Collection Development Policy


Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) is dedicated to ensuring access to resources for its diverse community, adhering to the principles of intellectual freedom, with a commitment to maintaining relevant physical and digital collections.


SCCLD serves a diverse population in a region that offers a wide range of business, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for its residents. As expressed in our Vision Statement, SCCLD will work to create a world in which access to knowledge, resources, and opportunities is guaranteed to all. We will aspire to provide a collection of circulating materials embracing broad areas of knowledge and genres to create a community in which all belong, connect, and discover.

SCCLD is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated by the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement, opens a new window, the Freedom to View Statement, opens a new window, and the Library Bill of Rights, opens a new window. As such, materials representing diverse viewpoints are actively collected by professional librarians who regularly evaluate SCCLD’s collection to ensure its relevance to the local communities.


The decision on whether to purchase materials is professional in nature and is based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. CA Education Code, section 19146, opens a new window states that the ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the County Librarian, who in turn entrusts this task to select professional librarians.

All SCCLD materials are part of one collection, which is physically distributed among all SCCLD libraries and bookmobiles, or accessible electronically via SCCLD’s website. Selections are made to provide a broad, popular, and relevant collection. Owing to budgetary and space constraints, SCCLD is unable to
maintain a collection used for academic research or the pursuit of specialized or professional interests. Selection of materials does not constitute endorsement of the material's content, or the views expressed.

The general criteria listed below apply to the selection of all materials for SCCLD. Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage. No materials that meet the selection criteria will be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to its creation. Factors considered when adding specific material to SCCLD’s collection include the following:

  • Current and potential relevance to community needs
  • Local demand, interest, timeliness, or significance
  • Reviews in professionally recognized sources
  • Cost, availability, and impact on materials budget
  • Contribution to diversity, depth, or breadth of collection
  • Creative, literary, or technical quality
  • Suitability of format for Library circulation and use
  • Availability of information in other formats or platforms
  • Support of the Library's mission

All materials held by SCCLD will be divided into one or more collections separated broadly by age, Children (0-12), Teens (13-18), and Adults (18+). Determining which collection an item belongs to is the responsibility of the designated Library Services Manager, with input from the Collections Department and Supervising Librarians.

If an item is not included in SCCLD’s collection, it may be available to borrow from another library system through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) process.

All staff members and the public may suggest for purchase any materials not in the collection. If suggestions do not meet the selection criteria above, they will not be added to the SCCLD’s collection.


Designated SCCLD librarians are responsible for regular evaluation of collections in their libraries.

Materials that are determined to no longer be accurate, of sufficient circulation or use, in good condition, or useful will be withdrawn to maintain the relevancy of the collection as a whole. Each title must be evaluated on its own merits and its relation to other items in the collection. De-selection decisions ultimately depend upon the professional judgments of designated library staff. Older formats will be removed from the collection as the devices needed to make use of them obsolesce. Items with local historical value do not follow this de-selection process.

Disposal of De-Selected Materials

In accordance with the County of Santa Clara Ordinance Code, Sec. A 34-90, opens a new window, discarded items may be given to the local Friends of the Library, redistributed to other County or non-profit entities, or discarded. Items may not be given directly to staff or members of the public for personal use.

Databases & Electronic Resources

Electronic materials have increased in popularity and play an important role in rounding out the Library’s collection, especially in terms of accessibility. These materials include databases, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and downloadable and streaming media. In addition to standard selection criteria, special selection criteria for electronic materials include ease of use, uniqueness of content, technology requirements, vendor reputation and customer service, availability for remote access, and cost. Databases and Electronic Resources, like physical resources, will be reviewed regularly for possible de-selection if they no longer fit SCCLD’s criteria for inclusion.

Materials Reconsideration Process

Librarians should have a dialogue with any patrons who have expressed a concern about library materials. If after that initial discussion the patron would like additional dialogue, they should be referred to Supervising Librarians, Community Librarians or Library Services Managers. If the patron wishes to
discuss further, they may contact the County Librarian, who will review the concern and respond.

Gifts and Donations

SCCLD appreciates gifts of materials or money donated for the purchase of materials. The library reserves the right to accept or refuse conditions placed upon any gift, subject to any legal requirements or limitations. Gifts of materials are given to the local Friends of the Library, to be resold or disposed of. Gifts of materials are not entered into the collection unless specifically stated. Gifts of money are entered into that library’s collection budget.

Local Authors

Authors and creators who live within SCCLD’s service area, or whose works are based in SCCLD’s service area, may donate one copy of their material for possible inclusion in the library’s collection.

SCCLD will review the donated copy and will evaluate for possible inclusion in the collection. Once donated, items become the property of SCCLD and will not be returned. Items not included will be repurposed in accordance with our gift policy.


"The Freedom to Read Statement", American Library Association, July 26, 2006., opens a new window (Accessed May 4, 2023)
Document ID: aaac95d4-2988-0024-6573-10a5ce6b21b2

"Freedom to View Statement", American Library Association, May 29, 2007., opens a new window (Accessed August 22, 2023)
Document ID: 95444382-9c6c-e904-0962-be3aa96cdb5a

"Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, June 30, 2006., opens a new window (Accessed May 4, 2023)
Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952

"Santa Clara County," County Ordinance Code, September 7, 2023., opens a new window (Accessed 10/6/2023).


Approved by the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority Board October 26, 2023.

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