriate identification.

Donated and memorial materials are subject to the same standards as the rest of the library collection. The criteria for selection and withdrawal of library materials apply to all items in the library collection, regardless of their origin. Once a gift is accepted, it becomes the property of ImagineIF Libraries, to be used or disposed of in accordance with the policies established by the Board of Trustees. All materials will be shared by the entire library system and will be made available to all borrowers, including participants in the Montana Shared Catalog Partners Resource Sharing Group.

Monetary gifts, grants, donations, and bequests shall be placed in the ImagineIF Libraries Gift and Memorial fund to be expended. If a monetary gift, donation, or bequest is substantial, and if the intended purpose allows such transfer, the Board of Trustees may consider transferring it to the ImagineIF Library Foundation for investment and management in keeping with the intent of the donor.

ImagineIF Libraries will not return unsolicited materials, nor will it be responsible for payment of costs incurred when unsolicited materials are sent. Unsolicited materials will be added to the collection or disposed of accordingly.

Holds Ratio

ImagineIF maintains a 4:1 hold ratio for books, a 5:1 ratio for audio recordings and DVDs. In rare instances, copies from other Partner Libraries are included in calculating the holds ratio. Downloadable materials on MontanaLibrary2Go are part of a state-wide consortium. The holds ratio for these items is set and overseen by an outside selection team

Complaints And Censorship

ImagineIF Libraries believes in freedom of information for all, and does not practice censorship. The selection of library materials is based on a person’s right to read, listen, and view and the freedom from censorship by others. Attempting to meet the needs and interests of a diverse population requires a wide range of materials. Inevitably, there will be something in a balanced collection that may be unacceptable or disturbing to someone.

ImagineIF Libraries holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to personally reject materials of which he or she does not approve, he or she may not exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of others.

Responsibility for materials selected and read by children and adolescents rests with their parent or legal guardians. Selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that materials may be accessible to minors. Materials are not labeled to show approval or disapproval or to indicate certain philosophies. No items are sequestered except to protect them from damage or theft.

Criticism and comment on material selected for inclusion in or exclusion from the collections is an essential right of community members and a valuable part of the ImagineIF Libraries’ selection process. This process provides an opportunity for staff members to reexamine choices and reasoning.

The Library Board of Trustees acknowledges that occasional objections to resources will be made despite the care taken and the procedures followed in their selection. The Library Board and library staff are prepared to defend the principles of freedom to read and access information. Objections to particular language or point of view of material cannot be used as justification for the exclusion of materials.

If a complaint cannot be resolved informally, the complainant will be asked to fill out and return a written and signed Citizen Comment on Library Materials Form. This form may be obtained from any ImagineIF staff member. In the absence of a fully completed form there is no formal complaint and no action will be taken. After the library director has received a fully completed written complaint, she or he shall establish a review committee to investigate the complaint. The committee’s recommendation is then presented to the Library Board of Trustees for a final decision.

Adopted: 4/09/2008

Revised: 9/22/2011

Revised: 10/22/2014

Revised: 10/25/2017

Tery Guidi, Vice-Chair
Library Board of Trustees

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