Books in stacks

Collection Development Policy

Service Policy: Collection Development Policy

I. Introduction

Mission Statement

The Fargo Public Library provides effective and efficient library services to meet our patrons’ personal, professional, and lifelong learning needs.

Vision Statement

The Fargo Public Library will be a model of excellence in library services and the primary place in the community for people of all ages to fulfill their informational, recreational, and lifelong learning needs.

Purpose of the Policy

The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to serve as an official statement of the Fargo Public Library’s commitment to meeting the informational and recreational needs of the community served, as well as to provide guidance to the staff of the library for meeting these needs.

Community Served

The City of Fargo is a medium sized city on a path of growth and change. This community, served by the Fargo Public Library, is becoming increasingly diverse, and the library will need to recognize this ethnic diversity and the way it will affect collection development practices. The library also serves residents of adjacent communities either through reciprocal borrowing agreements or paid registration. The library’s selection process, therefore, should be flexible and responsive in meeting the informational and recreational needs of the general public while also recognizing the needs of special population groups in the changing Fargo community.

Community Assessment

In addition to general community awareness, the library will continually use various assessment tools including surveys, customer registration data, customer requests, and information from other community groups, to best determine how to meet the information and recreational needs of the community. The library is committed to a flexible, evolving, and ongoing assessment process.

II. Responsibility for Selection

Under the terms of the North Dakota Century Code 40-38-04 and the bylaws of the Board of Directors of the Fargo Public Library, the Board is ultimately responsible for all library expenditures, approving selection policy, and setting the goals and objectives for the library and its collections. The Library Director has the responsibility of oversight and approval of all library expenditures, and thus the responsibility for selection is the Director’s. The Director may choose to delegate the actual selection and deselection of materials to qualified library employees.

III. General Selection Criteria and Tools

Statement Regarding New Collections

The Fargo Public Library continues to investigate new formats and technologies for inclusion in the library’s collections. New formats and technologies will be added to the collection based on popularity and the identification of budgetary resources.

General Selection Criteria

The general criteria listed below apply to the selection of all materials for the Fargo Public Library. Collection-specific criteria may be mentioned in their respective collection development profiles. Not all titles selected will meet all the criteria listed, but will fall into at least one of these categories:
• Public demand and interest
• Timeliness of information and/or significance of the subject
• Evaluations in professionally recognized critical review sources
• Special local interest or community relevance
• Authority and competence of the author and/or reputation and standing of the publisher
• Effective expression
• Contribution to diversity or breadth of collection
• Effectiveness and suitability of format, durability, and ease of use
• Replacement of lost copies and/or updating to current information
• Availability of information elsewhere
• Impact on materials budget
• Support of Library's mission and roles

General Selection Tools

The Fargo Public Library uses the following resources when making selection decisions: Professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers' catalogs and promotional materials, reviews from reputable sources, lists of recommended titles from professional sources, popular and news magazines, related web sites such as and sales representatives for specific materials. Purchase suggestions from customers are also an important source, and customer suggestions are added to the collection as long as they meet the stated selection criteria.

IV. General Deselection Criteria

Deselection, the systematic removal of materials from the collection, is an important component of total collection development. Ongoing reevaluation of materials is necessary in order to maintain a current, accurate and inviting collection. Deselection improves the accessibility of the remaining materials, enhances the appearance of the collection, and helps improve the overall circulation and turnover rates of materials.

Discarded materials become surplus property and may be sold by the Friends of the Library for fund raising purposes or discarded at the Library’s discretion.

