Lone Star Digital Library Collection Development

  1. Introduction
  2. Collection Development
    1. Collection Responsibilities
    2. Lone Star Digital Library Selection Team
    3. Annual Purchasing Plan
    4. Scope of Collection
    5. Selection Practices
    6. Selection Criteria
    7. Selection Tools
    8. Gift Policy
    9. Weeding
  3. Intellectual Freedom
  4. Reconsideration of Materials
  5. Review of Policy
  6. Addenda

  1. Introduction

Lone Star Digital Library (LSDL) is a regional consortium of South Texas libraries that subscribe to a service for downloadable books, audio books, videos and music. The service is currently provided through the vendor OverDrive. The goal of the consortium is to develop a collection that is useful to a broad range of patron interests and to realize economy of scale through the pooling of resources. The majority of materials selection is done by the Lone Star Digital Library Selection Team whose members are chosen from LSDL member libraries.

Information regarding member libraries and their annual contributions, current parameters regarding circulation, holds ratios, etc., and the annual purchasing plan are located in Addendum 1.

 II. Collection Development

  1. Collection Responsibilities

Developing and maintaining the collection falls to the member libraries and selectors serving on the selection team. All member libraries are required to assist with maintaining the current holds ratio and re-purchasing expired titles that patrons have on hold. Member libraries are also responsible for purchasing any patron requests originating from their individual libraries. Each member library agrees to allocate a percentage of its annual content credit to the consortium as a whole, to be used by the selectors to purchase materials on behalf of the consortium. There may be special circumstances that exempt a library allocating content credit to selectors, but this must be approved at a consortium level prior to the start of the fiscal year.

b. Lone Star Digital Library Selection Team

Selection activities on behalf of the consortium are carried out by the Lone Star Digital Library Selection Team. The selectors on the team will serve for a period of 12 months beginning in October of each year. Selectors will make a commitment to select materials monthly on behalf of the entire consortium. Selection duties for specific areas of the collection will be allocated by interest, expertise and qualification.

The selectors agree to purchase on behalf of the consortium according to this policy and to the purchasing plan listed in Addendum 1. Selectors must be employed by an LSDL member library, are expected to be knowledgeable about what materials are available through the vendor utilized by LSDL, what materials are in demand by LSDL patrons, and how to use the marketplace and reporting features of the vendor. Selectors are expected to be aware of publisher restrictions on the sale of digital media to libraries, as well as major economic, legal, and technological developments which impact selection activities. Selectors are also expected to be actively involved in collection development activities at their own libraries.

c.     Annual Purchasing Plan

LSDL members will update in September of each year the annual purchasing plan specifying the consortium’s priorities for the upcoming year based on the previous year’s circulation, customer usage, changes to the consortium, or any outside factors (e.g. technology trends or new digital formats). The plan will outline how the anticipated budgeted funds will be allocated for the coming year (e.g., between fiction/nonfiction titles, between audiobooks and e-books, between Adult and YA/Juvenile materials, etc.) and will include the current ratio of holds to items purchased and annual priorities for any windfall funds.

d.    Scope of Collection

LSDL is funded by its member libraries. Member libraries pay into the consortium and in return receive access to the entire digital collaborative collection on behalf of their library card-holders and authorized users. The community served by this collection is incredibly diverse so the collection itself must reflect the needs, interests, and viewpoints of this large community in its entirety, taking into consideration access needs in a digital environment.  

The collection is broad, current, and popular and is intended to serve the general patron instead of the researcher. This collection is not concerned with being completely comprehensive and some subject areas or genres are collected in greater depth than others, as a reflection of current use and demand. LSDL aims for a balance of popular materials and those in line with the institutional goals of public libraries. The materials chosen support general interest in a broad range of categories and a variety of reading and comprehension levels. Titles selected may reflect contemporary significance instead of long-term enduring value. Materials in languages other than English may be added if there is determined community need and title availability.

The collection may also include materials that are classified as local content either by an author, publisher or subject matter relating to a member library’s community and are locally procured by selectors rather than purchased through a distributor.

