Collection Strategy Statement

Library Board approved July 21, 2015.


  • The Collection Strategy Statement reflects the diverse needs of the Oak Park community and the library’s Strategic Plan to facilitate engagement, learning, and stewardship.
  • The library believes that collections are part of the broader content of a library: its experiences, spaces, materials, and collaborations. We seek to respond to our community’s needs and aspirations through this content.
  • Through our collections – in all available formats – we work to facilitate equitable experiences for engagement, education, and inspiration. It is our intention that collections – as curated content – have measurable impact on the community.


  • The library advocates for broad and meaningful participation in the library, including the sustained use of materials. It does not promote all of the ideas found in its collections or the discussions those ideas may inspire – but provides the spaces and opportunities for those ideas and discussions.
  • The library protects the right of the individual to access information, even when the content may be controversial or unacceptable to others. Privacy and confidentiality are key tenets. As such, the library upholds the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights position statement, including the Freedom to View and Freedom to Read. It is the decision of the library not to filter  Internet access.
  • The library recognizes and respects intellectual property rights, and follows existing copyright laws.
  • The library supports open access as defined by the American Library Association. “Open access” refers to materials made publicly and freely available via digital repositories and archives, or research made available via peer-reviewed, open-access journals.
  • We are committed to resource sharing at local, state, and national levels as demonstrated by our membership and participation in Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and Suburban Wide Area Network (SWAN), ILLINET and WorldShare Interlibrary Loan. Our membership in consortia demonstrates our beliefs that engagement, supportive learning, and responsible stewardship are collaborative endeavors.
  • We are committed to being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars and community assets.


The library develops a meaningful, evidenced-based collection that is positioned to meet the needs of the community. Evidence-based methods include traditional metrics (circulation, usage analytics such as downloads and website visits, and usage ratios); qualitative metrics (formal data such as customer feedback, program and services evaluations, and library-wide institutional assessment); and less formal inputs via conversations with the community and professional insights in the course of community engagement. Tools include collection analysis software to monitor collections according to use and provisioning; an ILS (Integrated Library System) to make meaning from the use and circulation of materials; and other software to assist required reporting for the Secretary of State’s Illinois Public Library Annual Report (IPLAR). All of these methods are ways the library identifies and monitors the impact of materials in the community. We recognize and celebrate that Oak Park is unique, with broad and diverse interests. Each library location (Main Library, Maze Branch, and Dole Branch) is provisioned based on its unique use patterns. We curate specific cultural and heritage collections that reflect the unique values and enduring legacies of Oak Park, including Special Collections, Local History, Transgender, and Oak Park Creates. We strive to be “format neutral”, defining physical and digital collections and content as materials to which we facilitate access for and with our community.


Selection is curation at its core. Material selection criteria are informed by community interests and aspirations; national and international news and events; publishing and social trends; professional reviews and journals; and staff professional expertise. Community requests and recommendations are welcomed and are subject to the same criteria as any other material. The library does not collect textbooks, academic, or technical materials unless they are considered useful generally. The library adopts “digital curation” as an umbrella term for actions and strategies to provide stewardship of our digital assets. Digital assets include electronic resources, software and hardware, and devices. Digital curation takes into account the lifespan of the item, the product, and the product version to maintain currency, relevance, and sustainability.

As stewards of content, we carefully consider materials relative to cost, space, maintenance, safety, and customer interest. We ask such questions as: “Does the item have proven or potential interest to our community? Does it meet known or potential demand? Has it earned the attention of critics, reviewers, and the public to an extent that has created that demand? Are there similar materials already in the collection? To what extent are the materials available elsewhere in the community and library consortium? Can we anticipate, based on our ongoing conversations and engagement, those items and experiences that delight and inspire our community members?” Selection means identifying – and measuring – the impact of collections in the community.


To maintain relevant collections and content in all formats, the library must continuously evaluate and deselect materials. Criteria for withdrawing items include, but are not limited to: declining interest, poor condition, unnecessary duplication, or inaccurate or outdated information. Deselected materials may be donated to other non-profit organizations or discarded. The library does not make arrangements to sell or give withdrawn materials directly to specific individuals.

Gifts and Donations

The library welcomes gifts and donations of materials or money for purchase of items, equipment, or digital content for the library collection. The library maintains established funds for monetary donations. Donations are tax-deductible. Donations are subject to the library selection and deselection criteria.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Any community member has the right to request reconsideration of materials in the library’s collection. A Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form shall be completed and submitted to Library’s Executive Director.

« Back to Policies

Stay current on news and new arrivals.