Collection Development Policy

I. Mission

Shaker Heights Public Library builds community and enriches lives by bringing together people, information, and ideas.

II. Description of Community

The Shaker Heights Public Library’s legal service area is the Shaker Heights City School District, which includes all of Shaker Heights and a portion of Cleveland in the Shaker Square area. This cosmopolitan, residential community is home to diverse cultural, economic, and religious groups.

III. Intellectual Freedom

Shaker Heights Public Library supports and is supported by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, the Freedom to View, Free Access to Libraries by Minors, and The Universal Right to Free Expression, which affirm that free and convenient access to ideas, information, and the creative experience is of vital importance to every citizen today. These documents are guiding principles for this collection development policy.

Material is selected on the basis of the work as a whole and is not excluded because of isolated passages. The race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or political views of an author, frank or coarse language, the controversial content of an item, or the endorsement or disapproval of an individual or group in the community will not cause an item to be automatically included or excluded.

Access to library material shall not be restricted based on a library user’s age, race, gender, income, sexual orientation, education, religion, national origin, or disability.  Library material will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of its contents.

Responsibility for choosing what an individual will read rests with the individual. Responsibility for the use of library material by children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians. At no time will library staff act in place of the parent or guardian. Selection of library material will not be inhibited by the possibility that it may come into the possession of children.

IV. Copyright Law

The Shaker Heights Public Library abides by copyright law. Customers using library material are responsible for the legal use of that material.

V.  Scope of the Collection

The Library provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of material on a wide range of topics of interest to the general public. Material is purchased in a range of formats to meet the various accessibility needs of the community. The library’s collection is intended to meet the cultural, informational and recreational needs of all ages and to reflect the diversity of the population it serves. Multiple copies of high-demand titles may be purchased in order to satisfy customer needs. Material beyond the scope of the library’s collection may be available through the CLEVNET Consortium and interlibrary loan.

VI. Selection Criteria

Professional librarians of the Shaker Heights Public Library are responsible for the selection of material. Suggestions from customers and staff are encouraged and given serious consideration in the selection process. The final responsibility for selection rests with the Director, who administers under the authority of the Library Board of Trustees.

The Shaker Heights Public Library selects material that is of optimum use to the citizens of our library district. Because of budget limitations and space constraints, the Library must be highly selective. The Library endeavors to enlarge the scope of the collection to reflect expanding fields of knowledge and to emphasize those areas of greatest community interest.

The Library recognizes the importance of making available a variety of topics and viewpoints, realizing that a resource which might offend one person may be considered meaningful by another. The addition of material to the library does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of its content, but assures that a variety of differing points of view are represented. Selection of library material will not be influenced by the liability of material to theft or mutilation.

The Shaker Heights Public Library bases its selection on criteria developed by its professional staff and on criteria generally recognized in the public library field.  A resource which does not meet the standards for its type may still be selected if it presents a point of view not otherwise represented in the collection or if community demand justifies purchase or access.

 Criteria include one or more of the following:

    1. Community need and interest
    2. Subject matter and the scope of the material
    3. Reputation and authority of the author and publisher
    4. Literary merit
    5. Timeliness of the material
    6. Accuracy of the material
    7. Suitability of format to library purposes
    8. Quality of technical production
    9. Cost of the material and shelving limitations
    10. Availability of the material elsewhere
    11. Balance of viewpoints
    12. Popularity of an author

The Adult and Youth Services Librarians read reviews in professional journals and consult publishers’ catalogs as well as other review sources to aid in selection of material. An attempt is made to include material by Shaker Heights authors that meet the criteria stated above.

VII. Self-Published Material

The Library is happy to consider recently published materials for the collection.

The library routinely acquires materials published by commercial publishers that meet the library’s selection criteria. The library also may acquire self-published books when they include unique local content, fit the scope of the Library’s Collection Development Policy and meet the selection criteria.

Materials receiving an independent, positive review in one or more of the major review journals (such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly and Video Librarian) are carefully considered. The library is more likely to add a self-published book to the collection if it has been reviewed in a major review journal. Self-published e-books are not considered unless they are available for purchase through one of the library’s e-book platforms.

