Collection Development Policy

Wake County Public Libraries (WCPL) Mission & Service Priorities

Our Mission

To instill the love of reading and to foster the pursuit of knowledge for the residents of Wake County.  

Our Priorities

To reach our mission, we are guided by the following five priorities:  

  • Services to children 
  • Recreational reading 
  • Being a center of lifelong learning 
  • The library as community center 
  • Bridging the technology gap 

The population of Wake County is diverse and growing larger every day. We operate multiple librariesi that serve over 1.1 million citizens spread across 847 square miles. Learn more about Wake County demographics hereii.  We embrace the Wake County Core Values:iii Act with integrity; Be accountable; Embrace diversity; Work together; Make it better; Nurture health and well-being; and Serve with passion and empathy. These values guide how we conduct ourselves, how we work with each other, and how we interact with the communities in which we serve.

Principles & Philosophy

Lifelong Learning and Enrichment

WCPL strives to curate a diverse collection that meets the needs of an expansion of knowledge, perspectives, backgrounds, enlightenment, recreational reading, professional development, and human experience. 

Purpose of Collection Development Policy

The collection development policy provides guidance, within budgetary and space limitations, for the selection and evaluation of materials that anticipate and meet the needs and interests of our diverse community. It outlines best practices for maintaining the collection over time and defines policies that protect the collection from societal and political pressures. The policy honors the Core Values embraced by Wake County Government and offers transparency to the public and library staff about collection development processes. 

Intellectual Freedom

WCPL recognizes the freedom to read as a protected right established by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United Statesv. The freedom to read is an intellectual freedom, a pillar of the democratic process, and the foundation of our beliefs as a nation. With this in mind, WCPL fully supports the ability to read, seek, and receive information from multiple viewpoints for the enlightenment of all people. Along with these ideals, the library fully endorses the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rightsvi, Freedom to Readvii, Freedom to Viewviii, Statement on Labelingix, and Free Access to Libraries for Minorsx. 

Balanced Collection

WCPL strives to offer a diverse and balanced collection of materials that represents a wide range of topics and viewpoints. This includes materials that may contain controversial, unorthodox, or even unpopular ideas. The presence of an item in the collection does not indicate endorsement of the ideas or viewpoints expressed by the material or creator.   

Patron Protection

WCPL believes that the use of library materials is an individual and private matter. Anyone holding a Wake County Public Library card with borrowing privileges will be allowed to check out materials from the library no matter their origin, age, background, or views, as stated in the Library Bill of Rights xi. We affirm that only parents and legal guardians have the authority and responsibility to determine the use of library materials for their own minor children. Location and display of materials will not be influenced by the possibility that materials might inadvertently come into the possession of minors.  

Format Accessibility

In the interest of having a collection that is useable by a majority of Wake County residents, we select a variety of formats that are readily available where space and budgetary constraints allow. For access to additional materials, we provide an Interlibrary Loanxii service to all cardholders in good standing. 

Collection Management

WCPL’s Collection Development Services (CDS) department maintains a current, relevant, diverse, and enduring collection to meet readers’ needs. We accomplish this through evaluating and selecting titles and continually reviewing the collection to ensure currency and relevancy.  


Selection and content criteria  

WCPL selects general interest materials with a focus on current and enduring titles for the benefit and representation of Wake County residents. WCPL evaluates titles based on our selection criteria:  

  • Positive/favorable reviews in professional journals 
  • High anticipated demand  
  • Circulation statistics for applicable materials (author’s previous works, other books on the same subject matter, popularity of a particular genre or format, etc.)  
  • Advertising budget and publicity 
  • Coverage in national and local media  
  • Balanced and alternative points of view 
  • Existing need (subject or series gaps) 
  • Potential for future interest (movie options, first of a series, genre or format growing in popularity)  
  • Ongoing rather than short-term interest
  • Quality of work and qualifications of author 
  • Scope of work 
  • Usefulness and practicality of a work for a public library with a general audience 
  • High print run relative to similar books 
  • Cost and availability for purchase 
  • Age of title and currency 
  • Anticipated popularity in comparison to other titles 
  • Projected circulation in regard to shelf space limitations 
Suggest a Purchase / Materials Requests  

If WCPL does not own a published title that you want to read, you may submit a Materials Request through our catalog.xiii For more information, including reasons why books may be declined and not selected, please refer to our online Frequently Asked Questions.xiv 

Collection Maintenance

Library staff review and evaluate the collection on an ongoing basis to maintain a current, accurate, and attractive collection. Learn more about the book disposal process.xv 


Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Policy

WCPL serves the public by providing materials to meet our patrons’ needs. The ILL service offers cardholders access to collections beyond what is held in Wake County. Access ILL here.xvi

Gift / Donation information

Learn more about the book donation process.xvii 

Request for Reconsideration

Wake County Public Libraries selects and purchases books and materials to support our mission "to instill the love of reading and to foster the pursuit of knowledge for the residents of Wake County. 
As ours is a free society, Wake County values diversity, equity, and inclusion and supports the right of all people to receive information and ideas, a necessary condition of First Amendment rights. The Wake County Public Library System is committed to balancing this right with the duty to responsibly select and curate library materials for the benefit of all Wake County residents. Not all books in the collection will be suitable for all patrons and may reflect controversial, unorthodox, or even unpopular ideas. We affirm that only parents or legal guardians have the authority and responsibility to determine the use of library materials for their own minor children. 
WCPL accepts requests from Wake County residents and/or permanent cardholders for the review, relocation, or exclusion of any library material. Our policy and process for Requests for Reconsideration are available on WCPL's Policies page.xviii 

Effective 6/1/2022
Approved by Library Leadership Council and Library Commission 6/1/2022