Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

Mitchell Public Library enriches and transforms lives by connecting people to quality
information and engaging experiences.


The primary way the library fulfills its mission is through its carefully selected and managed print and online collections. These collections are a major asset and are the library’s most-used resource. Library staff members thoughtfully select, acquire, organize, maintain, and provide access to these varied materials that address cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs and interests of a diverse community.

Collection management embraces the principles of intellectual freedom, the right to read, and equal access for all. The library strives to include a variety of viewpoints across a broad spectrum of opinion and subject matter, in formats suitable to a variety of learning and recreational interests and skill levels. Using selection practices that are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community, the library builds and maintains collections for the general public, while recognizing the needs of special populations and strategically targeted groups. As these needs evolve and change, the collection will also evolve and change.

Community of Mitchell and Davison County

The Mitchell Public Library serves not only the city of Mitchell, but also the citizens of Davison County. The population of Mitchell, South Dakota is approximately 15,660. The total population of Davison County is approximately 19,975. The three communities located in Davison County are Mitchell, Ethan, and Mt. Vernon. The main industries are agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. The population is predominately white—92.3%. 4.3% of the population is Hispanic. 3.4% of the population is Native American and the remainder of the population is Black, Asian, mixed race and Native Hawaiian. 89.9% of the population of Davison County has a high school education while 22.8% of the population have a bachelor's degree or higher. The median income per household is $50,900. The figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s QuickFacts website and are current as of 2022.

Purpose of the policy

This policy provides structure and guidance for effective management of all aspects of a library’s collection. The policy establishes guidelines for the acquisition and management of information and services for the benefit of library customers. The purposes of this policy are

  • to guide the library staff in the selection and management of materials.
  • to inform the public about the principles upon which library materials are selected and managed.


Final authority for the determination of the Collection Development Policy lies with the Mitchell Public Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director. The Library Director may delegate to other qualified staff the authority to interpret and guide the application of the policy in making day-to-day decisions. Unusual issues are referred to the Library Director and the Board of Trustees.

Intellectual Freedom Standards

Widely diverse points of view, including controversial and unorthodox subjects, will be available in the library’s collection. The library recognizes that some materials or content may be considered controversial or offensive. Inclusion in the collection does not imply library approval or agreement with the contents. The library’s role is to provide materials which allow individuals to freely examine topics and make their own decisions. While customers are free to reject for themselves materials they do not approve of, they may not restrict the freedom of access to others. 

Library staff will assist families to identify appropriate materials based on their individual preferences and views. Parents and guardians are responsible for deciding what library items are appropriate for their children. The reading, viewing, and listening activities of minors are the responsibility of their parents, who guide and oversee their own child’s development. The library encourages parents to help their children choose items that match their own family’s values. Mitchell Public Library does not intend to intrude in that relationship.

The Mitchell Public Library Board of Trustees adopts as part of its policy the following American Library Association documents: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, the Freedom to View Statement, and Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors. Furthermore, the Library complies with South Dakota Codified Law regarding library materials.

Scope of the Mitchell Public Library Collection

The scope of the library’s collection is varied to address a population diverse in socio-economic position, educational attainment, interests, and that is becoming more diverse in ethnicity. As the communities in Davison County change, the scope of the collection will change to meet new or different community needs and interests.

Library collections will maintain materials on many topics and viewpoints; will include different formats, diverse in languages and reading level; and will keep materials that have historical, cultural, or archival significance.

Selection of Materials

Customer demand and interest, both expressed and anticipated, is the main driving force in the selection of materials and formats. Any Mitchell or Davison County resident may request resources for selection. Materials are also selected to ensure that the collection as a whole contains materials on many different topics, provides a choice of materials or formats on a particular subject, and assures that multiple viewpoints are expressed.

Library staff use a set of criteria to guide selection decisions. Not all criteria need apply to each selection decision.

