Collection Development (SJPL)


The Collection Development Policy sets a direction for the Library to follow for selection, acquisition, and management of library materials in support of the mission, vision, and values guiding the San José Public Library (SJPL).

Library Mission Statement

San José Public Library enriches lives by fostering lifelong learning and by ensuring that every member of the community has access to a vast array of ideas and information.

SJPL follows and adheres to the principles stated in the City Council Library Materials and Services Policy which adopts the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights as the policy of the City of San José.

Description of the Library

San José Public Library is the primary public library for approximately 1 million residents of the city of San José, California. SJPL consists of twenty-four neighborhood branch libraries and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, which is jointly operated with San José State University (SJSU).

Purpose of the Collection

To serve the needs of a diverse community, the Library selects materials in a broad array of subjects and varying subject depth, in multiple formats, including books, audio books, video, music, magazines and newspapers, in print and digital formats as well as electronic resources. These materials respond to a wide range of ages, languages, educational backgrounds, interests, and reading abilities and skills.


Description of the Collection

The Library collects both circulating and non-circulating materials in print and digital formats including books, DVDs, magazines, CDs, audiobooks, and electronic resources for all age ranges. Materials in a variety of languages are collected based on community demographics and availability of material.

The collection of the San José Public Library is a single collection shared between all locations. Each location has its own core collection of nonfiction and informational materials supporting education for all ages. The library organizes its collection to highlight new and popular materials so that they are readily accessible.

Collection Development Advisory Team

The Collection Development Advisory Team (CDAT) provides guidance for collection management. CDAT sets collection development priorities and recommends annual budget allocations based on City and Library priorities, staff input, and analysis of circulation and community demographics.


Librarians use several criteria when evaluating material for purchase including expected demand, community relevance, professional reviews, timeliness of subject matter, representation of diverse points of view, knowledge of the author or publisher, and content of the existing collection. These criteria are applied as appropriate and need not all be met for the material to be included in the collection.

Electronic resources are evaluated on the above criteria as well as functionality, remote access, user experience, absence of solicitation, and compliance with SJPL’s privacy policy.

Customer suggestions are an important part of the selection process and can be made through the Suggest a Purchase form. All suggestions are given serious consideration but are not responded to individually due to the volume received. Not all suggested materials can be purchased for the collection.

The Library strives to provide material that offers both factual information and diverse points of view. Works are judged on their value as a whole and may be retained despite potentially controversial or contradictory content.

Collection Maintenance

Continuous evaluation of materials is necessary to maintain a current and appealing collection. Librarians regularly deselect material based on the currency of an item’s content, the condition of the item, and the demonstrated interest in the item. Deselected print materials are given to the Friends of the Library or recycled based on condition.

Electronic resources are retained or deselected based on the above criteria plus the following: use, utility to staff and customers, and cost per use.

Unsolicited Donations of Materials

Gifts are evaluated based on the same criteria as purchased materials. Acceptance of donated items is subject to the discretion of the collection development librarians. Donated items not added to the collection are not returned to the donor, but instead are offered to the Friends of the Library, which provides funds for system programs. Monetary donations are encouraged as an alternate form of giving that allows collection development librarians to choose materials guided by this policy.

Request for Reconsideration

Librarians select material in alignment with the Library’s mission using established criteria. Requests from Library customers to remove specific material from the collection are considered in alignment with the Library’s Collection Development Policy. Customers who are both an SJPL card holder and a San Jose, California resident may complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Form if they believe an item does not align with this policy. Only one title may be included per Reconsideration Form. A separate Reconsideration form must be filled out for each title that the customer requests for review. The City Librarian, or designee, will review the Request and reply within 30 days of receipt. The item in question will remain on the shelf during the reconsideration process. The Library reserves the right to decline a request for reconsideration for a title that has already been reviewed.

Revised February 2024