Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees on January 9, 2002 and updated October 11, 2023

NOTE: This policy does not cover materials in the Napa Valley Wine Library Collection


The St. Helena Public Library's mission is to provide a safe environment, free to all, with opportunities and resources to inspire lifelong learning, reading, discovery, and delight; to provide support for individual and community education and growth; and to connect members of our diverse community through welcoming spaces, outreach, expertise, technology, and innovation.

                                                            Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees, April 2021


The collection of the St. Helena Public Library serves the educational, recreational, and entertainment needs of the community. As a result, the Library selects materials in a variety of formats and languages for its collection that support its mission, vision, and values. Selections are made by library staff to provide a broad and relevant collection. Material selection is based on awareness of community interests and concerns, national and international issues and events, publishing trends, new insights, societal trends, and the professional judgment of staff regarding the material’s value to the Library’s collection. Usage and customer demand are the most important influences on the Library’s collection.

The St. Helena Public Library is committed to the tenets of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement and upholds the right of individuals to access information that others may find controversial, unacceptable, offensive, shocking, meritless, or of no interest.  While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted. The Library does not stand in loco parentis (in the place of parents). Parents and guardians, not the Library or staff, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing choices of their own minor children and to determine which materials are welcome in their homes. Inherent in this approach is the acknowledgement that every family and home is unique. As a result, the Library does not limit access to materials based on age or any other characteristic.

The Library considers the following criteria when determining whether to add a title to the collection:

  1. Community needs and interest
  2. Publicity and review
  3. Demand, both current and anticipated
  4. Relationship to the existing collection
  5. Reputation and qualification of the creator, publisher, or producer
  6. Suitability of the format to library circulation and use
  7. Publication date
  8. Price and availability from library vendors
  9. Whether the title has been vetted through traditional channels of publication or release.       

The collection is intended for the use of the general public. Scholarly, scientific, and technical works intended for specialists are generally outside the scope of the collection. Specific materials representing every type of literature, subject, or format are not able to be included due to the constraints of available space, service requirements, budgets, and the nature of the collection, although broad coverage is attempted.


The St. Helena Public Library obtains, organizes, and makes available materials which record the history, thought, expression, knowledge, and opinion of all peoples, which provide information about employment, community, the world and one's place in it, and which serve the recreational needs of the community. Although the library is a repository of this collective awareness, it does not serve an archival function in its general collections. Materials are actively deselected as the need for them diminishes. Deselection of material from circulating collections is a vital part of successful collection maintenance. Our special non-circulating collections on California history and wine, however, are archival in nature. Deselecting of these collections is minimal.

In general, materials will be deselected based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Physical condition
  • Superseded by newer materials
  • Lack of circulation
  • Out-dated or obsolete material
  • Subject matter no longer fills a need


The ultimate responsibility for selection, replacement, and deselection of library materials rests with the Library Director. In making selections, professional staff of the Library do so in a manner based upon established principles of librarianship rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Selection endeavors to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Variety and a balance of opinion are sought.

The day-to-day selection, replacement, and withdrawal of materials is delegated to library staff and utilizes recommendations by professional librarians and paraprofessional employees. All staff members and the general public are welcome to recommend materials for consideration. While professionally‑trained librarians rely upon a variety of skills and published sources to identify materials selected for inclusion in the library collection, it is the Library's policy to give serious consideration to recommendations received from members of the public, while applying the stated selection criteria to these recommendations.


Comments from patrons regarding the collection or specific items in the collection are welcomed. The Library considers patron input to be a valuable part of collection development to be used along with the other factors governing the selection process.

Requests from patrons for specific titles that are not in the collection are welcomed. The decision as to purchase is based on the same selection criteria as other purchases for the collection.

The Library appreciates gifts of materials. Gifts of books and other items are accepted with the understanding that they may be used or disposed of as the Library determines is appropriate. Before adding gifts to the collection, they will be evaluated according to the same criteria as purchased materials. Authors who live within the boundaries of Napa County may donate one copy of their book to be considered for inclusion in the Local Collection. These donations will be given consideration for addition based on selection criteria used for other resources, but no guarantee is made they will be included. The St. Helena Public Library does not purchase unsolicited materials or act in lieu of professional review sources. Items donated to the Library become the property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donating party. Donated titles are subject to library policies regarding deselecting due to condition, lack of use, or space constraints.

St. Helena Public Library cardholders may request reconsideration of a selection decision or classification of library material by submitting the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form. The Library Director will respond in writing to the individual’s request.

The St. Helena Public Library Board of Trustees, upon request, will hear appeals of the Library Director’s written response. Appeals must be presented in writing to the Board at least ten days in advance of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. Decisions on appeals are based on careful review of the objection, St. Helena Public Library policy, the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, and guidelines on intellectual freedom. The final decision on appeals rests with the St. Helena Public Library Board of Trustees.

PDF iconSHPL Collection Development Policy 2023

PDF iconSHPL Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form