Each member library may also choose to establish a separate account with content available only to their own patrons and subject to the library’s own collection development policy. The type of account through which to do this is Overdrive’s Advantage Plus account. Advantage Plus account titles can be shared with all consortium members, but usage priority is given to the customers of the library that originally purchased the title. LSDL members can choose to opt out of sharing their Advantage Plus purchases if they wish and will need to arrange that option the consortium’s Overdrive support staff.

       e.     Selection Practices

In order to build and maintain a dynamic collection that meets the needs of all LSDL patrons, selectors will:

  • Utilize all available tools to analyze and respond to patron demand.
  • Purchase a variety of materials (e.g., e-books, audiobooks) in preferred formats (e.g., EPUB, Kindle, MP3) in a variety of genres/subjects based on selector expertise, patron demand, and the annual purchasing plan.
  • Order regularly to ensure quick availability of new, popular titles and to equalize spending over time.
  • Practice fiscal responsibility by spending wisely, maintaining adequate records of expenditure, and analyzing usage/popularity of previous purchases.

f.     Selection Criteria

The following criteria are taken into consideration when selectors are choosing materials.  An item need not meet all of the criteria to be selected.   

  • Identified, expressed, or anticipated demand in the general community
  • Availability of titles from vendors
  • Contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • Attention of critics and reviewers
  • Prominence, authority, significance, and/or competence of author or creator
  • Timeliness and accuracy of material including new editions of existing materials.
  • Relation to existing collections, such as titles in a series
  • Statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • Authenticity of historical, regional, or social setting
  • Suitability of subject matter for youth
  • Appropriate reading level for youth

The following materials are generally not purchased:

  • E-books of minimal length
  • Abridged audiobooks (exceptions can be made for popular titles that are not available in unabridged versions)
  • Materials primarily of interest to an academic or expert audience

When purchasing new content, preference is given to the following materials:

  • Fiction and non-fiction, with focus on popular/bestselling titles in each
  • Titles by popular authors
  • New books in series already owned by the consortium
  • Older books to fill “holes” in series already owned by the consortium
  • Award winners, classics, and perennial favorites
  • Patron requests (providing they are available and generally fit in with other collection development guidelines)
  • Timely materials, particularly in popular non-fiction subject areas (travel, computer books, health, etc.)

Customer demand for an author, title or subject is an important criterion.   All patron purchase requests are welcomed and should be reviewed and added when appropriate for the collection by the patron’s member library.

Title Availability
Given the volatile world of digital rights and publishers, it is important to note that although titles may be available for purchase to consumers from various outlets, they may not be available to LSDL patrons because certain major publishers do not allow public libraries to purchase digital editions of titles, and/or place embargos on new titles for a designated time period.   

Format Factors

  • Affordability
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Illustration rendering in books for youth or in graphic novels
  • Narrator’s qualifications for audio books
  • Stability of content
  • Titles with simultaneous use rights

g.    Selection Tools

Standard selection tools such as collection lists, recommended lists, award lists, recommended/notable titles, and professional journal reviews may be used to identify items for selection. Professional library journals are given preference, along with other recognized review sources and lists such as the following:

  • Kirkus
  • Booklist
  • School Library Journal
  • Library Journal
  • New York Times Book Review
  • Publisher’s Weekly
  • Horn Book
  • New York Times Combined Print and E-book Bestseller List
  • New York Time Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List

Reports are available that can assist selectors with evaluating demand and identifying circulation trends. Selectors should be familiar with these reports and generate/analyze them on a regular basis. These reports include:

  • Turnover Rate Charts (average # of checkouts per copy)
  • Activity Charts (see what titles/subjects/etc… circulate the most)
  • View Title Statistics (view the top circulating titles for a specific time period)
  • Holds/Current Waiting List (see what titles patrons are requesting/waiting for)

h.    Gift Policy
Given technical and licensing limitations as they stand today, the Lone Star Digital Library is unable to accept gifts of personally purchased e-books at this time. Donated money for specific titles may be accepted through a member library, depending on that library’s policy, though items must meet the selection criteria outlined above.

No conditions may be imposed relating to any gift either before or after its acceptance by the Lone Star Digital Library. Donated materials or purchases made with donated monies are subject to the same selection, evaluation, and disposal criteria as other materials selected for purchase.

i.     Weeding
Although a digital collection does not have the same space constraints of a physical collection, weeding is necessary to upgrade the collection in terms of relevance, patron ease of use and searching, and circulation statistics. Weeding also allows for greater review of the collection, helping to determine gaps and deficiencies, assisting selectors in creating a collection that is more responsive to patron demand and need. Finally, weeding should reflect the commitment to maintaining a collection composed of the best formats and editions, and removing non-preferred formats and editions when necessary.

Weeding may take the form of re-evaluating subscription-based titles (e.g., Maximum Access subscriptions), not renewing limited-circulation items (e.g., Harper-Collins 26-circulation items) or removing items from the catalog. The selectors will be responsible for coordinating weeding activities, and presenting recommendations to the Consortium for final approval.

