Collection Development Policy

Rowayton Library is a free, public association library that serves the community of Rowayton. We are dedicated to providing a diverse, current, and useful collection of materials and resources to help enrich and enlighten our community. We aim to provide free and equal access to information, knowledge, and opportunities for our patrons. This Policy is intended to inform our patrons about the principles and guidelines that underlie our collection selection decisions, which are ultimately guided by our Mission of bringing our community together to learn, grow, and connect.


  • To provide resources and materials that inform, educate, entertain, and enrich our community.
  • To include works of enduring value as well as timely materials on current issues.
  • To select materials based on community needs and interests.
  • To supplement resources through the use of electronic access and interlibrary loan.
  • To help people learn new skills and improve literacy.
  • To increase social awareness and community involvement.
  • To advance equity, diversity, and inclusion through our resources.
  • To preserve and encourage the free expression of ideas essential to an informed citizenry.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rowayton Library is committed to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognize and embrace the strengths of our differences and celebrate the different experiences and viewpoints that make up our global community. To ensure a collection that is reflective of these ideals, we are flexible and conscientious in our selection and evaluation of materials. We affirm that this work is a continuous process and a crucial part to our overall mission of bringing our community together to learn, grow and connect.

Scope of the Collection

Our collection provides resources to the community that are intended to reflect and meet the diverse cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs and preferences of its patrons. To help meet those needs and preferences, we offer a variety of formats, genres, and levels of difficulty in our collection, to accommodate all ages and proficiencies, including, but not limited to:

  • Audiovisual materials, including DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks.
  • Book Groups for all ages.
  • Electronic resources, including databases, e-books, and audiobooks.
  • Fiction and non-fiction books for adults, children, and young adults.
  • Local history materials and archives.
  • Magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals.
  • Reference materials, including atlases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias.

New formats are considered for the collection dependent on user demand and when the Library’s resources allow for such acquisition. Similarly, discontinuation of formats from the collection are considered to help maintain collection usefulness and currency.

Format Considerations

The formats that Rowayton Library considers acceptable for our collection include:

  • Physical books and periodicals
  • Audiovisual media such as DVDs, Blu-rays, and CD audiobooks.
  • Electronic resources such as e-books, e-journals, and audiobooks

Materials are selected in formats that:

  • Are accessible and user-friendly for all in the community.
  • Are compatible with the library’s technology infrastructure.
  • Best suits their content and purpose.
  • Keeps in mind the utilization of the library’s most cost-effective and sustainable formats.

These diverse formats are selected to properly educate and enrich the lives of our patrons as well as to promote our mission.

Selection Guidelines

Rowayton Library’s selection of materials is guided by the principle that the Library’s collection should reflect the community’s diversity and promotes our community.

Materials are selected based on the following:

  • Accuracy, authority, and timeliness.
  • Artistic, cultural, or literary merit.
  • Consideration of the library’s budget and space.
  • Relevance to the community’s interests and needs.
  • Value in providing patrons with information, education, or entertainment.

Impact of Collection Sharing Agreements

Rowayton Library is a member of the Bibliomation Library Consortium. Our patrons benefit not only with access to a variety of databases and digital content collection via this consortium but are also provided access to interlibrary loans. Interlibrary loan allows our patrons to borrow materials from other consortium members’ collections thus, increasing the resources available to our community. Consortium membership saves our library money in the form of technical services and discounts on library supplies.

Rowayton Library evaluates case-by-case collection-sharing agreements to ensure that they align with our mission, goals and selection criteria. Rowayton Library will also ensure that collection-sharing agreements are consistent with our policies and procedures, including confidentiality, copyright compliance, and privacy. Rowayton Library will monitor the impact of any collection-sharing agreements on our collections and services and make adjustments as needed to ensure that they continue to meet the community’s needs.

Digital Materials and Databases

Electronic materials play an important role in Rowayton Library’s collection. These materials include databases, e-Books, audiobooks, and downloadable and streaming media. Criteria used in selecting digital resources include ease of use, uniqueness of content, technology requirements, vendor reputation and customer service, availability for remote access, and cost. Certain digital collections that Rowayton Library makes accessible to users are governed by the vendor’s specific terms of service, including patron residency and minimum age requirements. Some material available in a broader digital collection might not be considered appropriate by all adults for all children. Only each child and their parent or caregiver can decide what material is suitable for that child to read or view. It is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to ensure appropriate access to broader digital collections. The fact that children possibly may access materials their parents or guardians consider inappropriate does not impact the selection of databases and digital platforms.


