Collection Development Policy

View full policy document, including appendices on the attached PDF. 


Wicomico Public Libraries serve all those who live, work or attend school in Wicomico County. One of the foundations of Wicomico Public Libraries is its collection of materials and resources. Wicomico Public Libraries are a member of the Lower Shore Library Consortium (Dorchester County, Somerset County, Worcester County, Wicomico County, and the Eastern Shore Regional Library). This membership provides access to a shared materials catalog and a shared collection.

Communities Served

Wicomico County is a mix of rural and urban communities located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wicomico County has a population of 98,733. The County has a strong urban core, located in the city of Salisbury. The remaining towns and communities are primarily rural, with some suburban areas located in Hebron to the west, Pittsville to the east, and Fruitland to the south.

Wicomico Public Libraries have three locations. The largest or main library is located in Downtown Salisbury. This 50,000 sq. ft. building houses the administrative and processing functions as well as a large public service area. It is the largest library on Maryland’s eastern shore.

The Centre Branch is located in the Centre at Salisbury mall. This 2400 sq. ft. branch serves as a boutique library, carrying the newest titles and focusing on supporting technology and digital services.

The Pittsville Branch is located on the grounds of the Pittsville Elementary and Middle School and is a pure community library. Its collection and programs reflect the variety of interests for those living in this small community.

The Bookmobile provides collection and resource support for most of the local elementary schools, including all Title I schools. Additionally, it stops at local child care and adult care centers as well as several community and business stops. It accounts for nearly 15% of all items loaned and is a source of informational and recreational reading for many in the outlying areas of the County.


21% of Wicomico County’s population is under 18 years of age. 85% have at least a high school diploma, and the median household income is $51,092. Approximately 17% of the County population lives below the poverty level, which contrasts with the 10% statewide. 63% of school children receive free or reduced school meals. There is a strong African- American community represented by nearly 25% of the population. A growing Korean community has sprung up as well as an under-represented Haitian sector. Approximately 10% of the population speaks a language other than English in their home.


The purpose of a collection development policy is to assure that the collection of a library always supports its mission.

It is the mission of Wicomico Public Library to serve the people of Wicomico County by supporting education, enriching lives, and building community.

Purpose - a Collection Development Policy should:

  • Provide a framework of criteria for the selection, maintenance and de-selection of items.
  • provide guidelines for receiving gifts to the collection
  • reaffirm the Library’s commitment to the Library Bill of Right, Freedom To Read Statement, and Freedom to View Statements

The goal of the Collection Development Policy is to provide a standard to assist selectors in maintaining a balanced collection.

Selection Philosophy Maintaining a Balanced Collection

The Library endeavors to provide information covering a range of opinions on many subject areas. A balanced collection provides information in a variety of formats and reflects the interests, ideals and needs of the community and also allows for discovery, exploration and enlightenment. In order to achieve a balanced collection, selectors need to exercise open-mindedness, flexibility and promptness when evaluating materials for inclusion into the collection. Library visitors can make selections of material to borrow for themselves (or their children) based on their individual preferences.

Selection Reconsideration Responsibilities

Wicomico Public Libraries provide access to a wide range of materials which are selected and displayed in accordance with policies established by the Board of Trustees. The public is welcome to review these policies. Individuals who have concerns regarding specific materials may express that concern through a Request for Reconsideration Form. (See Appendix)

Final responsibility for selection lies with the Library’s Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees, however, delegates to the Executive Director the authority to interpret and guide the application of the policy in making day-to-day selections. The Executive Director will authorize other staff to apply this policy to resource selection. Suggestions of materials from the public are always welcome.

Selection Sources

Wicomico Public Libraries uses standard library suppliers, online selection and ordering tools. In addition to requests by library members; selectors’ sources include: (but are not limited to) publisher’s catalogs, online resources such as, professional journals, published reviews, national best seller lists, and other available sources used for special requests.

Selection Criteria

Librarians and library staff members use their subject knowledge and expertise in combination with the standards listed below to select and evaluate collection items. An item need not meet all criteria to be selected.


