Policies are the guiding documents for setting strategic directions and to aid decision-making in library or information services. This includes decisions about what the library will have in its collection and what programmes are run. Having robust, up-to-date policies are key to an effective process for handling challenges. They provide official justification and reasoning for explaining to a challenger why that item is in the collection. 

For example, Auckland Libraries Collection Development Policy:

  • 5.1 We provide collections that reflect Auckland’s diverse communities.
  • 5.3. We are committed to the principle of freedom of access to information. 

Collection policies should be aligned with the cultural diversity and values of a community, promote diversity and inclusivity, and represent a range of perspectives. Policies should be regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date, are in line with community values and priorities, and connect with the strategic plans of your governing organisation, such as your local or district council. 

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) recommends that librarians themselves are the ones who lead decisions around the collection and selection of library materials using their library professional knowledge and not political, moral, or religious views. This statement was made by IFLA in 2023 in response to the increased efforts of individuals, groups, politicians, and governing bodies to remove or ban books from library collections. 

“This is essential if libraries are to be able to pursue their mission to be gateways to knowledge, rather than gatekeepers, supporting the intellectual freedom which is vital for both individual and societal development, innovation creativity, and the realisation of human rights.”

  • Collection policy – this will help you understand how and why items are chosen for the collection.
  • Selection and reconsideration policy – this policy guides the reasons for selecting items for the collection and reasons for weeding, deselection, and reconsidering resources.
  • Removal and disposal policy – the policy determines the process for removing or deaccessioning items from the collection.


Do you know where to find the collection policies you need to refer to? Ask your manager where they can be found and take a look. Ask for help if they are hard to understand.

Are they available for your users? If they are available on your website, you can easily refer people to them when dealing with a complaint or question. 

Have you discovered your library doesn’t have some of the above policies? Or perhaps they seem a little outdated and could be updated or better defined. You can seek guidance on policies from these institutions below:

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