All Rowayton Library staff members are encouraged to participate in the selection of resources. Patrons are encouraged to make suggestions and all suggestions will be considered.  All materials will be evaluated for purchase based on this Collection Development policy. Implementation of this Collection Development Policy and management of the collection will be delegated to Rowayton Library staff. The Library Director will ultimately be responsible for final material selection and operates within the framework of this policy for all materials and collection purchases.

Deselection Policy

Rowayton Library periodically reviews and evaluates its collections to remain current, relevant, and valuable to the community. Materials that no longer meet Rowayton Library’s selection criteria may be deselected (removed) from the collection.

The following guidelines are used to select items for removal:

  • Items are worn, stained or damaged beyond repair.
  • Items are out of date, contain inaccurate data, or are not historically significant.
  • New, more current, or more comprehensive resources have been published.
  • A more desirable format of the content is available.
  • Duplication of materials.
  • Low circulation.

Items removed from the collection are either sold, with proceeds to benefit Rowayton Library, recycled, or donated to other non-profit charities such as Goodwill or Better World Books. Currently useful items withdrawn due to poor condition, loss, or damage will be considered for replacement.

Rowayton Library does not review or have responsibility for items removed from the collections of the Bibliomation consortium or other digital platforms, such as hoopla or OverDrive.

Patron Suggestions

Rowayton Library welcomes purchase requests and recommendations for books and audiovisual materials. Requests are considered using the same selection criteria outlined in this Collection Development policy. In the particular case of digital materials (e.g. e-books), cost will be a significant factor in the purchase decision. Should Rowayton Library decide not to purchase the suggested material, we will attempt to obtain the item via Interlibrary Loan or our consortium.

Collections Budget Considerations

Budget allocations by subject and format will be based on public demand, usage statistics, relevance, and available resources. All materials are evaluated based on value and expected use of the material compared to the cost of the item. Staff oversee the selection process by utilizing reviews and other appropriate selection tools and will track budget by selection guidelines to ensure the flow of new materials throughout the year.  All purchases will be reviewed by the Library Director prior to purchase and will not exceed the annual allocated budget amount for new materials.

Gifts/Donated Materials

Rowayton Library welcomes gifts and donations of new materials that enhance and enrich its collection, understanding that the same selection guidelines are applied to both gifts/donations and materials acquired for the collection. Rowayton Library incurs cost when accepting gifts/donations to process, catalog and preserve each item; therefore, Rowayton Library will not accept all donations and reserves the right to evaluate and dispose of gifts/donations based on the materials’ criteria.

The following guidelines apply to all gifts or donations:

  • All donations become property of Rowayton Library.
  • Materials in poor condition or incomplete volumes will not be accepted.
  • Rowayton Library will provide a tax receipt for all donations. The library will not appraise or provide itemized lists of donations.
  • Donations not added to the library collection may be sold, with proceeds to benefit Rowayton Library, recycled, or donated.

Potential donors may contact the library for more information regarding specific donations. Monetary donations for the purchase of materials are gratefully accepted. Rowayton Library staff will make the final determination of the materials to be purchased with such donated funds.

Controversial Materials and Intellectual Freedom

The inclusion of an item in the collection does not imply Rowayton Library’s endorsement of the author, publisher, or subject matter. Rowayton Library provides materials representing a wide variety of opinions and perspectives, which can apply to important, complex, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox viewpoints. Language, situations, or subjects that may be offensive to some community members do not disqualify material, the value of which is determined in its entirety and measured against the selection guidelines described in this policy by Rowayton Library in its sole discretion.

Rowayton Library recognizes parents and legal guardians as the parties responsible for the reading and viewing habits of their children. The selection of materials for our collection is not impacted by the possibility that children may obtain materials their parents or guardians consider inappropriate.

Rowayton Library welcomes patrons’ expression of opinion concerning materials purchased. Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection is asked to complete a Request for Reconsideration Form, which is available upon request at the library. Once received, the Library Director will review the item in its entirety and within the framework of this policy. When a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, the Director will inform the individual in writing. Appeals may be requested by submitting a written request to the Library’s Board of Trustees. All Board decisions are final. Materials under review remain in the collection during the reconsideration process.

In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to have access to materials, Rowayton Library supports the following documents:

  • First Amendment of the Constitution
  • Library Bill of Rights – Adopted June 19, 1939. Amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 23, 1980; January 29, 2019; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.
  • The Freedom to Read Statement – Adopted June 25, 1953; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.

Adopted by the Rowayton Library Board of Trustees on December 29, 2023