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Collections Policies

General: Collection development refers to the ongoing process of assessing the materials available for purchase or licensing and making the decision, first on their inclusion, and second on their retention or removal. This policy defines the scope of the collection and provides a framework for the continuing development of materials and resources available at the Washington County Free Library (WCFL). This policy is a system-wide policy intended for application in all libraries within the Washington County Free Library System.

Selection Philosophy: The Washington County Free Library selects, maintains, and provides access to information, services, and materials in a variety of formats to fulfill the educational, informational, recreational, and cultural needs of the Washington County community. Since no library can possibly acquire all print and non-print materials, every library must, by necessity, employ a policy of selectivity in its acquisitions.

It is the function of the Washington County Free Library to provide materials for all citizens, inclusive of, but not limited to, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, religious or spiritual beliefs, race, ethnicity, disability, or national origin. Providing free access to these materials allows our entire community to explore, learn, create, and connect.

WCFL endeavors to provide a balanced and reliable collection covering a range of opinions across many subject areas; limitations are those of space and budget. A balanced collection provides information in a variety of formats and reflects the diverse interests, ideals, and needs of all segments of the community, and also allows for discovery, exploration and enlightenment. In order to achieve a balanced collection, selectors will exercise open-mindedness and flexibility when evaluating materials for inclusion into the collection. Selection is based upon established library principles. Labels, such as call numbers or genre designation, will be added only as viewpoint-neutral directional aids. Labels will not be added to materials as a value judgment or to warn of content or themes in an item. Because items move back and forth between branches, and within the three library systems covered by the Western Maryland Regional Library, all materials will not be available at all branches. Materials that are no longer used in one branch may be reassigned to another.

Full Policy


General: The Washington County Free Library’s (WCFL) materials are selected according to the parameters and framework provided by the Library’s Collection Development Policy. WCFL believes that books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people in the communities we serve, and that libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues in order to reflect the diversity found in contemporary society. Consequently, the collection may include material which is controversial or offensive to some. The Library acknowledges that occasionally patrons may have complaints or concerns about individual materials or categories of materials in the collection. WCFL will handle these concerns systematically and equally with due consideration as described in this policy, ensuring that the complainant is respectfully heard, while still adhering to the parameters of the Collection Development Policy and the fundamental principles of intellectual freedom, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.

Because the WCFL adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, it does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection or retention of an item express or imply endorsement of the viewpoint of the author or content of the item. Library materials will not be excluded based on expressions, including, and not limited to those of race, religious or spiritual views, gender, nationality, politics, or social views, nor because of the race, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, or the political, social, or religious views, or other status, of the author.

Choice of library materials and resources for personal use is an individual matter. WCFL relies on each individual's freedom of choice to select or to not select materials for their needs. Any patron is free to reject materials for their own use if that patron does not personally approve of them.

Full Policy

Request for Reconsideration Form