Requests for consideration of self-published materials for inclusion in the library collection may be emailed to or sent by mail to:

Shaker Heights Public Library

16500 Van Aken Boulevard

Shaker Heights, OH 44120

Attn: Technical Services

VIII. Unsolicited Material

The library does not pay for unsolicited material. Materials sent to the library become the property of Shaker Heights Public Library and, if not added, will not be returned to the donor.

Items not added to the collection will be disposed of to the best advantage of the library, which may include selling them to provide funding for new materials, events, or equipment.

IX. Gift Material

The Library welcomes gift material under the following guidelines. Gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the Shaker Heights Public Library and can be retained or disposed of at the discretion of the library. Items added to the collection are judged according to the same criteria as new material. Unfortunately the Library cannot accept gifts of magazine subscriptions. The Library can provide a receipt for tax purposes stating the number and type of items donated but cannot assign a monetary value to them.

Gifts of large collections will receive careful study. The implications of cost, maintenance and growth must be considered before acceptance.

X. Memorials, Bequests, and Trusts

The Library welcomes gifts, trusts, or bequests for the purchase of every type of library material. An appropriate bookplate will identify the donor and organization or person for whom the donation was made.

XI. Reevaluation of Library Material

The Library will re-evaluate the selection or placement of a specific item in its collection upon submission of a properly completed Request for Reevaluation of Library Material form. These forms are available at the Information Desks at the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch.  Forms will be accepted from adult cardholders who are residents of the library’s legal service area and who have read, viewed, or listened to the material in its entirety.

Forms must be completed in their entirety, including the date, and the cardholder’s name, address, phone number, library card number, signature, and rationale for reevaluation and requested action.

The appropriate Manager, in consultation with the Deputy Director and the Director, will make the initial decision regarding the item’s disposition. The Manager’s decision may be appealed to the Director. In such cases the Director, in consultation with professional librarians, will make a decision regarding the item’s disposition. The Director’s decision may be appealed to the Library Board of Trustees, whose decision is final and binding. Material will remain in circulation during the reconsideration process.

Future requests for reevaluating the same item will be addressed only if the grounds for reconsideration are substantially different from previous requests.


  1. Completed forms should be delivered, as appropriate, to the Bertram Woods Branch Manager, Adult Services Manager, or Youth Services Manager, with copies to the Deputy Director and the Director.
  2. Within two weeks, the Manager, in consultation with the Deputy Director and Director, will make an initial assessment of the request and contact the cardholder in writing.
  3. If the cardholder is not satisfied with the Manager’s decision, he or she may appeal in writing to the Director within two weeks.  In such cases, the Director will convene a committee of appropriate professional librarians to review the request.
  4. The committee will:
    • Read, watch, or listen to the item in question in its entirety;
    • Read reviews of the item from authoritative review sources;
    • Judge the overall merit of the item based on its entirety rather than individual parts, passages or excerpts;
    • Meet to discuss and prepare a report of its recommendation regarding the item’s disposition;
    • Deliver the final report to the Director.
  5. Informed by the committee’s recommendation, the Director will make a decision on the disposition of the item in question, and will inform the cardholder in writing within thirty days.
    If the cardholder is not satisfied with the Director’s decision, he or she may appeal in writing to the Library Board of Trustees within two weeks.
  6. By the date of the second regularly scheduled meeting following its receipt of the appeal, the Board of Trustees will:
    • Consider the rationale used by the Manager and the Director in reaching their decisions;
    • Read, watch, or listen to the item in question in its entirety;
    • Read reviews of the item from authoritative review sources;
    • Judge the overall merit of the item based on its entirety rather than individual parts, passages or excerpts;
    • Apply the library’s selection criteria to the item;
    • Meet to discuss and prepare a report of its recommendations regarding the item’s disposition.
  7. Within five business days the Board will notify the cardholder and the Director in writing of its decision regarding the item’s disposition.

XII. Collection Maintenance

The Library maintains an attractive, up-to-date collection through continual evaluation of material. The process and decision to remove an item follows the same criteria as when the item was first selected for inclusion in the collection. In addition, criteria such as obsolete information, insufficient use, excessive wear and tear, space availability and changing customer interests are considered. Duplicate copies and items superseded by newer editions are reviewed for possible removal.

