Library Policies

For printable versions of any of the policies listed below, please email [email protected]


  • Pets of any kind are prohibited in library buildings.
  • Service animals are permitted in all library and county buildings in compliance with ADA Accessibility laws. Please see the definition of service animal here:
  • From time to time, exceptions for the presence of animals in library buildings are made for library-related programs.

Collection Development

Purpose of Policy

The development and thoughtful maintenance of the Library’s collection is an essential part of the mission of Manatee County Public Library System (MCPLS). This policy outlines how the selection, organization, and maintenance of library materials, including electronic resources, support that mission. This policy serves the general, educational, recreational, and entertainment needs of the public and reflects the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the community. The collection is not intended to be a research or archival collection, apart from the Eaton Collection and some local historical documents.

The Library is committed to the truth, to trustworthy information, and to fighting all forms of disinformation, censorship, and barriers to free inquiry. The Library supports a patron’s freedom to read, listen to, or view material without infringement by other patrons. The Library creates its collection in partnership with the citizens of Manatee County, seeking input and recommendations on the content that should be acquired.

Responsibility for Material Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of all materials rests with the Library Services Manager, who works within the framework of this policy. The Library Services Manager may delegate to staff the responsibility to interpret and use the policy in daily operations.

Criteria for Selection of Material

The goal of material selection is to fulfill the community’s need for personal enrichment, information, and the joy of reading. Material selection is based on awareness of community interests and concerns, national and international issues, publishing trends, new insights, societal trends, and the professional judgement of selectors on the material’s value to the Library’s collection. Textbooks are not collected except in subject areas where material in another form is not available.

The MCPLS strives to maintain a collection that represents all sides of an issue in an unbiased manner. Material is not excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political or societal views of the author. The selection of materials does not represent the Library’s endorsement of any opinion, belief, or philosophy. An item that meets selection criteria will not be removed from the collection solely because it represents a particular opinion, belief, or philosophy.

The Library does not assume parental responsibility for children’s choices of Library materials. 

Popular demand is balanced by professional evaluation and is considered within the context of the Library’s mission and budgetary limitations. The following criteria are used to determine addition to the collection:

  • Relation to the existing collection
  • Current usefulness or permanent value
  • Importance as a document of the times
  • Popular and community-based demand
  • Authority and competence in presentation
  • Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject
  • High standards of quality content, format, and binding
  • Reputation of the publisher or producer (authority and significance of the author, composer, film producer, etc.)
  • Critical and professional reviews

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan or ILL is the process by which a library requests materials from, or supplies materials to, other libraries. MCPLS serves as a borrower and as a lender. Charges are sometimes levied by other libraries for photocopying and book loaning. These charges are passed on to the customer requesting the service. Books at least one year old from any of our system's circulating collections are available for loan to other library systems. We do not loan items from our non-circulating collections. The library system complies with U.S. copyright law guidelines for interlibrary loan service and to other guidelines detailed in the National Interlibrary Loan Code which concern proper protocols and loan procedures and responsibilities. Limits on this service may be imposed by the lending institution.

Gifts, Memorials, Donations, and Local Authors

MCPLS gratefully accepts donations on a limited basis. The Library reserves the right to evaluate all gifts, donations, and memorial requests in accordance with purchasing criteria. Gifts that do not meet the criteria may be refused. Donors are encouraged to contact the Library prior to the donation of materials. When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of memorial books or collections, the selection will be made in consultation with the donor when possible. Bookplates, donation receipts, and letters of acknowledgment are available for donations. The Library does not appraise the value of donations for tax purposes. Local authors are welcome to donate copies of their book to be considered for addition to the Local Author Collection at the Central Library but are subject to the same criteria as purchased materials. Donated items become property of the Library. 

Special Collections

Eaton Collection
The Eaton Collection serves as a centralized local history resource for the purposes of reference and archival preservation; its geographic scope is historical Manatee County and the greater Southwest Florida region. Books detailing the history of Florida are also selected. Materials include maps, books, high school yearbooks, local city directories, microfilmed local newspapers, transcripts of local historical society minutes, speeches and interviews, photo negatives of local scenes and people, periodicals of local interest, scrapbooks, and other ephemera. Historical fiction titles relevant to the local area or written by local authors may be collected. Local and Florida government documents may be collected. The Eaton collection is a non-circulating collection, but arrangements may be made to fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to accommodate viewing at a Manatee County branch location on a case-by-case basis.

Materials such as speeches, interviews, maps, photos, and postcards have been digitized and are available online in the Historical Digital Collections. The Eaton collection only accepts donations of items that can be digitized (maps, photos, photo negatives, text documents, postcards) or books and pamphlets in good condition and relevant to its scope. Items that are donated or loaned for digitization require a signed Historical Materials Donation Agreement or Historical Materials Loan Agreement. Items loaned to the library, or by the library, for the purpose of exhibition require a signed Historical Materials Loan Agreement.

Genealogy Collection
The geographic scope of the genealogy collection is primarily the United States east of the Mississippi. General books on compiling family histories, researching genealogical sources, and tracing roots to international homelands are also included. All materials are non-circulating and for reference only, but arrangements may be made to fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to accommodate viewing at a Manatee County branch location on a caseby-case basis. Print sources may include atlases, county histories, vital records, or other historical sources that supply names or geographical information that aids in genealogical research. Family histories are generally not purchased but may be added to the collection if donated. Donations are accepted but must meet the same criteria for inclusion as purchased materials. The collection also includes microform records. Collection purchases take into consideration recommendations from local genealogical societies.

Government Documents
The Manatee County Public Library System is a partial selective Federal Depository Library (depository number 0105C). We receive a minimal selection of available print documents.