III. Intellectual Freedom 

LSDL aims to provide a collection with information spanning a broad spectrum of opinions. LSDL directs patrons to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View statements located in Addendum 2. These principles guide the materials selection policies.

Selection decisions are based on the criteria above, as well as the expressed and anticipated needs of the broad regional community. The works included in the Lone Star Digital Library will be inclusive of diverse cultures and opinions, not just the culture and opinion of any one particular community.

LSDL recognizes that some materials may be controversial or offensive to an individual, but maintains that individuals can apply their values to only themselves. Parents have the responsibility and right to guide the values of their children. An opinion represented in the collection is an expression of LSDL’s commitment to intellectual freedom and not an endorsement of a point of view or opinion.

IV.        Reconsideration of Materials

Lone Star Digital member libraries have the right and obligation to respond to their patron's inquiries, including material challenges. If a customer of a member library wishes to have a digital item considered for removal from the Lone Star Digital Library collection, the library should have their consortium representative submit the challenge information to one of the current LSDL selectors. The selector, in turn, will notify each of the consortium members of the challenge and an ad hoc committee will form to review the challenge and make a final decision.  

Material challenges must be in writing and can be submitted on the member library’s regular materials reconsideration form.

Removal of a title in a physical format (e.g. book, book on CD, DVD) in response to a challenge on the local level does not mean the digital format of the same title will be removed from the shared holdings of the consortium.  

V.        Review

This policy will be periodically revisited by the Lone Star Digital members.   Addendum information will be reviewed annually in September.


Adopted December 2017.

VI.         Addendum 1

a.            Members and Annual Payments

Information on consortium members and annual contributions is kept in a Google docs spreadsheet.

Member libraries should update the Google doc monthly to reflect the amount they spent on behalf of their library or area of focus as a selector.

The consortium is currently comprised of 32 members who contribute $62,515.85 total to Overdrive for content purchases. Approximately $51,804.99 is used by the selectors to purchase titles for the consortium, while the remaining amount is used by individual libraries for local purchases.

b.            Current Circulation Parameters

Check-out Allowance     8 items
Holds Allowance              8 items
Wish List Allowance        Unlimited
Check-out Time               14 days
Hold Time                           3 days
Automatic check-out      Enabled

c.             Current Collection Development Purchasing Plan

Percentage of member library’s content credit to be used for consortium purposes        90%
Percentage of member library’s content credit to be used for local purposes                      10%

The consortium’s current annual content credit is to be spent on approximately 60% ebooks and 40% audiobooks. Video and music are not a focus at this time.  Audiobooks will be purchased in unabridged format whenever possible.

Selectors will be assigned to specific areas and purchase materials each month within those specific areas. These purchases will use the following percentages as a guideline:

55% of content credit on Adult Fiction
10% of content credit on Adult Non-Fiction
15% of content credit on Juvenile Literature
20% of content credit on YA
0% Video
0% Music

Selectors will purchase both e-books and audiobooks within their respective areas.

Any unexpected additional funds will be spent on extra copies of popular titles, replacement of expired content if still appropriate for the collection, sales, or development of a particular collection, e.g. early readers, graphic novels, video, etc.

d.            Current Holds Ratio

1 copy per every 10 holds

Discretion is to be exercised when the ratio is just above or below the stated number. Factors that affect the ratio include whether the item is at the end or beginning of peak demand, how many copies the consortium owns, and cost.

e.            Current Selection Team



Area of Focus

Courtney Meissner

New Braunfels Public Library


Montana Rindahl

Mammen Family Public Library


Silvia Christy

Seguin Public Library

Adult Fiction

Kristin Bowman

Mammen Family Public Library

Adult Fiction



Adult Fiction

Natalie Shults

Schertz Public Library

Adult Non-Fiction

Alison Harbour




 Adopted December 2017. Revised 1/29/2018.

VII.       Addendum 2

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.

I. 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.

II. 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.

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

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

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

VI. 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.

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.


Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.


The Freedom to Read Statement

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 rise 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 the 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. 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.

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 the 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.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association

Association of American Publishers


Subsequently endorsed by:

American Booksellers for Free Expression

The Association of American University Presses

The Children's Book Council

Freedom to Read Foundation

National Association of College Stores

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Council of Teachers of English

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression



Freedom to View Statement

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 access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure 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, or 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.


Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council