Collection Development Policy
Collection Development Policy
Created 6/2003; Revised 4/2004, 9/2004, 1/13/10, 12/15/11, 9/11/14
The Leverett Library serves a small but rapidly growing rural town neighboring on a college community. We have an elementary school in town that has its own library. Some of our residents work in Amherst and use the much larger Jones Library or one of the college libraries, all of which are ten miles or more away. Because of our limited budget and size, we cannot be all things to all people and do not expect to be. Our primary function is to be a popular materials library for our community.
The library's materials budget is divided between adult and children materials, and subdivided into further categories. The breakdown of the materials budget is as follows: adult fiction-42%, adult nonfiction-21%, juvenile fiction-18%, juvenile nonfiction-9%, and young adult-10%. We participate in the Library Incentive Grant and Municipal Equalization Grant programs. We also use the Massachusetts Library System for InterLibrary Loan materials.
Collection development is the responsibility of the library director and library staff in accordance with the collection development policy established by the board of library trustees. Collection development decisions are made on the basis of staff judgment and expertise, and by evaluating reviews in library reviewing journals such as Booklist and other library selection tools. Factors used in making decisions include:
community needs and interests as determined by library use
current interest and usefulness
quality of the item and its appropriateness for the intended user
availability of the material from other CW/MARS libraries.
In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good condition, well used, i.e., one that relates to the needs and interests of the residents of Leverett, materials will be checked on a systematic and continuing basis and materials judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise no longer appropriate will be discarded. The criteria used in selection also applies to the process of withdrawing material from our collection. Materials withdrawn from the Leverett Library will be disposed of in a manner consistent with their quality and condition. Materials that have been removed because of dated content or poor condition will not be imposed on another library or institution.
Gifts are accepted with the understanding that they may or may not be added to the collection. Gift materials, including titles new to the collection, are subject to the same selection standards as materials purchased by the library. No gift book is ever free. There are costs to process it and it takes up valuable space on the shelf. The library does not provide evaluation of gifts for tax deduction or other purposes. Self-published works donated to the library will be reviewed by the library director and the Board of Trustees before being added to the library collection.
Children's books are carefully chosen to be appropriate to young readers' ages and abilities, with the emphasis on materials that entertain, stimulate the imagination, develop reading ability and enable them to learn about the world around them. Although the collection does contain materials for use in completing school assignments, it is not designed to provide school textbooks or other materials which support only the school curriculum and which can be obtained from other sources. Some novels and recreational materials are specifically selected for young adults and are marked with a YA (young adult) sticker. These serve as a bridge to the adult collection.
The library's collection is available to all community residents and registered borrowers. Materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of contents, no materials are marked to restrict their use by ages, and no materials are sequestered except to protect valuable items from injury or theft. Responsibility for the use of materials by children and young adults rests with their parent or legal guardians. The selection of materials for the adult collection and access to it is not restricted by the fact that children may obtain materials their parents consider objectionable.
The main role of our library is that of a popular materials library. These materials may be in print or non-print format. The adult collection will include current, high-interest fiction and non-fiction in which local interest and need is known to exist. These areas include current affairs, politics, history, cooking and food, gardening, health care, family, arts and crafts, pets and animals, sports, biographies, and how-to-do-it books. The children's collection will focus on highly recommended picture books for preschoolers and on popular reading materials for school-age children. Our goal is to develop a collection that is used intensively. Except in the area of local history, no attempt will be made to purchase or retain materials for which there is a limited current demand. Requests for such materials will be made from other CW/MARS libraries or through the InterLibrary Loan Network.
The library recognizes its obligation to provide as wide a spectrum of materials as possible. Selection cannot be restricted by the possibility that certain materials might be considered objectionable by some users on moral, religious, political, or other grounds. The library endorses the principles in the Freedom to Read and the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association. Both documents are incorporated as part of this selection policy. The library believes it is essential in a free society to provide access to all library materials. No restrictions are placed on what anyone may read. Well-intentioned individuals or groups may occasionally question the inclusion of an item in the collection because of fear or doubt about the effects of the material on impressionable persons. Although the library understands this concern, it is the library's position that the risk to society is far greater if public access to ideas and information is restricted. Neither an individual, nor a group, nor even the library itself has a right to decide what others may or may not read/view. The library is opposed to the removal from its shelves at the request of any individual or group materials which have been chosen according to the materials selection policy. In addition, the library will oppose coercion on the part of an individual or group seeking to have materials added to the collection which are contrary to the selection policy. Any person in the community that finds any library materials objectionable is entitled to complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials and submit it to the Library Director who, after reviewing it, will present the issue to the Board of Trustees.
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.