Collection Development Policy

(En Español: Política de desarrollo de colecciones)

Strong collections of books and other resources are the core of excellent library service. Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) is committed to developing a robust and diverse resource collection to best serve and inspire our public. This policy guides AACPL decisions for developing and maintaining its resource collection, focusing on the vision, purpose, and priorities defined in our service strategy.

We offer free access to resources to all members of the community of all races, ethnicities, cultures, faiths, ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and socio-economic statuses.

We make every effort to provide resources that represent a broad spectrum of knowledge, people, and opinions. We believe that free and convenient access to the world of ideas, information and the creative experience is imperative for the health and well-being of our community. We embrace the power of knowledge to change lives.

We value all the communities we serve with special consideration given to including resources representing or written by members of historically marginalized groups. Community and individual input are encouraged and used to identify unmet needs and interests. The evaluation of resources is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of our customers.

Intellectual Freedom Principles

AACPL affirms and supports its customers’ freedom and responsibility to choose library resources for use according to their needs, individual tastes, or family values. Customers apply those values to the use of library resources only for themselves and may not restrict nor interfere with other customers’ freedom to read, listen to, or view resources in any way. AACPL does not assume the parental responsibility for children’s choices of library resources.

Labels or tags are added only as viewpoint-neutral directional aids. Labels and tags are not added to resources as a value judgment or to warn of content or themes in an item. AACPL’s selection considerations align with the American Library Association’s principles articulated in the “Library Bill of Rights,” the “Freedom to Read Statement,” and the “Freedom to View Statement.”

Selection Considerations

The ultimate responsibility for resource selection rests with the Chief Executive Officer. A team of library staff apply this policy along with their professional knowledge and experience to make resource selection decisions.

AACPL adds items to its collection in a variety of formats, including physical, electronic, and streaming formats. Formats are evaluated, added, or withdrawn based on cost, market penetration, and demand by AACPL customers.

Selection of an item does not represent AACPL’s endorsement of the item’s contents. An item that meets selection considerations will not be removed from nor sequestered solely because it represents a particular opinion, belief, or philosophy.

Selection of resources is based on a variety of factors, including the following:

1. Popularity, timeliness and general interest and relevance to Anne Arundel County residents

2. Customer requests for the author, title, or subject

3. Diverse and inclusive content

4. Need to adequately cover the subject and provide representation for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and identities within the collection

5. Suitability of reading level for the intended audience

6. Authoritativeness of the writer and reputation of the publisher

7. Value for the cost of the resource

8. Appropriateness of content to the skills of the intended audience

9. Suitability of format to the content and the intended audience

10. Recommendations from book reviews, media coverage, literary or publishing awards, author’s reputation, or other trusted resources

Infrastructure constraints do not allow the purchase of all titles. AACPL uses cooperative agreements facilitated by the Maryland State Library to allow access to titles not selected by AACPL.

Withdrawal of Items

Resources are continually assessed for condition, currency, relevance, performance, and alignment with the AACPL service strategy. To maintain a relevant and up-to-date collection, library staff continually evaluate items in the resource collection and withdraw those items that no longer benefit customers. Items are withdrawn through a formal procedure approved by the Chief Executive Officer.

Reconsideration of Items

Customers may request reconsideration of a particular item’s inclusion in the collection. Reconsideration requests may be made in person or by email to any library branch manager. Reconsideration requests are administered through a formal procedure approved by the Chief Executive Officer.


Only new, curated items are added to the resource collection to maximize its value and usefulness. Previously owned or used items and unsolicited donations are not added to the collection. AACPL may contract with a vendor to recover residual value from withdrawn items through reselling or recycling. Customers may contribute gently used items to this value recovery program.

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