The process and decision to deselect an item takes into account the same criteria used when the item was first selected for inclusion in the collection. Additionally, the following criteria should apply when evaluating the collection:

Criteria For Materials Deselection

• Frequency of circulation and/or potential use
• In-house use
• Interlibrary loan circulations
• Outdated or inaccurate information

• Subject matter no longer of current interest or historical or literary significance
• Historical importance: community or regional interest
• Availability of other materials in the field
• Physical appearance/condition relative to other factors of importance
• Multiple copies of title no longer in demand

• Worn, damaged
• Aged

Special Collections Deselection

Deselection of items from Special Collections, while occurring within the general
guidelines outlined above, also adheres to more stringent, specific criteria and


• Relevance to Collection Development Policy. Except for considerations involving redundancy and physical condition as described below, titles will be considered for deselection only if they are no longer relevant to current or anticipated needs and are not within the scope of the Collection Development Policy for Special Collections.
• Redundancy. Copies or editions of titles in Special Collections that duplicate existing holdings may be considered for deselection.
• Physical Condition. Materials may be deselected from Special Collections because of their physical condition. Great care will be exercised in assessing the physical condition of a title before any such deselection decision is made. Appropriate efforts will be made to preserve valuable titles.

V. Adult Collection Overview

The Fargo Public Library Adult Collection primarily serves the recreational and informational needs of all people in Fargo. The collection consists of fiction, genre fiction, and nonfiction works. Materials for the Adult Collection are selected and maintained using the General Selection Criteria, unless otherwise noted. In accordance with the Access to Materials Policy, the library does not deny or abridge use of materials because of an individual’s national origin, age, background, or views. Parents or guardians are responsible for materials chosen by children.

Large Print

The Large Print collection is primarily a duplication of titles already in the library in standard type. The collection consists of literature classics, popular best sellers, genre fiction, and nonfiction. Large print books are seldom reprinted, so an emphasis is placed on purchasing the most desirable titles soon after publication. Staying current with series, popular works, and titles that will appeal to an older audience is important when selecting for this collection.

World Language Collection

The Library currently maintains a growing collection of world language titles in such languages as Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Mandarin, Nepali, Somali, and Spanish. The primary intent of this collection is to meet the informational, recreational and lifelong learning needs of the greater Fargo community. The staff member(s) assigned responsibility for world language materials works closely with local ethnic organizations, community associations and other area libraries in order to keep the collection up to date and to provide quality service. Languages may be added to or dropped from the collection as community needs dictate.

Adult Literacy

The Adult Literacy collection consists of materials for basic adult education, with an emphasis on reading and writing English. Materials within the collection use simple language, but are thematically intended for adults. Where possible, media components are incorporated into the collection. Selection of new materials is limited based on the scarcity of adult education materials.

VI. Special Collections


The library maintains a Reference collection that is primarily used to answer reference questions and to serve the informational needs of our patrons. Reference materials remain in the library to be readily available to all library users. The reference collection contains standard works in areas of general reference, medical information, automotive, business, and local and regional history. Included are indexes, encyclopedias, state legal codes, biographical resources, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, and current and historic atlases. In most cases, older editions of works are removed from the collection in favor of more recent up-to-date editions.

North Dakota Collection

The North Dakota collection is a valuable source of local history for residents and non-residents of the state. The Fargo Public Library collects books pertaining to the history, economic, social and cultural life of the state of North Dakota. The main content of material contained in this collection must be focused on North Dakota. Materials that are county and city histories are a focus, particularly those which cover the eastern part of the state. Materials which deal with the region are also obtained. This includes eastern Minnesota, South Dakota and Manitoba. Works of North Dakota authors who reside in the state are also purchased. Fargo high school yearbooks are included in the collection as well. Of particular note is an archive of Fargo City Directories, which date back to the 1800s and are generally used for genealogical research.

Because of the special nature of this collection, preservation of many of the materials housed in the collection is necessary. An attempt is made to keep historical runs of directories, as opposed to the most recent edition. Deselection is conducted on a very limited and carefully planned basis, in most cases targeting duplicate materials.

