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Collection Development & Materials Selection (Request for Reconsideration Form)

KPL Mission Statement

We are an inclusive, welcoming community that strengthens neighborhoods, inspires shared learning, and nurtures curiosity.

KPL Vision Statement

The Kenosha Community will be universally literate, civically engaged, and embrace multiple cultures and generations.

KPL Staff Values

Intellectual Freedom, Compassionate Professionalism, Collaboration, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy, approved by the Library Board, is one of the Library’s fundamental policy documents. It outlines the philosophies that create and shape the Kenosha Public Library’s collection, the practices that maintain it over time, and the guidelines that help the collection respond to community needs while protecting the collection from societal and political pressures. 

Philosophy of the Collection

This policy is guided by the Kenosha Public Library’s Staff Values, and the goals set in the Kenosha Public Library Mission Statement, Vision Statement,  Business Plan, and Strategic Plan. The Kenosha Public Library collects materials in a variety of popular formats, which support the information needs of a growing urban and suburban populace. The collection serves the general educational, recreational, and entertainment needs of the public and reflects the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the community. The collection is not intended to be a research or archival collection.

Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for the individual interest of each patron of the Kenosha Public Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one patron’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. 

Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision of the world of ideas, support recreational reading, encourage and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, lead to recognition and appreciation of literature, and reflect the diversity of the community and our world. The reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their own children's development. See the Unattended Children Policy for more information.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Cultural competence is not an idle pursuit. It requires constant assessment of the collection in relationship to the community it serves, and society at large. No one person is responsible for ensuring the diversity of the collection; it takes the work of all Library staff to help evolve and guide the collection. 

Scope of Locations’ Collections

Southwest Library

Southwest is the largest branch of the Kenosha Public Library, and houses a number of unique collections, including the Kenosha Authors, Children’s Developmental, World Languages, and Braille Collections. The collection includes core fiction and nonfiction collections and materials for basic historical or genealogical research. Because of the branch’s size, the collections at Southwest have more depth and breadth than any other location.  

Northside Library

The Northside Library houses the second largest collection, focusing on popular materials for all ages and in most formats. To help ensure the freshness of smaller collections like Large Print, materials may float or rotate between all locations.

Simmons Library

The Simmons Library houses popular materials. Some audio and visual materials are purchased for the collection, but most of this type of material comes from a rotating collection initially assigned to other locations. Due to accessibility challenges associated with the historical nature of the building, Simmons Library will not intentionally house unique titles or research collections that cannot be transferred to another branch for public use.

Uptown Library

The Uptown Library houses a popular collection, as well as a collection focusing on education & literacy, job skills, and English Language Learner materials. This location is also used as a stop for rotating collections, to help ensure patrons are made aware of the rich collections available to them at all locations. 

Outreach Collection

Outreach Services houses a popular collection for outreach vehicles, deposit collections, home delivery, Spanish-language outreach efforts, and outreach programming. Children's books, adult large print, and DVDs for all ages are a focus, but materials for all ages in a variety of formats & languages are available via request. Due to limited space, this collection will be replenished by materials primarily from the Northside library.

Online Collection

The online collection represents the diverse viewpoints and interests of the entire community the Library serves. The online collection evolves as new formats and products become available. This collection may include research and learning databases, ebooks,  eaudiobooks, and other downloadable and streaming media. The library will not recreate resources that already exist for free on the Internet nor does the library attempt to index those information resources.  Professional librarians, using the general criteria outlined in this policy, select any resource linked through the library website. 

Scope of Special Collections

Floating & Rotating Collections

A select subset of titles will be designated as floating or rotating among the Kenosha Public Library or libraries within the Kenosha County Library System. Library branch collections are shaped, in part, by patron use through the floating collection system, in which items move freely among library locations rather than being owned by a specific location. In addition, collections are scheduled to transfer from one library location to another after a given amount of time. This helps to expose patrons to these collections at every location, providing greater accessibility. 

Kenosha Author

The Kenosha Author Collection celebrates the works by authors and artists from, or who currently reside in, Kenosha County. The purpose of this collection is to support and promote community literary and artistic talent. Local author’s works will be displayed at the library, and be made available for checkout by library users.

Kenosha Reference

This collection consists of historical information about  the Kenosha area, but is not a government documents repository. This collection will help to provide patrons with a starting point for historical and genealogical research. 

Library of Things

As patrons come to see the library in more of a non-traditional role,  it is meaningful to have a collection of non-traditional items. To that end the library will offer an ever-evolving collection of non-traditional items. This collection will focus on items that are in line with the Library's Mission Statement to teach digital literacy skills and help to bridge the digital access divide between patrons and resources that are outside their financial reach. 

Developmental Collection

The developmental collection contains materials intended to incite curiosity and  build early learning and developmental motor skills. The collection also contains educational resources for use by parents, caregivers, teachers, and early childhood educators to aid in a child's social development. 