Collection Maintenance

The Library’s collection is evaluated by library staff on an ongoing and systematic basis, following the American Library Association's Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding guidelines. The library continually withdraws items from the collection, basing its decisions on a number of factors, including publishing date, frequency of circulation, community interest, and availability of newer or more valid materials. Fiction that was once popular but no longer in demand and non-fiction books that are no longer useful are withdrawn from the collection. Withdrawn materials are sold or disposed of in sustainable manner.

Freedom of Access 

MCPLS adheres to the principles contained in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the ALA Code of Ethics. Members of the community may request items the Library does not own by using the Suggestion for Purchase Form. MCPLS welcomes input from the community and strives to meet requests in a timely manner.


Manatee County Public Library considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Library recognizes the right of individuals to request reconsideration of materials in the collection. A Request for Reconsideration Form is available to library card holders. All concerns will be referred to the Library Services Manager who will discuss the matter with the concerned library card holder. The Library Services Manager will meet with the Library Board of Trustees to evaluate the material in question and consider the request. A written response conveying the decision will be made on the requested action within 30 days. If a library card holder still has concerns about the material, they may request an appeal by writing to Chair of the Library Board of Trustees. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with the established policies and procedures of MCPLS. The Board’s ruling is final.

Policy Review

This Collection Development Policy document will be reviewed regularly, no less than triennially by the Library staff, Library Services Manager, and the Library Board. 

Reviewed and approved by the Library Advisory Board at its August 18, 2022, meeting.

Adopted in open session with a quorum present and voting the 11th day of October, 2022 by BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA. Signed by Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge.


Please see the Display Policy page


Book and audiovisual donations:

The library system does not accept material donations directly to staff. However, the Friends of the Library groups at Braden River, Central, Palmetto, and Rocky Bluff locations will take donations directly (donations must be given to the Friends volunteers, rather than library staff).  Library locations

  • Book or DVD donations, in good condition, are accepted by the Friends at Central, Palmetto, and Rocky Bluff locations. They do not accept VHS tapes, older encyclopedia sets, older textbooks, or magazines.
  • Friends’ book sales and bookstores extend the ability of the library to purchase additional materials and fund programs. Thank you for considering a donation to the Friends of the Library.

Monetary donations:

  • Monetary contributions may be made to help the library purchase books or other materials. Please use the Gift Designation Form. You may also make a monetary donation to any Friends of the Library group or to the Manatee Library Foundation. Thank you for considering a donation to support the Library.
  • If you would like to purchase a new item in someone's honor, please use the Gift Designation Form. You may also make a monetary donation to any. The library will provide a gift acknowledgment letter if requested.

Internet and Computers

Library Cards

Library Card Policy page includes online registration, loan periods, fines and fees, and renewal information

Meeting Rooms

The Meeting Rooms page includes policies, procedures, available rooms, meeting room application, and contact information

Rules of Behavior

The Library, as a limited public forum, reserves the right to require library patrons to leave the premises if these rules are not followed. Refusing to leave when asked will result in law enforcement being contacted, the issuance of a trespass citation, and may result in an arrest in accordance with the Florida trespass law (F.S. 810.08). Failure to comply with any of these library policies after a request from Library staff to do so may result in law enforcement being summoned.

Prohibiting the following:

  • Any illegal activity or other behavior that infringes upon another person’s safety or right to enjoy the library.
  • Sleeping, or laying on library furniture in such a way that creates an obstruction.
  • Bulky items. Including, but not limited to bedrolls, blankets, duffle bags, suitcases.
  • Weapons, hazardous materials, or any other object that endangers the safety of others.
  • Tobacco, e-cigarettes, alcohol or controlled substances.
  • Damage or misuse of computers or library property.
  • Unaccompanied children under 12 years of age (a child must be under the constant supervision of a guardian 16 years or older and may not be left alone at any time).

La biblioteca, como un foro público, reserva el derecho a exigir los patrones de la biblioteca a salir del local si falta a seguir estas reglas. Rechazando a salir cuando le pedimos resultará en una llamada a la policía, la emisión de una cita de intrusión, y puede resultar en un arresto en conformidad con la ley de la Florida (F.S. 810.08). Falta de cumplir con cual quier de estas políticas de la biblioteca después de una solicitud del personal de la biblioteca puede resultar en una llamada a la policía.

Lo siguiente es prohibido:

  • Cualquier actividad ilegal o otro comportamiento que infrinja en la seguridad de otra persona o su derecho de disfrutar de la biblioteca
  • Durmiendo o acostándose en los muebles de la biblioteca de una manera que causa una obstrucción.
  • Objetos voluminosos, incluyendo pero no limitado a petates, mantas, bolsas de lona, y maletas.
  • Armas, materiales peligrosos, o cualquier otro material que puedan poner en peligro los otros ocupantes de la biblioteca.
  • Tabaco, cigarros electrónicos, alcohol, o sustancias controladas.
  • Mal uso de computadoras o daño a la propiedad de la biblioteca.
  • Niños menos de 12 años de edad que no están acompañando (un niño tiene que estar bajo del supervisión constante de un guardián 16 años o mayor y no pueden estar solos a cual quier momento )              

Full policy: Behavior Policy

Safe Child Policy

  • Children ages 11 and under must be accompanied by someone 16 years of age or older in all library facilities.
  • When a child 11 or under is found unattended, a staff member will attempt to locate the child's parent/caregiver in the library or contact the parent/caregiver by phone and inform him/her of the rules. If a parent cannot be located, law enforcement will be called.
  • Children ages 12 or older may be in the library unsupervised, during hours that school is not in session.

    Full policy in English: Unattended Children
    Full policy in Spanish: Niños Desatendidos

Study Rooms