Collection development policy

Policy 600-1

The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) is a statewide system of libraries consisting of the Hawaii State Library (HSL), the Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD), regional libraries, community libraries, and public/school libraries.

HSPLS provides general and special library services for all individuals and groups in the state, pursuant to the Hawaii Constitution1, statutory authority2, and Executive Order3.

In accordance with the mission of the Hawaii State Public Library System, the library selects materials in a variety of formats and languages to serve the needs of the community and to provide a broad and relevant collection.  Selection is based on awareness of community interests and concerns, local, national and international issues and events, publishing trends, new insights, societal trends, and the professional judgment of selectors regarding the material’s value to the library’s collection. It is the library’s intention that the collection reflects the diversity of the State of Hawaii.


The library will uphold the freedom to read as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association (see links to documents at the end of this document). 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

Responsibility of selection

Responsibility for selection policy resides with the state librarian and the Board of Education.  Decisions regarding the selection of books and other resources are the responsibility of the public service librarians of HSPLS, pursuant to statutory authority4.

Selection criteria

HSPLS selects materials for its collection for audiences of all ages in whatever format is most appropriate in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. No material will be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social views of the author. Selection of materials does not imply agreement with, approval or endorsement of the content, viewpoint, implication, or expression of the material.

Electronic resources such as e-books, e-serials (including journals), government documents, databases (including locally mounted, full text or not), electronic files, reference tools, scores, maps, or pictures in electronic or digital format, including materials digitized by the library, are subject to the same general selection criteria as other materials.

General criteria:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Suitability of format or physical form for library use
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • Relevance of the item as an artifact
  • Relevance of item for its historic significance
  • Availability in multiple formats
  • Cost
  • Relevance to current trends and events
  • Relation to the existing collection
  • Attention by critics and reviewers
  • Potential user appeal
  • Requests from patrons

Content criteria for selection:

  • Comprehensiveness
  • Skill, competence and purpose of author or publisher
  • Reputation and qualifications of the author or publisher
  • Consideration of the work as a whole
  • Currency
  • Objectivity
  • Clarity
  • Technical quality
  • Representation of diverse points of view
  • Representation of movements, subjects, genres or trends of lasting patron interest
  • Artistic presentation and/or experimentation
  • Sustained interest/demand
  • Relevance and use of the information
  • Relevance to local history collections
  • Provides unique contribution to a field of study

Additional criteria for electronic formats

  • Ease of use of the product
  • Availability of the product to multiple, concurrent users
  • Technical and support requirements needed for access to the product


The library recognizes and respects intellectual property rights and conforms to legislative mandates regarding copyright protections.

Gifts and donations

HSPLS accepts monetary gifts to enhance our materials collection.  Gifts of material are subject to the evaluation criteria stated for the selection of materials.  Additionally, the library must consider cataloging, processing, and shelving costs before adding materials.  Donations are accepted with the understanding that HSPLS has the right to determine the disposition of gift items.  Materials not accepted are offered to the Friends of the library for their book sales. HSPLS follows Chapter 8-209, Hawaii Administrative Rules, relating to donations to public libraries.

Collection maintenance (weeding)

Staff relies on a set of criteria to guide on-going collection maintenance decisions. Based on the evaluation, materials may either be kept, replacement copies may be purchased, materials may be preserved to ensure long term retention, or materials may be permanently withdrawn from the collection. Not all criteria will be applied to each de-selection decision.

General criteria for de-selection:

  • Format or physical condition is no longer suitable for library use
  • Content is available in multiple formats
  • Age and condition of the item is unsuitable for library circulation
  • Obsolescence – information that is no longer timely, accurate or relevant
  • Insufficient use or lack of patron demand
  • Little or no relevance to current trends and events
  • No long-term or historical significance
  • Space limitations
  • Sufficient number of copies in the collection
  • Easy availability in other collections locally or nationally

Reconsideration of library materials

HSPLS recognizes the rights of individuals to question materials in the collection.  Objections must be submitted in writing on the Patron Request for Reevaluation of Library Material form.  Retention or removal of materials is based on conformity to the selection criteria.  Materials under question will remain in the active collection until a determination is made.

Links to Documents:

A.    Library Bill of Rights

B.    The Freedom to Read Statement

C.   Freedom to View

D.   Patron Request for Reevaluation of Library Materials

Approved: June 21, 2016

1 Article X, Section 1, State Constitution, 1993 edition
2 Act of 1959, Act I, Section 18, 2nd Special Session, First State Legislature 1959
3 Executive Order No. 19, dated September 30, 1961
4 Hawaii Revised Statutes 312-2.9(b)

In State observance of the King Kamehameha I Day holiday, all public libraries will be closed on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

In State observance of the Memorial Day holiday, all public libraries will be closed May 25 to 27, 2024.