Discarded material becomes surplus property and may be given to and then sold by the Friends of the Shaker Library for fund-raising purposes to benefit the library.

XIII. Adult Services Collections


Shaker Heights Public Library purchases adult audiovisual material in various formats. Movies, music, audiobooks, and games are selected to serve the diverse needs and interests of our community. The Library will select those formats that are widely used by the community.

Automotive Repair

A circulating collection of automotive repair manuals is maintained at the Main Library.

Bestseller (The Kammer Memorial Collection)

A collection of popular titles in fiction and nonfiction is available at the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch Titles selected for these collections are on the New York Times Best Seller list or have high local demand. The Kammer Memorial Collection is named in memory of Marilyn Kammer.

Black Studies

The Black Studies collection at the Main Library meets the educational needs of general readers and secondary school students. This collection includes material that deals with the heritage of African-Americans beginning with the slave trade and continuing through the present. Emphasis is placed on the history, literature, and fine and performing arts of African-Americans, as well as biographies of historical figures and those who have significantly influenced these areas of African-American history. Biographies of currently popular celebrities are not housed in Black Studies. This is a circulating collection.

Book Discussion

This collection housed at Main Library is available for use by book discussion groups. Multiple copies of a book discussion title may be reserved and borrowed on extended loan as a set at the Main Library. The collection includes current fiction as well as classics, nonfiction and biographies. Literary merit and the book’s ability to generate discussion are the criteria considered when adding titles to this collection.


The Careers collection at Main Library meets the needs of secondary school students and adults seeking post-secondary education, career, and employment information. Subjects covered are educational planning, financial aid, job search skills, and employment opportunities. This collection includes both circulating and reference books.


Books, magazines, music and video in a variety of formats are available for download or streaming to most popular platforms including ereaders, mp3 players, tablets and smartphones.


The Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch each maintain a basic fiction collection in both hardcover and paperback formats of works by U.S. and world authors, and English-language translations of world literature.  The collections include notable and popular novels in a variety of genres and styles of writing. Selected works by local authors, award-winning books, media book clubs, and multiple copies of books in demand in regular and large print are also available.

Customer requests for popular titles influence the addition of more copies.

A reference collection of reader’s advisory material is also available.

Foreign Language Material

Cleveland Public Library provides the Shaker Heights Public Library with a small rotating collection of foreign language material at both the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch. The languages and quantity of material is determined by Shaker Heights Public Library’s community demands.

Large Print

A collection of popular fiction and nonfiction books available in large print is located at both the Main Library and Woods Branch.

Local History

An in-depth local history collection is maintained at the Main Library. See Appendix A for a detailed collection development policy for the Local History Collection. The Local History Librarian is responsible for maintaining and developing the Local History Collection.

New Reader

The Adult New Reader collection at Main Library supports literacy programs by providing material for adults who are learning to read or who are learning English.

Fiction and nonfiction, print and nonprint material is chosen to satisfy recreational and informational needs of adults with a reading level below seventh grade.

Newspapers and Periodicals

A representative collection of regional and national newspapers and periodicals that meet the recreational and informational needs of our customers is available at both Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch. Space and budget considerations preclude the addition of academic or professional journals to the collection. Both collections are evaluated annually. Some newspapers are kept in storage for customer use. Certain older newspapers are available as microform at Main Library.


Nonfiction material in both print and nonprint formats is selected for the general educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the general adult population and secondary school students and is meant to provide a representative overview of most subjects and reflects the needs and interests of the community. Some material is purchased to supplement the curricula of the Shaker area schools.

The library only purchases textbooks when they provide the best or only information on a particular topic.


The Library maintains a collection of up-to-date, non-circulating, print and virtual reference material which, by virtue of its content and treatment, is consulted for items of information rather than for consecutive reading. The reference collection is oriented to meet the needs of general adult customers and secondary school students. Limitation of funds precludes a comprehensive collection and, when customers require in-depth research, they may be referred to the specialized collections available at other libraries in the area. Most reference books are available only at the Main Library.

