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Hastings Public Library

Collection Development


The Hastings Public Library is the community’s primary resource for information and knowledge.  To fulfill its mission of “promoting life-long learning and enlightening citizens in a changing world” it has a collection development policy founded on the principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. The library strives to provide a collection that balances viewpoints from across a spectrum of opinions and provides access to subject matter in formats that meet the needs of the community.  The library uses selection practices that are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community.

Intellectual Freedom

Hastings Public Library endorses the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights:

ALA Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.

Collection Management

The primary goal of the Hastings Public Library is to provide an up-to-date, organized and attractive collection, both print and non-print, that is balanced and represents all fields of knowledge and all sides of issues in a neutral, unbiased manner with the financial resources available. The library will  provide items that are in current demand.


Selection refers to the decision to retain as well as to add to the collection. It is based upon awareness of the diverse needs and interests of the individuals who use the Library, balanced with evaluation of the material and knowledge of the collections' strengths and weaknesses. Selection decisions are also influenced by budget and space consideration and the availability and accessibility of alternative information resources.


Ultimate responsibility for materials management decisions which shape the development of the collections rests with the Library Director, who functions within the policies established by the Board of Directors. The Director is the final authority for materials selection, preservation, weeding, storage, budgeting resource allocation, and resource sharing. 

The Director may delegate broad responsibility for collection development and oversight of the general collections to trained staff.   Duties may include day-to-day selection activities such as perusal of reviews in professional library journals, withdrawal of materials, initiation of acquisitions, and monitoring of expenditures.  The public is also encouraged to recommend titles.  However final purchases and financial oversight is the responsibility of the Director.

The Youth Services Librarian will have responsibility for selecting and managing the children’s and young adult collections, however final purchases and financial oversight is the responsibility of the Director. 

Selection Criteria

Collection development staff use their training, knowledge and expertise along with the following general criteria to select materials for the collection:


  1. Relevance to interests and needs of the community
  2. Permanent value as a source material
  3. Vitality and originality of thought
  4. Contemporary significance
  5. Artistic excellence
  6. Entertainment presentation and value
  7. Accuracy and objectivity
  8. Suitability of physical form to library use
  9. Skill, competence, and purpose of the author
  10. Relationship to other materials and existing areas of coverage in order to maintain a well-balanced collection
  11. Technical quality in selection of non-print materials
  12. Critics' reviews
  13. Significance of the author
  14. Importance as a document of the times
  15. Currency of information
  16. Relation to existing collections
  17. Format, durability and ease of use
  18. Scarcity or availability of materials elsewhere
  19. Multiple copies of popular titles will be provided within the confines of the budget


The library is committed to unrestricted access to the collection and on-line resources.  The library adheres to Michigan State law concerning Internet access to minors (MCL 397.606) which states that the library must use one of two ways to restrict access and prevent minors from “viewing obscene matter or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors.”  The library meets this requirement by appropriately filtering computers available to minors and by making all public computers available with age restrictions.  Children’s area computers may be used by those ages 12 and under.  Teen Room computers may be used by those aged 13-17 and adult computers may be used by those 18 and older.

Processing and shelving of materials shall in no way reflect a value judgment of the materials.

  • There will be no labeling of any item to indicate its point-of-view.  Labels will be used to identify special collections such holiday and award books.
  • All materials will be shelved on open shelves, freely accessible to the public.
  • Patrons are free to accept or reject for themselves any item in the collection.
  • Children are not limited to the juvenile collection or young adult collections.  Responsibility for a child’s reading must rest with the parent or guardian.

The Hastings Public Library will maintain stand-alone access computers to the On-line Catalog of HPL materials in locations convenient to the fiction and non-fiction collections.

To provide easy access into collection accessibility Hastings Public Library provides a link to the on-line catalog of materials on its web-site  Interlibrary loan holds are placed through the library’s catalog or MeLCat.


The Library acquires materials in a variety of formats including hardcovers, paperbacks, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, microforms, CDs, DVDs, downloadable resources, electronic databases and non-traditional collections.  In certain circumstances the same work may be acquired in more than one format, i.e. Book and CD.    Local newspapers will be collected and preserved in various formats for historic and genealogical research.


All requests  for specific titles or subjects will be considered.

Whenever there is enough demand or interest in a title or subject, an item with unfavorable reviews may be purchased unless it is deemed to be without literary or social value or already adequately covered by better materials.

Specialized materials of limited community interest will not ordinarily be purchased or added, and requestor will be referred to interlibrary loan sources.  Supplementary materials for students and information for specialists are provided in a limited number of fields, however the library is cognizant of unnecessary duplication in subject areas which are the special prerogative of other community resources.

Replacement and Maintenance

The Library continuously evaluates the collections to keep it vital and up-to-date.  When materials no longer fit the collection they are withdrawn.

