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Collection Development Policy

Beaufort County Library



The Collection Development Policy sets the standard for the selection of materials and the maintenance of the collection, all of which supports the Beaufort County Library's mission statement. These guidelines and policies are designed to systematically develop a broad, balanced, and useful collection which, within the limits of space and budget, fairly and effectively serves the diverse needs of the community. The Library may select materials that some individuals find controversial. The Library Board of Trustees affirms, endorses, and adopts the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, the Freedom to View Statement, and the American Library Association Code of Ethics.


  • Provide materials in a timely manner to meet customers’ interests and needs of the community.

  • Provide materials for children and teens to encourage literacy, learning, and love of reading.

  • Provide a diverse collection that supports the roles of the Library as a popular materials center, an information center, and an independent learning center.

  • Provide a range of viewpoints in the collection.



The Library selects materials for its collection on the basis of literary, educational, informational, and recreational value. The responsibility of selection rests with the Library Director or designee, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library makes all decisions as to the retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations relating to the selection, use, and disposition of the collection.


The Library offers free access to ideas and information encompassing all areas of knowledge and opinion to all citizens in an open, impartial atmosphere. The Library reflects within its collection differing points of view. The Library does not promote particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of a resource express or imply endorsement of the viewpoint of the author or publisher or vendor. No title is excluded on the basis of moral, racial, religious, or political belief. Library materials will not be marked to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be secluded or access denied, except for the purpose of protecting resources from damage or theft.


Titles and subscription services are selected, within the limitations of the budget, in various physical and digital formats. Among the criteria considered when selecting are critical consensus among recognized subject authorities, literary merit, enduring value, accuracy, authoritativeness, social significance, importance of subject matter to the collection, timeliness, popular demand, cost, scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere, quality and suitability of the format. Customers’ suggestions are encouraged and will be given due consideration.


The Library provides free access to books, magazines, the Internet, electronic databases, videos, DVDs and audiobooks, music, downloadable ebooks, and audiobooks. As formats continue to evolve the primary formats collected may change.


Because collection development is based on community needs as a whole, individuals, and groups cannot dictate the development, organization, promotion, and acknowledgment of the collection. 




The purpose of the Beaufort District Collection is to acquire, preserve, maintain, and make accessible an organized and well-balanced research collection of permanent value that records local history, Gullah culture, archaeology, genealogy, natural history, the peoples, and events in the geographical area of Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties in South Carolina from pre-historic times to the present. The secondary focus is given to materials about South Carolina that provide context for Beaufort District’s long and storied history. The aim of the Beaufort District Collection is to provide resources for area residents and researchers to explore the personal, historical, and cultural heritage of Beaufort County and its environs in meaningful and creative ways.

Materials are carefully selected and curated for lasting value and long-term access within the Beaufort District Collection. The Beaufort District Collection may collect materials, in any format, that support its mission. Because of the nature of a local history research collection, some materials may include terminology and concepts reflective of the creator’s place and time which are now deemed offensive. Additional South Carolina, Southern, or Civil War materials may be collected if they relate to the primary collection or are of help in using the primary collection when appropriate storage is available.



Collection maintenance is a necessary function of public libraries. When information becomes outdated, when a book becomes tattered and torn, when duplicate copies are no longer needed to meet customer demand, or when the information a book contains is no longer needed, the book is removed from the library’s collection. The same care, thought, and judgment is used in this process as in the original selection. Criteria for withdrawal will include:

  • poor physical condition, not suitable for repair or rebinding 

  • duplicate copies of titles no longer in demand 

  • obsolete content 

  • recent poor circulation figures

  • digital offering(s) exceed the cost-to-benefit ratio, are underused, or have been replaced by a different service


Rarely will a single criteria for withdrawal be used to determine whether a resource will be removed from the collection. These decisions will be made on a combination of criteria and librarians' experience in accordance with Beaufort County Purchasing Code of Ordinances Article VII, Division 4:


DIVISION 4. PURCHASING-Section 2-513 Exemption from procedures: Exemptions provided for in this section:

(1) Works of art for museum and public display. (2) Published books, library books, maps, periodicals, and technical pamphlets. (3) Copyrighted educational films, film strips, slides, and transparencies.


Materials withdrawn from the collection will be: 

  • Transferred to another branch of the Library

  • Made available for Library and/or Friends of the Library book sales

  • Donated to other county agencies or other non-profit organizations

  • Recycled



All titles accepted via donation are subject to the same selection criteria outlined throughout this document. For criteria relating to non-circulating items (art, monetary, artifacts, etc.), please see the Donations and Gifts Policy.


Approved by the Library Board of Trustees March, 2013; Revised: July, 2023 

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