Test Preparation

A collection of the most popular test preparation handbooks is maintained at Main Library. Bertram Woods purchases these on a limited basis but does not maintain a separate collection.

XIV. Youth Services Collections

The Children’s collections at the Main Library and Bertram Woods Branch are designed to serve the needs and interests of children from birth through age 12. The Teen collections in both buildings are designed to serve the needs and interests of customers from age 12 through 18. The purpose of the Youth Services collection is to encourage an appreciation of reading, both for learning and for recreation, and to make available a well-balanced selection of informational and reference material that will enable high quality reference service to children and that supplement the curriculum of Shaker area schools. The children’s and teen collections at both libraries will be kept fresh and attractive and continually updated /with current material. The collection shall include the following formats.

Children’s Material


The Children’s collection includes children’s audio books, book and audiovisual sets for preschooler and beginning readers, music, and movies. Movies are selected for entertainment and curriculum enhancement and include feature films for children, educational and instructional movies, and dramatizations and adaptations of children’s books and musical performances.  A collection of non-circulating toys and puzzles are available in special areas of the children’s room for use by preschool-aged children.


Both fiction and nonfiction books are selected for the educational, informational, and entertainment needs of our younger customers. A diversity of subjects, presenting different viewpoints, is provided. Selection of material represents various reading levels.

Material for adults and students of children’s literature, including discussions of such topics as literary and artistic quality of writing and illustration for children, use of books with young people, and information about authors and illustrators of children’s books, are kept in the children’s department.

The fiction collection shall represent popular and current literature for children, including fiction, graphic novels, easy fiction, series books, beginning readers, board books and picture books.


Books, magazines, music and video in a variety of formats are available for download or streaming to most popular platforms including ereaders, mp3 players, tablets and smartphones. New devices and formats are considered for the collection as they become available.

Ohio Educational Testing Material

A collection of material consisting of flashcards purchased for preparation for Ohio’s educational testing is available at both libraries.


A special collection of picture books that parents or caregivers may wish to share with children to help them deal with life events or special issues such as adoption, a new baby, death, divorce, or toilet training is available at both the Main Library and Bertram Woods branch.


A representative selection of popular periodicals is available for children of all ages. These titles are reviewed annually.


A non-circulating collection of reference books that meets the needs of school age children, as well as books for educators and parents, is available in the children’s area at both libraries.


The teen collections at the Main Library and Bertram Woods Branch consist of material about subjects of high interest to teens, and which meet the browsing needs of young people between the ages of 12 and 18.

In addition to contemporary novels reflecting teens’ real life experiences, by authors who write specifically for this age group, the fiction collection includes fantasy, science fiction, mystery and graphic, or illustrated novels. High demand material, including media tie-ins, comic books and popular series are also collected.

The nonfiction collection consists of browsing material of specific interest to teens, such as biographies of popular figures and books dealing with current fads, hobbies, and issues that teens face. Material accurately and authoritatively exploring controversial and timely subjects is available.

The Teen collection does not attempt to furnish in-depth reference material to fulfill the curriculum needs of teens. Users are encouraged to explore the resources in the children’s and adult departments for these purposes. The Suggested Reading collection provides audio books and multiple copies of books included on reading lists of area schools. Material is available to assist secondary school students in preparation for Ohio’s educational testing. Periodicals and audiobooks of interest to teens are also part of this collection.

Teen Center

The Teen Center houses a collection of books and magazines to serve the entertainment and homework needs of teens grades 7-12. A small collection of core curriculum textbooks for grades 7-12 of the Shaker Heights School System is kept in the Teen Center. A small nonfiction collection exists to assist with homework questions. The Teen Center also houses a collection of hardcover and paperback fiction that is of interest to teens.  Items in the Teen Center are primarily there for recreational purposes, and are not intended to serve in-depth academic needs.

Approved by the Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees 11/14/ 2005, 6/15/ 2010, 6/13/2011, 9/10/2012, 6/10/2013, 6/9/2014, 6/20/2016


  1. Local History Collection Development Policy
  2. Library Bill of Rights
  3. Freedom to Read Statement
  4. Freedom to View Statement
  5. The Universal Right to Free Expression
  6. Free Access to Libraries for Minors