Deerfield Public Library Collection Development Policy


As a source of open access to the world of information and ideas, the Deerfield Public Library collects, organizes, and lends print and non-print materials as well as electronic resources that encourage lifelong learning and personal growth. The materials collection is a major asset of the Deerfield Public Library. Within budget, the Library provides a general collection of reliable materials that includes both basic works of permanent value and materials of current interest. The selection of library materials and electronic resources is based on the needs of all residents and reflects the Library’s core role as a popular materials library for all ages. Materials are selected on the basis of the content and quality of the work as a whole. The Library seeks to maintain the democratic principles expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements (See Appendix I).

The Library Board delegates responsibility for selection of the Library’s collection to the Library Director. Under the guidance of the Library Director, Library staff members with at least a Masters’ level education in Library Science or equivalent experience select new materials and make decisions regarding material retention in accordance with the following policy.

Materials Selection

The Deerfield Public Library collects materials in a variety of formats (print, audiovisual, physical and digital)  which are of permanent value, of contemporary significance, or of special interest to the community.

Selection is a critical and interpretive process. Professional or otherwise credentialed reviews are the principal tool used in the selection of library materials. Staff members selecting library materials are also assisted by bibliographic review publications, authoritative discussions of the subject, publisher and vendor advertising and demonstrations, and requests of Library patrons.

In selecting materials for the Deerfield Public Library, the following criteria will be used as they apply:

  1. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  2. Artistic presentation
  3. Relevance to current and anticipated community needs, as well as long-term significance or interest
  4. Authority, competence, reputation, and purpose of the author and/or publisher
  5. Currency and accuracy of the information
  6. Local significance of the author or topic
  7. The work’s reflection of diverse viewpoints.  
  8. The cost of the item.

The Library seeks to meet the needs of the total community, recognizing that some materials may be considered controversial to some patrons. It is the responsibility of individual library users to choose materials which suit their tastes and needs. Therefore, the Library’s collection will represent the broad scope of materials available. Selection of materials for adults will not be inhibited by the possibility that such materials may be accessible to minors. Decisions relating to a minor’s choice of materials are ultimately the responsibility of the minor’s parent or legal guardian. 


In cases where there is sufficient community interest or item availability, designated selectors may purchase replacement copies of lost, worn, or damaged items. A replacement copy will contain the same intellectual content but may not be the same edition or format as the original.

Gifts and Donations

Gifts to the collection can be made in the form of money or actual materials. Gifts of books and other materials may be accepted by the Library with the understanding that they will be considered for addition to the collection in accordance with the Materials Selection section of this policy. Donations must be outright and unconditional. Gift plates and letters of acknowledgement are appropriate stipulations by a donor, but other requirements may not be honored. All gifts that become part of the general collection are subject to the Materials Retention section of this policy, and the designated selectors will determine appropriate circulation procedures. The Library reserves the right to sell or otherwise dispose of gift materials not added to the collection.

Reconsideration of Materials

The selection of materials is predicated on the Library user’s right to access materials and the Library user’s freedom from censorship by others. Selections are made based on the merits of the work in relation to the fulfillment of the Library mission and the materials selection portion of this policy. The addition of an item to the collection in no way represents an endorsement by the Library of any theory, idea, or policy contained in it.

The Library recognizes that some materials address issues that some individuals may find controversial. No item, however, will be removed from the collection for the sole reason that the philosophy, perspective, ideas, or view contained in the item is opposed by the individual requesting reconsideration.

A Deerfield Public Library cardholder may request reconsideration of any material as follows:

  • Discussion with the manager of the department in which the material is located
  • If not satisfied, discussion with the Library Director, and,
  • If not satisfied, completion of a Request for Reconsideration which will be given to the Library Board of Trustees (see Appendix II for form)

The Board of Trustees will make a ruling on whether the material in question will be retained, relocated, or removed and the patron requesting reconsideration will be notified as to the decision within a reasonable amount of time. The material in question will remain in the collection pending the decision of the Library Board of Trustees.

Retention of Collections

In order to retain relevant and reliable collections, in the space available, librarians must regularly evaluate and withdraw materials. Materials are withdrawn when they are no longer of value to the community using criteria that include, but are not limited to, lack of interest, poor condition, unnecessary duplication, or inaccurate or outdated information. Withdrawn materials are saved for Friends or Library book sales, donated to other institutions, or discarded. The Library does not make arrangements to sell or give withdrawn materials directly to specific patrons.

Adopted April 14, 2010

Local History Collection

The Local History Collection is a non-circulating specialized collection that aims to preserve materials that document the history of Deerfield and make materials available to researchers and the general public both at the library and online. The major emphasis of the collection is information pertaining to Deerfield, with a secondary emphasis on the surrounding areas, including Bannockburn and Riverwoods as well as Lake County in general. 

Works are collected if they are relevant to the history and culture of Deerfield and/or the surrounding areas, and may include both print and electronic formats. Resources include high school yearbooks, telephone directories, published books, and unpublished manuscripts, newspaper archives, and primary source materials. These items are preserved by various methods as necessary. Preservation methods are determined by the staff member in charge of the collection.

Items and papers originally owned and used by local residents will be considered for the collection if the items contain local information that is otherwise unavailable or hold great historical significance to the community. Donors to the collection are required to sign a Gift Agreement with the Library (see Appendix).

Items in the Local History Collection are withdrawn based on the guidelines in the Gift Agreement, if there are multiple copies, or the condition is so poor that repairing is not cost-effective.

Local Authors’ Works

Local authors are defined as writers who currently reside or have spent a significant part of their lives in Deerfield or the adjacent towns. Pending evaluation, the Library may accept one donated copy of a local author’s work and place it in the Local Author section if it is an Adult book or in the appropriate Youth or Teen collection, if it is a Youth or Teen book. All donated works are subject to the same criteria for removal as other materials. Items requested by the author to be purchased by the Library are subject to the same collection development criteria as any other work. If an item is considered relevant to local history, it may be placed with the Local History Collection instead of the Local Author Collection.

Self-Published Titles

Self-published titles that are not included in the Local Author or Local History categories are held to the same criteria as any other work the Library evaluates for the collection.

Adopted April 2015

Appendix I: Library Bill of Rights, and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements

Appendix II: Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form


Revised: November 20, 2019