Collection Development Policy


Sacramento Public Library provides ideas, information, and resources to help our community discover, learn, and grow. The Sacramento Public Library’s Collection Development Policy supports the direction, goals, and objectives of the Library as a whole. The collection development policy helps library staff meet collection goals as they relate to the mission of the library, informs the community about the principles by which materials are selected for inclusion, and guides how we spend our collection funds.

The library selects materials in a variety of formats and languages that best serve the needs of the community. Selections are made by library staff to provide a broad and relevant collection, while being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars. The greatest value is received by focusing on the most popular and wide-spread formats and by not duplicating the comprehensive collection efforts of college and research institutions. Material selection is based on awareness of community interests and concerns, national and international issues and events, publishing trends, new insights, societal trends, and the professional judgment of staff regarding the material’s value to the Library’s collection. It is the Library’s intention that the collection addresses the needs and interests of its communities and, as much as possible, reflects the diversity of the entire Sacramento Public Library service area.

In order to enhance the collection, Sacramento Public Library participates in regional, state and national cooperative networks and facilitates interlibrary loans to obtain items for users the library does not own or cannot purchase.  

Central Library
The Central Library serves as a central resource and collects current, contemporary materials as well as houses a larger collection of backlist titles of fiction, non-fiction, and audiovisual items. It also aims to collect older non-fiction and single copies of titles that are no longer in high demand. It also houses some specialty collections such as Genealogy, etc.

The Sacramento Room is dedicated to promoting an appreciation and understanding of the history of Sacramento by collecting, preserving, and providing access to special collections relating to the diverse history of the area. The Sacramento Room Collection Development Policy is supplemental to the general library collection development policy.

Library Branches
The emphasis of branch library locations is on collecting current, timely materials to satisfy popular demand to serve the day-to-day needs of typical library users rather than creating comprehensive collections intended for in-depth research. Some locations may have small, specialized research collections.


The Library will uphold the freedom to read as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association (Attachments A-C). While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted. The Library does not stand in loco parentis (in the place of parents). Parents and guardians, not the Library or staff, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing choices of their own minor children.

Responsibility for Selection

The responsibility for the selection of library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director. Under the Director’s guidance, the professional staff has responsibility for the selection of materials. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to recommend resources for consideration. The library collection shall be an unbiased and diverse source of information, representing as many viewpoints as possible.

Selection Criteria
The Sacramento Public Library selects materials for all ages and relies extensively on professional review sources. Material is not excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political and social views of the author. Inclusion of materials does not imply agreement with or endorsement of content.

A. General criteria for selecting print material include, but are not limited to:

  • Patron interest and demand
  • Historical significance of author or subject
  • Timeliness of material
  • Local emphasis and connection to the Sacramento Region
  • Authority, accuracy, and factualness
  • Format appropriate for circulation
  • Literary acclaim
  • Diversity of viewpoint
  • Cultural influence
B. Community Languages
The Library collects recreational and informational material in languages other than English for adults and juveniles to meet the needs of a diverse population, focusing on languages that are actively used and can be purchased, cataloged, and accessed accordingly. The Library may choose to prioritize acquiring materials in languages for which there is a higher demand or unrepresented groups.

C. Patron Driven Acquisitions
Sacramento Public Library welcomes suggestions from the community for possible purchases of resources. All suggestions are given consideration using the same criteria as all other materials purchased for the Library.
D. Local Authors and Self-Publishing
Local Authors
Authors who live within the boundaries of Sacramento County may donate one copy of their book to be considered for inclusion in the Local Author collection at the Central Library. These donations will be given consideration for addition based on selection criteria used for other resources but no guarantee is made they will be included.
The Sacramento Public Library does not purchase unsolicited materials or act in lieu of professional review sources. The Library accepts donated copies of self-published books but does not guarantee inclusion in the collection. Items donated to the Library become the property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donating party. Donated titles are subject to library policies regarding deselecting due to condition, lack of use, or space constraints.

E. DVD Collection Guidelines
The Sacramento Public Library maintains a broad selection of entertainment, informational and instructional DVDs. The emphasis is on popular materials and is balanced with classic films, independent films, foreign films, and documentaries.

Selection Criteria
The general criteria for selecting DVDs include, but are not limited to:
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Authority, accuracy, and factualness
  • Age of production and timeliness
  • Awards and critical acclaim
  • Broad community appeal and popularity
  • Cultural influence
  • Technical quality of production
  • Artistic distinction
  • Diversity of viewpoint

Film and television series are collected based on feasibility of the cost of the entire series, broad community appeal and currency. It is not always possible to replace individual seasons of titles. Titles suggested by patrons are evaluated based on the above selection criteria.

G. Video Games
The Sacramento Public Library maintains a broad selection of video games for a number of video gaming platforms.