  • Suitability of purpose to meet the demand and interests of the Wicomico County community
  • Extent to which the item supplements, expands on or supports the existing collection Contemporary significance or permanent value
  • Accuracy
  • Reputation and authority of author, editor or illustrator Literary merit
  • Cost relative to the value that the item contributes to the collection Space needed for item display
  • Format and ease of use Relationship to existing resources

Collection Limits

Wicomico Public Libraries do not purchase textbooks, workbooks, or other academically focused works, with the exception of a test preparation series. All items need to fit in standard library collection space and stand up to normal library wear and tear.

Scope of the Collection


Wicomico Public Libraries, as a member of the Lower Shore Library Consortium, has agreed to consider the Consortium’s shared environment when purchasing books and materials for the collection. The Library takes into consideration the overall demand for a title when making a quantity decision for selection. Electronic resources (databases) for Wicomico Public Libraries are provided by the Eastern Shore Regional Library and the Maryland Public Information Network called Sailor. The electronic database collection may change yearly, depending on budgetary concerns, usage statistics and other considerations. Wicomico Public Libraries participate in the state of Maryland’s Interlibrary Loan service called Marina through the State Library Resource Center and their connection to OCLC, the world’s catalog.

Special Collections


  1. The Vicki Greene Maryland History Room and Genealogy Collection

The Vicki Greene Maryland History Room and the genealogical collection located in Wicomico Public Libraries’ Downtown location contains a non- circulating collection of local materials that are accessible to all residents and interested parties. The core collection contains books on the history of Wicomico County, Worcester County, and Somerset County including old directories, microfilm of Somerset County maps by Harry Benson, land records, individual historic houses, and church histories, indexes to the Daily Times, place names, military records, and pension rolls.

The scope of the collection is as follows:

  • Regional Delmarva collection
  • Boats and Chesapeake Bay and local rivers
  • Local islands
  • Concentration on Wicomico County and the City of Salisbury which were previously Somerset County and Worcester County.
  • Old homes
  • Local family genealogies

Wicomico Public Libraries has deferred collection and maintenance of the more rare works to the Nabb History Center. The Library maintains a close partnership with the Nabb Center, a local historical archive which is supported by Salisbury University, and through this partnership provides access to this collection.

Adult Audio Visual Collection

Wicomico Public Libraries seek to establish a balanced and diverse collection of popular movies, music, recorded books, and video games to reflect the desires of multiple demographic groups within the County. Materials are evaluated as whole works, not on individual scenes or selected portions. Multiple copies of new releases are ordered to fulfill customer holds in the consortium’s queue.

A/V materials can be collected in physical media or through digital access providers.

Professional Collection

Wicomico Public Libraries purchases a small collection of professionally focused materials for Library Staff. Staff members also have access to a larger collection through the Eastern Shore Regional Library.

ESL & Literacy Collection

Wicomico Public Libraries purchase high interest / low reading level material for adults as well as materials to support English as a Second Language programs.


​​​​​​​Spanish Collection

Wicomico Public Libraries collect a variety of popular print material and media for customers who prefer to read and view in the Spanish language.

Collection Maintenance

Methods of Collection Analysis

Selectors use multiple collection analysis methods to establish collection purchase priorities. Selectors follow generally accepted industry collection maintenance guidelines for specific sections of the collection. Such methods include information on collection use, current interests, longevity of topics, economic and external influences and general knowledge of the community. These responsibilities are carried out by qualified staff authorized by the Executive Director.

Collection Maintenance (De-selection Policy)

Systematic evaluation and deselection of items in the collection (the process of removing materials from the active collection for withdrawal or transfer, also known as “weeding”) is necessary in order to keep the collection responsive to customers’ needs, to insure the collection’s vitality and usefulness to the community, and to make room for new materials.

Rationale for deselection

Studies show that a regularly weeded collection produces higher circulation statistics. The Library may dispose of any materials by transfer of ownership or discard, as staff deem appropriate. Suggestions for deselection may be made by all staff. Final deselection decisions are made by Selectors with approval of their Supervisor.