VII. Periodical Collection
The Fargo Public Library first and foremost purchases and retains periodicals that satisfy the research needs, informational needs, and educational needs for the citizens of Fargo. In addition to these needs, the Fargo Public Library will also use serials acquisitions to satisfy popular and local interests.
The materials included in the Periodical Collection include periodicals in print, microform, and online databases.
The newspaper collection includes newspapers from major cities, but the primary focus is on regional newspapers. The local newspaper The Forum is available on microform from its beginnings in the late 1800s. The library maintains the North Dakota Census on microform as it enters the public domain.
The Periodical Committee is responsible for the selection of materials for the Periodical Collection. The Periodical Committee will meet once a year to discuss policy issues and acquisitions/discards for the current year. New serials will begin the following year. Ordering, maintaining, and discarding of serials is performed by the Technical Services Department.
Magazines are maintained at all library locations and designated into three different age categories: adult, teen, and children.
The majority of magazines are retained for the current and previous two years.
Selected magazines will be retained and archived for as long as possible.
Discontinued magazines will be kept until the end of the year publication stopped.

VIII. Teen Fiction Collection
The Teen Fiction collection is comprised of fiction titles and graphic novels selected specifically to meet the recreational needs of teens. The collection consists primarily of young adult novels and genre literature covering mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance.
Graphic novels are selected from the same fiction genres listed above, as well as from nonfiction works of interest to teens.
The problems, adventures and topics of interest confronting teens on a daily basis are the factors to consider when selecting titles for this collection.
Nonfiction materials appropriate for teens are interfiled within the Adult Nonfiction collection.

IX. Electronic Resources

Electronic resources are defined as subscription databases, e-books, e-magazines and other resources accessed digitally via PCs, tablets, e-readers, phones or other Internet connected devices.

The Fargo Public Library participates in resource sharing agreements with the North Dakota State Library, ODIN and the North Dakota Digital Consortium. Agreements allow the library to receive competitive pricing and divide administrative and selection responsibilities. Decisions on the acquisition of electronic resources are made in cooperation with these organizations and reflect the variety of missions and collection goals of member libraries, not exclusively the Fargo Public Library.

Electronic Resources and Databases

The Library may add electronic resources for their own use or as part of a resource sharing agreement. These are subject to the General Selection Criteria.

Electronic databases are selected in coordination with the library’s reference staff or relevant professional staff to meet general collection needs. A demonstration or trial subscription will be provided by the vendor for the staff to evaluate. Additional criteria used to evaluate electronic resources include:

• Access to multiple concurrent users
• Access to remote users
• Ease of use
• Additional functionality compared to print formats
• Access to retrospective information
• Vendor relationships, technical support and contractual concerns

E-Books and Similar formats

Electronic materials such e-books, e-videos, e-magazines, and e-audiobooks are subject the General Selection Criteria.

Additional criteria used to evaluate e-content platforms include:
• Ease of use
• Access on a variety of popular devices
• Access to multiple concurrent users when possible
• Vendor relationships, technical support and contractual concerns

Since electronic materials do not wear out or take physical shelf space, condition and usage are not considered as deselection criteria. All other deselection criteria -- such as relevance -- are considered. In the case of a resource sharing agreement, the Library may not be able to deselect all desired materials or respond to item challenges for electronic materials that are accessed as part of a resource sharing agreement.

X. Media Collection

The Media Collection consists primarily of DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks on CD. The collection is intended to fulfill both recreational and educational needs. Selection and maintenance of these materials fall under the General Selection Criteria.

Video Games

The video game collection consists of popular games for all ages with ratings from EC for Early Childhood to M for Mature. Games are purchased for a variety of popular gaming platforms.

XI. Children’s Services Collection Overview

The Fargo Public Library Children’s Services Department primarily serves the needs and interests of Fargo residents from birth through early adolescence (grade six) as well as their adult caregivers. The collection also serves teachers who work in Fargo schools, childcare providers, homeschooling families, and adults working with or interested in materials for children as well as teachers who are Fargo residents but work in outside communities. Further, the collection supports library services to this age group.

The Children’s Services collection should be balanced in accordance with the needs of each age level served and all materials selected for the collection will meet these age criteria.

While local school curricula are generally supported, textbooks and workbooks are excluded from the children’s collection except in cases when the Children’s Services staff deem materials are appropriate for the collection.

The library does not limit children to use of only materials in the children’s collection. Parents or guardians are responsible for materials chosen by children.