Selection Criteria
The general criteria for selecting video games include, but are not limited to:

  • Budgetary constraints
  • Broad community appeal and popularity
  • Awards and critical acclaim
  • Format appropriate for circulation
  • Cultural influence
  • Currency or obsolescence of the gaming platform or technology
The Library does not restrict the purchase or circulation of video games based on ESRB Game Ratings, but strongly suggests parents and guardians be aware of the content of the video games checked out by their child.

H. Criteria for the Selection of Digital Resources
Digital resources, including ebooks, eaudiobooks, streaming video and audio, government documents, databases, vendor curated databases, and virtual tutorials and language are subject to the same general selection criteria as other materials. Vendor curated databases may contain material that falls outside of Sacramento Public Library’s selection criteria.

The Library’s customer base includes a segment that is exclusively virtual. Digital resources extend the reach of the Library because they are available remotely, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The digital landscape is an area of rapid growth and development, and the Sacramento Public Library strives for a collection that is as diverse and encompassing as the physical collection. Additional selection criteria for digital resources include accessibility and compatibility; for example, universality of format and compatibility with current digital platforms.

I. Specialty Collections
The Library collects and circulates a variety of objects of everyday use (realia) and specialty items (such as tools and devices).

Selection Criteria
The general criteria for selecting resources includes but are not limited to:
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Broad community appeal and popularity
  • Safety concerns
  • Ease of use or transport
J. Gifts - Donation of Books Policy
The Sacramento Public Library accepts donations of books and other material in good condition. Items donated to the library for addition to the collection must be reviewed by Library staff and become the property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donating party. Some items may be added to the collection or passed along to the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library or other partner agencies to generate funds for the library. Donations of items for the Sacramento Public Library are accepted at all locations and an acknowledgement form is provided upon request.

Because of limitations of space, money and staff, the library does reserve the right to accept or discard, at its discretion, any new or previously used donated materials.

Deselection of material from the circulating collections is a vital part of successful collection maintenance. Continuous evaluation is necessary and materials are regularly removed to maintain a current, accurate, and appealing collection and to facilitate its ease of use. An item may be deselected for several reasons, including:
  • Out-of-date information
  • Wear or damage
  • Item no longer responds to current needs or interests
  • Materials in the format are no longer collected
At the discretion of the Library Deselected items may be given to the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library or other partner agencies to sell or may be recycled.

The Library reserves the right to deselect, reclassify, or weed collection materials that may fit one or more collection criteria in service to creating and maintaining a collection that is welcoming and relevant to all communities the library serves, especially those that are underserved or historically underrepresented.

Individual items, which in and of themselves may be controversial or offensive to some, may be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints in the collection as a whole and the effectiveness of the Library’s ability to serve its community. Individual authors and creators of works may also be controversial due to their viewpoints or personal actions. Their works may also be included if the work will contribute to the library collection. Their works will not be removed solely for the history or situation of the author/creator.

Misinformation and the Library Collections
For the purposes of evaluating informational material, the Library draws a distinction between material that may cause controversy or objection, and material that contains misinformation. While potential controversy does not disqualify material from the Library’s collection, material that purports to be factual and/or authoritative but contains inaccurate or misleading information does not meet the Library’s standard for selection, and may be deselected, reclassified, or weeded at Library staff’s discretion.

This distinction is addressed in the selection criteria for the Library’s collections, including but not limited to:
• Authority and Accuracy Content authority and accuracy can be evaluated through the expertise of the material’s creator(s), corroborating sources, independent fact checking and analysis, and professional and industry review. Opinions, commentaries, and analyses are not necessarily subject to this evaluation, unless they are unambiguously presented as fact.
  • Timeliness of Material Some informational subjects may require only the most up-to-date materials in order to provide factual information, while other subjects may contain or rely on older materials in order to provide context, history, and depth of coverage.
  • Diversity of Viewpoint The Library is not obligated to balance every informational material in the collection with one of an opposing viewpoint, or to add misinformation to Library collections solely because it represents an additional viewpoint. •
  • Cultural Influence Relation to current events does not outweigh the Library’s commitment to the authority and accuracy of informational material in its collection. The Library can facilitate access to material of cultural importance that may contain misinformation through other means, including but not limited to interlibrary loan, internet access, and reference services.
Persons raising concerns about a book or other material in the Library collection will be offered the Request for Reconsideration of Library Resource form and asked to provide a written explanation of their objections, citing specifics from the material in question. Library staff will respond to the request in accordance with the Reconsideration of Materials Procedure. Only persons who live within the Sacramento Public Library service are permitted to request a resource be reconsidered. Once an item has undergone the reconsideration process, it cannot be reconsidered by the Library (regardless of who requests the reconsideration) for five (5) years.

Policy History
February 2023 – Revised

Reconsideration of Materials

Attachment A: Library Bill of Rights
Attachment B: The Freedom to Read Statement
Attachment C: The Freedom to View Statement