This Collection Development Policy supports the Library in its mission and defines the purpose and objectives of QPL community libraries and Central Library collections, and gives direction to their growth and development.

The Library is a forum for all points of view on current and historical issues, and adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement, adopted by the American Library Association (“ALA”) and attached to this Policy. It is the goal of the Queens Public Library to make available to its customers materials that reflect the diverse, multi ethnic and multi-lingual communities served by its community libraries and Central Library collections.

The Library opposes any attempts by individuals or groups of individuals to censor materials selected for its community libraries and Central Library collections. Further, the Library's decision to acquire or remove materials from its collections will not be determined by partisan or doctrinal points of view. It is the Library's goal to offer the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature. The Library's decision to acquire material does not constitute endorsement of the material's content. Customers are free to challenge the presence of material in any collection and may request, in writing, reconsideration of the appropriateness of the item in question. The Library does not support or subscribe to any system of industry coding, rating or labeling.

The Library provides free access to all materials, in print, non-print and electronic formats, to all customers, who are free to select or reject any item for their personal use. Responsibility for a child's use of library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or guardian, not the Library.

The Queens Public Library consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology center, four teen centers, and a teen library, which serve the culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse population of the borough of Queens. Additionally the Central Library special subject collections support the academic, professional and technical research needs of the borough. The branch library locations house general and special interest circulating and reference collections for all age groups: children, teens, college students, adults and senior adults, in languages that represent the ethno-linguistic character of the local community. It is the Library's intention that the collection in each library addresses the individual needs and interests of its immediate community and to the degree possible, reflect the diversity of the entire borough.


Print and Audio Visual Media

This category includes: books (including large print material); audiobook and music compact discs; DVDs and Blu-Ray discs; photographs; music scores; maps; New York State, New York City and United States government documents; magazines; and newspapers.

Digital Media

The Library provides customers with access to the Internet and other electronic resources, and supports the ALA’s statement on Access to Digital Resources and Services.

The Library also provides electronic resources such as databases, journals, ebooks, e-audiobooks, e-magazines, e-newspapers, streaming video, and MP3s. These electronic formats enable flexibility in adding depth and breadth to the collection systemwide. Customers can access these collections and resources within and beyond the physical facilities of the Library.


General Criteria

General criteria for selecting print and electronic materials includes popular demand, accuracy, subject matter importance, material timeliness, a material’s permanent value as a standard work, author authority and reputation, critical reception, subject suitability, binding quality, availability, and the cost.

The Library's collections reflect the ALA's Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements and strive to provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the creator or publisher, or on the basis of controversial content.

In addition to examining materials that come to the Library through publishers and vendors, staff regularly consults review sources that include the following as part of the material selection process: Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, the Horn Book, the New York Times Book Review, Multimedia World, Multicultural Review, Quarterly Black Review, the Lambda Review, Choice, World Literature Today, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, literary award winners and nominee lists, and various Internet sources.

In order to ensure the efficient purchase and timely acquisition of important new titles in our circulating and reference collections, materials are selected and purchased 4-6 weeks (about 1 ½ months) in advance of publication.

Titles are selected by Collection Development Division staff and are purchased with a special system-wide fund monitored in the Collection Development Division.

This centralized Division is intended to be the primary source of new title selection and purchase at the community libraries. It is the responsibility of Community Library and Central Library staff to supplement the local needs and interests by either using allocated funds or informing the Collection Development Division. It is the responsibility of public service managers to assess the need for replacing material that is damaged or lost from the collection.

Age-Based Criteria


The Queens Public Library Juvenile collections provide materials for children from birth through age 11, as well as adults who care for and work with them. These collections provide engaging and developmentally appropriate print and digital media of the best quality for recreational use, general information, and early literacy and elementary school level curriculum support. Materials are selected with an emphasis on literacy excellence, high quality art and illustrations, accurate and up-to-date information, customer interest and popularity, and with reference to professional review sources. Hard cover material not approved for purchase is not acquired in any other format.


The Queens Public Library Teen collections are designed to serve youth ages 12 through 19. They contain print and other digital media of the best quality available for recreational use, general information, and middle school and high school curriculum support. These collections are intended to stimulate young people’s interest in reading and the world around them. Materials are selected with an emphasis on customer interest and popularity, accurate and up-to-date information, and with reference to professional review sources.

Criteria for Materials in Languages Other Than English

Although the Library primarily collects materials in the English language, in order to address the ethno-linguistic needs of its diverse population, print and non-print collections are maintained in languages other than English, which reflect local community needs. These general interest collections, which are also under the responsibility of Collection Development Division, are tailored to meet the needs of immigrants. They are intended to guarantee equity of access to the borough's diverse population and are integral parts of the community libraries’ collections. The materials are further intended to assist in the acculturation process and to help maintain a connection to native languages and cultures.

Development of the community library collections in languages other than English, which address individual community needs, also falls under the responsibility of the community library managers.

The Central Library houses the Library's largest collection in languages other than English, which help serve every community’s needs.


Central Library General Reference and Circulating Collections

The Central Library collections are designed to meet the needs of the residents of Queens as well as to provide system-wide material back up. The collections also support graduate degree research needs in multiple subjects. The Central Library is also a Federal Depository Library for United States government documents as well as documents for New York State and New York City. It is the responsibility of the Central Library to retain materials containing information of historical value, which could be lost in current and future editions of a work. Information too dated to warrant being retained in current circulating collections is retained for historical perspective in given subjects.

The Archives of the Queens Public Library

The Archives of the Queens Public Library, housed in the Central Library, exist to preserve, organize, and manage the use of materials that deal with the geography and the natural, cultural, social, economic and political history, both past and present, of the four counties of Long Island. Printed monographs, serials, pamphlets and broadsides, manuscripts, photographs, prints, drawings, maps and plans are collected comprehensively. The collection is under the responsibility of the Central Library Manager of Unique Services.

The Black Heritage Reference Collection

The Black Heritage Reference Collection is housed in the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center and exists to document the African American and African diasporic experience, to preserve Black culture and heritage, and to promote and support the study of Black history and culture. The Black Heritage Reference Collection serves as a deterrent against cultural deprivation, historical misconceptions, misinformation, and image distortion. The collection consists of books, films, videos, doctoral dissertations, periodicals, pamphlets, compact discs, phonograph records, audio cassettes, posters, artifacts, and letters.

Carter G. Woodson Collection

The Carter G. Woodson Collection, housed in the Central Library, is comprised of books on the African American history and life with a special emphasis given to the enslaved experience. The scope of the collection covers Blacks who were born in the United States or who were brought here as enslaved people. The content of the collection is scholarly and provides research materials for scholars in the field, students, and others with general interest. The collection is to preserve Dr. Woodson’s legacy and tradition of disseminating information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community.


When evaluating print materials, collection maintenance usually involves the continual care of materials, including accurate and efficient shelving (and re-shelving), shelf-reading, shifting, and cleaning. With digital materials, collection maintenance includes consideration of continued sufficient coverage of databases or other electronic reference sources, and publishers’ lending models and licensing agreements on e-books and all other e-content formats. All materials are considered for weeding based on accuracy, currency, and relevancy. Space limitations, availability of newer editions, format, physical condition, number of copies, and circulation history are considered when evaluating physical materials.


All materials presented to the Library as donations are subject to the same scrutiny and review as those that purchased. The Library reserves the right to dispose of donations, as it deems appropriate. Material received as donations may be included in collections, sent to an online vendor, or discarded.

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