Collection Management

Philosophy of Collection Management  

In support of its mission, the Kenosha Public Library fully endorses the principles documented in the  “Library Bill of Rights,” “Freedom to Read,” “Freedom to View,” and “Statement on Professional Ethics” of the American Library Association. 

The Library’s collection is a living, changing entity. As items are added, others are reviewed for their ongoing value and sometimes withdrawn from the collection. Great care is taken to retain or replace items that have enduring value to the community, however the collection is not intended to be archival, and not all historical works of merit are able to be housed. Decisions are influenced by patterns of use, enduring accuracy and timeliness of information, the capacity of each location and the holdings of other libraries that may specialize in a given subject matter. Staff review the collection regularly to maintain its vitality and usefulness to the community. 

Responsibility for Collection Management

The final responsibility for material selection lies with the Director. The Director delegates to professional staff members the authority to interpret the policy in day­-to-­day decisions regarding the development of the collection and the subsequent selection of library materials and resources. Staff members are also given the duty to utilize library financial resources in a fiscally responsible manner.

Plans for the development of the library collection may be written by library staff every 3 years or after a library strategic plan is released, whichever comes first. These plans may outline selection, acquisition procedures, reviewing tools, and maintenance of the collection. Collection Development Plans shall be in compliance with and responsive to this policy.

Patron Recommendations

Patrons may request items the Library does not own. Requests may be made via the library website, email to any staff member, or via select library apps including Overdrive and Libby. Each request is reviewed for inclusion in the collection using the selection criteria.

Criteria for Selection

The Library’s professional staff will use their training, knowledge and expertise along with the following general criteria to select materials for the collection:

  • Relevance to the interests and needs of the community.

  • Extent of publicity, critical review and current or anticipated demand.

  • Awards, prizes, or other tokens of recognition of excellence received by the title, author, or artist.

  • Current or historical significance of the author or subject.

  • Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Reputation and qualifications of the author, publisher, or producer, with preference generally given to titles vetted in the mainstream editing and publishing industry and titles published by well established, independent publishers.

  • Representation of challenging ideas, including the logic of the presentation, although the idea may be an extreme or minority point of view.

  • Diversity of views, topics, and intersectional character backgrounds.

  • Suitability of format to library circulation and use.

  • Date of publication.

  • Price, availability, and library materials budget.

Online resources will be evaluated using the above criteria as well as: 

Criteria for Weeding and Withdrawal

Criteria to withdraw an item from the collection includes but is not limited to:  

  • Damage or poor condition.

  • Expired relevance to the needs and interests of the community.

  • Requests from the author or publisher to remove the title from the collection.

  • Infrequent use and lack of demand.

  • Accuracy of the provided information.

  • Availability elsewhere, including other libraries in the SHARE Consortium and online.

In addition, staff use the following guidelines for the withdrawal and sale of items from special collections: 

  • Curatorial or environmental requirements exceed the resources of the Library.

  • Relevance to the scope of the special collection.

Request for Reconsideration

The library will reconsider any material in its collection upon written request of a patron, who follows the steps below:

  1. The patrons will be given a copy of the Kenosha Public Library Collection Development Policy, which includes the Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form. This is available at the Information Desk at each library.

  2. If the patron wants to pursue the reconsideration, the completed reconsideration form must be submitted to the Division Head of Support Services. The Division Head of Support Services will notify the patron by letter within two (2) weeks confirming that their request has been received. The Division Head of Support Services will appoint a staff committee to review the item being questioned and make a recommendation to the Library Director within six (6) weeks of receiving the initial request.

  3. The Library Director will decide whether or not the item should be retained and the patron will be informed of the decision within three weeks of receiving the staff recommendation.

  4. The patron may appeal the Library Director’s decision to the Library Board within two (2) months of receiving the Library Director's reply.


The Library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts which do not comply with the Library’s objectives and policies may be refused. The Library does not accept gifts of used magazines, textbooks, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, audio cassettes, and abridged books on tape.

Monetary gifts for materials are welcome. Suggestions will be accepted from the donor for purchase of materials in designated areas of interest. Gifts of money or materials may be designated as memorials or to honor a person or an event. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift either before or after its acceptance by the Library.

Appendix A: Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

  7. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996; amended January 29, 2019.

Appendix B: Freedom to Read

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently arise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

  2. Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  3. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

  4. Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  5. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

  6. No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  7. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

  8. To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  9. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

  10. The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  11. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

  12. It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  13. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

  14. The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

Appendix C: Freedom to View

The Freedom to view, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest possible access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Library of circulation is essential to ensure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.

  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.

  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film video, and other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.

  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view. This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View 

Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979.

This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Appendix D: ALA Code of Ethics 

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staff.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.

  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.

  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.

  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.

  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28, 1995; and January 22, 2008.

Approved, KPL Board of Trustees: 
Tuesday, September 14, 2021