Children’s Fiction

The Children’s Fiction collection contains books appropriate for independent readers in second through sixth grade. Books include literary classics, award winners, historical fiction, adventure, humor, horror, sports fiction and contemporary realistic fiction. In library locations where space permits, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and graphic novels are shelved in separate sections for the browsing and reading convenience of library patrons.

Children’s Nonfiction

The Children’s Nonfiction collection contains informational books on popular subjects, as well as subject-oriented, homework-related books for children through sixth grade. The collection may contain some books written for older audiences if the subject matter is of interest to children and the book is appropriate. Materials in this collection are selected for accuracy, quality and community interest. The collection strives to cover a wide range of subjects and viewpoints.

Easy Readers

The books in the Easy Reader collection are primarily for beginning readers in kindergarten through second grade. Easy Readers generally fall into various levels based on how easy or difficult they are for children to read. The collection contains fiction and nonfiction books with illustrations, simplified and/or controlled vocabulary, large typeface and a limited number of words and lines per page.

First Chapter Books

The books in the First Chapter Book collection are primarily for newly independent readers in first through third grade. The collection contains fiction books with illustrations, controlled vocabulary, large typeface, short chapters, and fewer than 125 pages.

Picture Books

The Picture Book collection is a large, popular collection in the Children’s Services Department. Picture books combine text and illustration to tell a story. The illustrations in picture books are designed to extend and complement the text.

The Picture Book collection consists primarily of titles appropriate for children from birth through age eight.

Board Books

Board books—small, sturdy books aimed at babies and toddlers—are housed in a special board book bin in the children’s areas of the library facilities. In addition to durable cardboard pages, most board books address simple concepts, such as colors, shapes, letters and counting.

XII. Children’s Special Collections

Children’s Reference Collection

The Children’s Reference collection consists primarily of general encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, and other one-of-a-kind materials. The books in this collection may only be used in the library.

Parent/Teacher Resource Collection

This special collection contains materials for teachers, parents and childcare providers and is primarily a book collection but also contains kits. The emphasis is on providing practical, as opposed to academic or highly theoretical, materials.

Areas of emphasis include:
• Books addressing the educational needs of children; a specific emphasis is placed on collecting books addressing literacy development
• Homeschooling resources
• Books on child development and parenting
• Books addressing the recreational needs of children, providing ideas for enriching activities that children and adults can participate in together
• Bibliographic reference and readers advisory materials
• Books related to children’s literature and storytelling
• Books related to challenges and disabilities faced by children with particular emphasis on addressing those challenges in an educational or home environment
• Circulating collection of Caldecott and Newbery Award winners
• Circulating collection of Boy and Girls Scout handbooks, manuals, and field books.

Children’s World Language Collection

The Library currently maintains a growing collection of world language titles in such languages as Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Nepali, Somali, and Spanish. The primary intent of this collection is to meet the informational, recreational and lifelong learning needs of the greater Fargo community. The staff member(s) assigned responsibility for world language materials works closely with local ethnic organizations, community associations and other area libraries in order to keep the collection current and to provide quality service. Languages may be added to or dropped from the collection as community needs dictate.

XIII. Children’s Periodicals

The collection includes titles that support the recreational, informational and educational needs of children birth through grade six. Titles for early childhood and elementary teachers, homeschooling families, and parents are also included in the collection.

XIV. Children’s Online and Electronic Resource Collections
The Children’s Services Department provides librarian selected and approved online resources for children, teachers, parents, and caregivers. Internet sites, subscription databases (electronic resources), and online readers advisory collections are some examples of the online resources selected by Children’s Services staff. These online resources are available through the Fargo Public Library website. As with other library materials, restriction of a child's access to online resources, especially the Internet, is the responsibility of the parent or other care-giving adults. Parents are encouraged to work closely with their children to select material that is age-appropriate and in keeping with personal and family values.
Children’s Services staff regularly reviews selected sites. However, due to the nature of the Internet, the content or purpose of websites can change rapidly and without notice; therefore Library staff cannot be held responsible for these changes. In addition, staff recommended sites include only those sites directly linked to from the Children’s Services page.
The Fargo Public Library’s database collection includes a variety of youth-specific databases intended for use by students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

XV. Children’s Services Media Collections

Children’s Videos
Entertainment, instructional, educational and informational videos are included in this collection.
The fiction video collection primarily contains popular G-rated video titles.