Guidelines and process for final disposal of materials will be made by the Executive Director. Possible avenues include sale of such items by the Friends of the Library, donation of items to other non-profit organizations, transfer of items to other libraries or recycling of damaged, outdated or otherwise unusable materials



  • Outdated materials
  • Unnecessary or no longer circulating items Unused or unnecessary duplicates
  • Worn or damaged copies
  • Impact of item balanced with contribution of item to the overall collection


Gift Policy

Gifts and Donations: Wicomico Public Libraries welcome gifts and donations in support of the Libraries, their collections, programs, services and facilities. Monetary gifts and donations of Library materials, personal property or real property are accepted subject to policies adopted by the Board of Trustees. Unless donors specify otherwise, these funds are used in general support of the Library; its collections, programs, services and facilities. If desired, appropriate donor recognition and notification will be provided.

Gifts of materials are accepted with the understanding that they are non-returnable and may be handled or disposed of in the best interests of the Library. Donated materials may be added to the collection if they meet the standards set forth in the Library’s Collection Development Policy. If desired, appropriate donor recognition will be provided.

Gifts of other personal or real property may be accepted by the Library, subject to its needs and in compliance with any applicable policies. If desired, appropriate donor recognition will be provided.

The Library will acknowledge receipts of gifts for tax purposes, but will not assess the monetary value of gifts.

Financial Processes: All expenditures and receipts related to gifts, donations and fundraising are processed through \ Wicomico Public Libraries’ financial accounts.

Draft expansion and revision of “Gifts Policy,” adopted by Wicomico Public Library Board of Trustees, June 13, 2006 - Amended and Approved by the Library Board of Trustees October 9, 2007

Procedures for Reconsideration of Library Resources (see form – appendix)

A customer’s objection to Library materials should be handled at the time of complaint by a trained staff member. If a complaint is voiced at the Circulation Desk, a staff member shall refer the patron to the Adult Reference Desk. A staff member shall discuss the problem, and if requested, give the customer a copy of this policy and intellectual freedom manual assembled for public distribution.

If the customer is not satisfied, the customer shall be referred to the Manager of Adult Services or the Manager of Youth Services. A “Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources” form will be given to anyone wishing to pursue a complaint.

It must be filled out before a request can be considered for formal action. The request must be hand delivered or sent to the Executive Director by certified mail.

Upon receipt of the completed form, the Executive Director shall gather, or cause to be gathered, copies of critical opinions and/or reviews of the material in question. Using these as a base, the Executive Director shall review the work in question and prepare a written response within five (5) working days from receipt of the request for reconsideration.

The response shall be sent by certified mail to the customer and it shall conclude with the following statement: “if you wish to discuss the matter further, please contact the Executive Director (name)”

Copies of the request for reconsideration, with copies of the response, shall be sent to:

  • The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees
  • The Manager in charge of that department (Downtown Adult Services, Downtown Youth Services, Branch Manager, Bookmobile Manager)
  • The person responsible for the selection of the material

If a member is dissatisfied with the Executive Director’s response, he or she may submit a written request a hearing before the Board of Trustees. This request must be in writing and arrive at the Library no more than 15 days from the Executive Director’s response.

Upon receipt of the written request for a hearing, the Executive Director shall arrange a time and place for a hearing with the Board. The Executive Director will inform the member making this request by certified mail of the time and place of the hearing.

The Board may receive written arguments from the Library member and may hear oral arguments if the member wishes to speak. The Executive Director shall be present at this meeting, and the executive session which will follow. The Board will not respond to the complaint during the hearing, except to question or clarify. It shall then retire into executive session to consider the material. Once a decision has been reached, the Board shall reply in writing. The reply will be written by the President of the Board or their designate. It shall be sent to the member by certified mail which shall be postmarked within five (5) working days of the hearing. Copies of the reply will be given to the President of the Board, the Executive Director, and the person responsible for the selection of the material.

The decision of the Board of Trustees is binding, and shall not be revoked except under orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.


Hearings are arranged at the request of one person but involve the arrangement of work and personal schedules by many others. Therefore, the petitioner must arrange to be at the hearing at the time of designated. Unwillingness to be available at the offered time, or failure to appear at the hearing shall be considered withdrawal of the complaint.

Policy Revision

The Collection Development Policy will be revised and updated when needed. Policy revisions will be considered at least once every two years.

Policy Audience
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