header logo

Collection Development Policy

Cranston Public Library Collection Development Policy


The Collection Development Policy offers guidance to Library staff in the selection and retention of materials for the Cranston Public Library and serves to inform the public of the Library’s principles for selection and collection maintenance. 

General Principles

The Collection Development Policy is based on the Library’s Mission and the long-established principles of the Freedom to Read Statement (opens in a new tab),  Freedom to View Statement (opens in a new tab), the Library Bill of Rights (opens in a new tab), and relevant interpretations (opens in a new tab), as adopted by the American Library Association (ALA).

Collection Objectives

The Cranston Public Library provides a contemporary, relevant collection of resources in a wide range of formats to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of its community. The Library strives to meet these needs within the limitations of space, staffing, and budget. The Library endeavors to make use of new technologies and formats to offer library users the greatest access to information and ideas.

The Library maintains a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction materials with added depth in the area of Rhode Island history. Materials and formats are not maintained past their relevance. This ensures a collection of current interest to our patrons. Textbooks and materials of a highly technical or specialized nature more appropriate for research or special libraries are generally excluded from the collection.

The Library strives to build a diverse collection that reflects our community and contains content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically represent a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences.

The Library recognizes that there are ideas, opinions, viewpoints, beliefs, and philosophies which are subject to discussion and debate and that any community will be made up of citizens with divergent viewpoints. The Library endeavors to provide access to diverse points of view within the limits of financial resources and physical space. Inclusion in the library’s collection is not an endorsement of a particular point of view or belief.

Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Director delegates the responsibility for materials selection to library staff.

General Criteria for Materials Selection

When considering materials for purchase, library staff refer to patron requests, reviews in professionally recognized publications, news media, recommended lists by professional organizations, literary awards, and the popularity of similar items. 

Certain factors influence the selection of materials for the library’s collection. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, will be reviewed in terms of the following standards:

  • Community needs and interests
  • The importance of the subject matter to the collection
  • Authoritativeness
  • Availability of the material in the Ocean State Libraries (OSL) consortium
  • Price and availability
  • Timeliness or permanence of the material
  • Favorable reviews in professionally recognized publications

Elements of the Cranston Public Library Collection

Adult Nonfiction

Adult nonfiction is selected on the basis of permanent or timely value to the community and collection, accuracy of information, authoritativeness, clear presentation and readability, and social significance.

Adult Fiction

A range of genres and literary styles, anticipated popular demand, local interest or appeal, and patron requests to purchase are the main criteria for selection of adult fiction. 


Materials in the teen collection are published for and marketed towards middle schoolers and/or high schoolers (grades 6-12, or ages 12-18). The teen collection includes fiction and popular non-fiction. Materials are selected based on anticipated popularity, patron requests, reviews, award lists, and representation within the collection. 


The collection serves the needs of young people from birth to middle school and includes materials specifically designed to help children develop a love of reading, learn to read proficiently, and complete school assignments. Selections are based on professional resources and the requests of parents, children, and teachers. The durability and cost of specific formats are also taken into consideration.


Periodicals are selected on the basis of subject coverage, usefulness, interest and readability. The objective is to maintain a broad collection of popular periodicals for the general reader.


The selection of media, such as DVDs, blu-rays, music CDs, audiobooks, video games and other formats, will follow the same general criteria as that of print materials. 

Digital Collections

The Cranston Public Library offers access to subscription databases and digital collections. The selection of digital collections will follow the same general criteria as that of our physical collections. The library also provides access to digital collections that are offered to all Rhode Island library cardholders via Ocean State Libraries (OSL) and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS). The library refers to those organizations’ collection policies for materials provided through their subscriptions.

Collections at the Branch Libraries

The branch libraries serve the needs of the neighborhoods in which they are located. Collections at the branch libraries concentrate on materials of popular interest and demand. These collections are weeded more frequently due to space constraints.

Collection Maintenance

Collection maintenance or “weeding” is part of the continuous evaluation of the library collection by the professional library staff. In order to maintain a collection that is up to date, reliable, in good condition, and relates to the needs and interests of the patrons of the Cranston Public Library, materials are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Materials are withdrawn when they are deemed to be outdated, inaccurate, seldom used, or in poor condition. 

Replacement of Materials

The library does not automatically replace items that are withdrawn from circulation due to loss, damage, or wear. Decisions will be made based on the following criteria:

  • Demand for the specific material
  • Number of copies held at the library and in the OSL consortium
  • Availability of more up-to-date materials on the subject
  • Funding

Gifts and donations

Gifts/donated materials will be added to the library collection using the same criteria used for purchasing materials. All donations become the property of the library and cannot be returned. Gifts/donated material may be added to the library collection, sold for the benefit of the library or disposed of in a manner appropriate to their condition and usefulness. See the Cranston Public Library Donations Policy for further information.

Local authors, self-published authors, unsolicited materials

Materials submitted by local authors, self-published authors, and unsolicited materials from publishers will be considered for inclusion in the library collection using the General Criteria for Materials Selection.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

The choice of library materials by patrons is an individual matter.  The library recognizes that some materials may be controversial or offensive to an individual, but maintains that individuals can apply their values only to themselves. Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility and right to guide the values of their children. As such, parents and legal guardians are responsible for the materials that their children borrow and should make decisions accordingly. 

The Cranston Public Library supports intellectual freedom and the right of library users to read and seek information. The Library endorses the American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read Statement (opens in a new tab), Freedom to View Statement (opens in a new tab), the Library Bill of Rights (opens in a new tab) and all relevant interpretations (opens in a new tab)

Cranston residents requesting reconsideration of library materials must complete the Cranston Public Library Request for Reconsideration form in its entirety.  Only signed, completed forms will be considered. The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of the form within fifteen business days. 

The relevant library staff will review the material to ascertain whether it meets the standards set forth in the library’s Collection Development Policy, and will make a written recommendation to the Library Director as to the validity of the request. During this process the material in question will remain on the shelf and available for circulation. The Library Director will respond to the request for reconsideration within thirty days. This timeline allows the library staff to evaluate an item in its entirety rather than focusing on portions of the content.

The Library Director, after reviewing the recommendation, will render a decision on the requested action and will notify the patron of said decision. A final appeal may be made to the Library Board of Trustees.  

  • Decisions regarding materials that are part of a series may be applied to the entire series.
  • The library does not accept lists of items for reconsideration. Each item must be accompanied with an individually completed reconsideration form.
  • A title will only be considered for reconsideration once in a thirty-six month period. 

A copy of the request form without identifying patron information will be sent to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) Intellectual Freedom Committee. The request form in its entirety may be publically available per RIGL 38-2(opens in a new tab)

Download the Request for Reconsideration form here

Approved by the Cranston Public Library Board of Trustees 1/13/2016
Revised by the Cranston Public Library Board of Trustees 12/8/2021
Revised by the Cranston Public Library Board of Trustees 7/13/2022
Revised by the Cranston Public Library Board of Trustees 3/8/2023
Revised by the Cranston Public Library Board of Trustees 11/8/2023


Get the latest about library events, new programs and services and other library news delivered to your inbox.

Get the Library App

Take the library with you when you're on the go! Download the Ocean State Libraries app. Search the catalog and reserve items, manage checkouts and holds, view events, access learning tools and much more!

Download on:

  • iOS
  • Android

Contact Us

If you need help or have a question or suggestion, we want to hear from you. You can reach the library staff by email or phone during open hours.

Contact Us