The nonfiction video collection primarily contains popular educational video series.

Children’s Music

The children’s music collection includes popular and well-reviewed children’s music, sound and miscellaneous recordings.

Read-Along Kits

Read-Along kits include a sound recording paired with a picture book or easy reader packaged together in a bag. These kits are primarily for children from birth through age eight.

Children’s Audiobooks

The Audiobooks collection primarily includes unabridged children’s titles. The collection includes children’s classics, award winners and popular contemporary titles.

XVI. Children’s Kits

Story on the Go Kits

Each Story on the Go kit contains picture books and materials, such as games, videos, puppets, and/or other items centered on a specific theme or author. The age-appropriateness of each kit varies, but in general, Story on the Go kits are designed to be shared with children aged two to eight.

Topic Totes for Tots Kits

Each Topic Tote or Tots kit contains 10 picture and/or board books and an activity sheet centered on a specific theme. The age-appropriateness of each kit varies, but in general, Topic Totes for Tots kits are designed to be shared with children aged two to eight.

Ready to Go Readers Kits

Each Ready to Go Reader kit contains Easy Reader books selected for their reading level. Kits fall into one of three reading levels: Beginner, Middle or Advanced. The age-appropriateness of each kit varies, but in general, Ready to Go Readers kits are designed for children in grades kindergarten through third grade.

Book Club in a Bag Kits

Each Book Club in a Bag kit contains 10 chapter books and a set of questions that can be used in classrooms, book clubs, or for other activities. The age-appropriateness of each kit varies, but in general, Book Club in a Bag kits are designed for children in grades first through sixth grade.

XVII. Gifts and Donations

The Library welcomes book donations in two areas. First, the Library is committed to developing collections that preserve the history of Fargo and North Dakota. In addition, the Library is interested in well-developed unique collections that may be donated in their entirety.
Donations of other books or materials not meeting the above criteria may be made directly to the Friends of the Library (Tel: 701.364.2665, Email:

The Library does not provide value estimates for items donated to the collection but may give a count of items donated at the request of the donor. Donations to the Library become the property of the Library. Donations may be added to the Library’s collection, given to the Friends of the Library for resale or otherwise disposed of as the Library determines.

Monetary gifts to support the collection development efforts of the Library are always welcome and unrestricted gifts are particularly encouraged. Donors may, at their discretion, indicate that a monetary gift is to be used to further enhance and purchase materials for a particular section of the collection. Donors may be recognized with book plates or with such other recognition as the Library Director may deem appropriate.

Restricted gifts of materials, such as those that require an item be added to the collection or maintained for a certain period of time will not be accepted without the prior approval of the Library Director. Approval of restricted gifts will be granted only in exceptional circumstances.

XVIII. References

During the preparation of this document, we referred to the following libraries’ collection development and materials selection policies:

Circulating Collection Development Manual of the Hennepin County Library, 1991

Collection Development and Materials Selection Policy, Morton Grove Public Library, 1992, 1995, 2005

Collection Development Plan for the Skokie Public Library, 1990

Collection Development Policy, Vancouver Public Library, 2000

Collection Development Policy: Youth Services, Duluth Public Library, 2005

Collection Management Policy, Salem Public Library, 2005

Deselection Policy, Oberlin College Library, 2003

Evans, G. E. (1995). Developing library and information center collections. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited

Material De-Selection Policy, Hamilton Public Library, 1985

Approved by the Library Board of Directors: 10-17-2000
Revised 08-23-2005
Revised 03-16-2010
Revised 06-15-2010
Revised 08-21.2012
Revised 09-18-2012
Revised 03-19-2013
Revised 11-18-2014
Reviewed 12-21-2021