General Criteria

  • Customer requests / potential appeal to a wider audience
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Format options
  • Physical design is suitable for library use
  • Subject and style is suitable for intended audience
  • Publicity, critiques, awards, and reviews
  • Price of material
  • Relevance to current trends and events
  • Relation to the existing collection

Content Criteria

  • Competence, reputation and qualifications of author, illustrator and/or publisher
  • Consideration of the work as a whole
  • Currency of information
  • Objectivity and clarity
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Represents a diverse point of view
  • Representative of subjects, genres, or trends of lasting interest
  • Sustained interest or demand
  • Usefulness of the information
  • Relevance to local, regional, or state history

Digital Library Criteria (additional to General and Content)

  • Ease of access and use
  • Hardware and software requirements, including maintenance
  • Quality
  • Availability to concurrent users
  • Remote access
  • Technical and support requirements
  • Vendor data privacy practices

Gifts and Donations

Mitchell Public Library is grateful for gifts and donations, and its collection is enriched by contributions from individuals and organizations. The generosity and cooperation expressed by these gifts is appreciated. Unconditional gifts, donations and contributions to the library may be accepted by the Director of behalf of the Mitchell Public Library Board of Trustees. No gifts or donations conditionally made will be accepted without the approval of the Library Board.

The library accepts materials in good condition that fit within the scope of the collection. The same criteria used when selecting new materials for purchase will govern the acceptance of gifts by the library. In accepting any gift, the library reserves the right to decide whether a book or other gift will be added to its collection. If donated material is useful but not needed, it may be disposed of at the discretion of the Director or placed in the book sale. Often, items contributed to the library cannot be used to fullest advantage because the materials are

  • a duplicate of an item the library already owns.
  • outdated, but not of historic value.
  • in poor physical condition.
  • outside the scope of the library’s collection.

Generally, the library does not accept donations of materials with restrictions or requests that require special housing, or which prevent the addition of the gift into the general library collection.

Collection Maintenance

An attractive, timely, and useful collection is maintained through a continual weeding, withdrawal, and replacement process. The Mitchell Public Library continually evaluates its collection to keep it current. The Mitchell Public Library uses the CREW method (Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding) for this purpose. The benefits of collection maintenance include more shelf space, time saved in looking for materials, identifying items that require mending, a more appealing collection, and an enhanced reputation for the library in having a current collection. The Adult Services Librarian is responsible for evaluating and weeding the adult collection. The Adult Services Librarian is responsible for evaluating and weeding the young adult collection. The Children's Librarian is responsible for evaluating and weeding the children's collection. Fiction items that are weeded from the collection are sent to the book sale. Non-fiction items, depending on content, may be sent to the book sale, or disposed of through other methods.


In general, the library puts minimal effort in repairing library materials. Minor repairs will be made if popularity warrants.


Withdrawn, lost, or damaged materials are not automatically replaced. Replacement of such materials depends upon several factors including, but not limited to:

  • current demand.
  • usefulness or accuracy of the publication.
  • more recent acquisitions.
  • number of holdings in the subject area.
  • availability of newer editions.

Expressions of Concern about Library Resources

Residents of the Library’s service area and non-resident cardholders have the right to challenge any resource in Mitchell Public Library’s collection. Persons seeking reconsideration of library materials must complete a written “Statement of Concern” for each title being challenged. Single forms addressing multiple titles will be discarded.  

  • The Library Director or designee will evaluate the material, with consideration to the above selection criteria, journal reviews, community demand, the library’s mission, and other resources. 
  • The Library Director will issue a written response to the customer explaining the library’s decision. 
  • If the individual is not satisfied with the decision, a written appeal may be submitted within ten business days to the Library Board of Trustees. 
  • The Library Board will notify the individual of when the Board will address the appeal.
  • The decision of the Library Board is final.

Material under review will remain in circulation until a determination is made. If the challenged material is retained, Mitchell Public Library will not perform any reconsideration evaluation of the same material for a period of five years. A decision to sustain a challenge shall not be interpreted as a judgment of irresponsibility on the part of the professionals involved in the original selection or use of the material.