The following criteria are used in selecting materials for withdrawal:

  • Damage or poor condition
  • No longer relevant to the needs and interest of the community
  • Infrequent use and lack of demand
  • No longer accurate
  • Unnecessary duplication
  • Availability elsewhere including other libraries and online  

Materials not in Collections

The library has access to interlibrary loan through the Lakeland Library Cooperative’s catalog and the statewide “MeLCat” catalog.  Requests for materials may be placed electronically directly by patrons in each of these catalogs.  Assistance in placing requests is available from library staff.

Materials Gifts and Donations

The Hastings Public Library accepts gifts for its collection that fall within needed subject categories as determined by the Director and Youth Services Librarian. For an item to be added, it must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials.

Donated materials are accepted with the understanding that the Library has the right to determine the disposition of the gift items. Donations become the property of the Hastings Public Library, and may be given to other libraries and nonprofit agencies, sold at the Friends of the Hastings Public Library book sale or store, or discarded at the discretion of library staff. Donated materials which have been added to the collection will not automatically be replaced if worn-out, damaged, or lost, or if they have become obsolete.

Examples of materials that may not be added to the collection include those that: are outdated, are in poor physical condition, lack any reviews or are poorly reviewed in professional reviewing sources, or are duplicates of items the Library already owns in sufficient quantity. The Library does not accept magazines or text books.

Due to the volume of gifts received, the Library cannot track or return unsolicited items received from publishers or individuals. The Library can supply the donor with a letter of acknowledgment if one is requested at the time of donation. By law, the Library cannot determine the value of a donation for tax purposes.

The Library will accept monetary donations to support the enhancement of library resources and/or to strengthen and promote the Library’s services.  

Gifts Policy

The purpose of all gifts received by the Hastings Public Library Board of Directors must be consistent with the library’s mission.

The library board reserves the right to refuse gifts.  A few instances where the gift may be refused include:

  1. The gift does not meet the Library’s selection criteria.
  2. If the cost to manage the asset exceeds the eventual benefit of the gift
  3. The gift would not fit the library’s tax exempt status.

The Library Administrator has the authority to refuse gifts that clearly do not benefit the library.  If the future benefit of the gift is questionable or difficult to determine, the Board of Directors will make the final decision.

The Hastings Public Library can accept gifts for certain designated areas:

  1. General purposes
  2. Memorials
  3. Sponsored materials
  4. Library Endowment Fund

The Hasting Public Library accepts the following forms of assets:

  1. Cash
  2. Checks.  Checks must be made payable to the Hastings Public Library.  Designated areas should be noted in lower left corner or with accompanying documents.
  3. Securities.  Securities for which there is a recognized market are generally valued at the arithmetic mean of the highest and lowest selling prices for that stock or bond in its principal sales market on the date of the gift.  The value of a share in a mutual fund is its public redemption price in effect at the time of the gift.
  4. Non-cash gifts.  Tangible personal property exceeding $5,000 in value and closely held stock exceeding $10,000 in value shall be reported at the fair market value placed on them by an independent, qualified appraiser.  None of the following can serve as a qualified appraiser: the donor, taxpayer, the recipient, nor an agent of any of these.  The donor shall pay the cost of the appraisal.  Personal property and closely held stock will be sold at the highest possible price as soon as practical.  The library discourages gifts of personal property that cannot be easily sold or which requires unusual expenses before sale.
  5. Life insurance.
  6. Real property.  Each potential gift of real property will be reviewed individually with consideration given to an expeditious liquidation.  The property will be sold at the highest possible price as soon after receipt by the library.
  7. Pledges.  All pledges must be in writing and include the fund that will benefit from the gift, the anticipated payment schedule along with the signature of the donor.  Pledge payment reminders will be sent to the donor, if requested.

Request for Reconsideration

Patrons who wish to request the reconsideration of library materials shall be referred to the Library Director.  If there is no verbal resolution about an issue with the material's content, the patron will need to complete the Request for Reconsideration Form appended to this policy.   If the request is for a withdrawal, the Library Director will examine the item in question, check reviews, and determine whether it conforms to the standards of the selection policies.  If the request is for the addition of an item that has been rejected by library staff, the Library Director will reconsider its addition.  The Library Director will evaluate the material and make a decision regarding the material.  The Director will then write the patron giving reasons for the decision. Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use pending final action.  The final decision to remove materials must receive confirmation by the Library Board of Trustees.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials - Form

Approved by the Library Board January 19, 2009; Amended June 21, 2010, amended December 16, 2013; amended June 2019.

Window Project Updates

Latest News:

12/4/23: Large windows on the east wall continue. Apple/Boltwood St. between the library and State St. is partially closed. Painting continues on the 2nd floor.

Location & Hours

Main Branch
Hastings Public Library
227 E. State St., Hastings, MI 49058

Library image
Phone: 269-945-4263
Fax: 269-948-3874

Library & Drive-thru Hours:

  • Monday - Thursday: 9am - 8pm
  • Friday: 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday: 9am - 3pm

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