Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

The Emily Williston Memorial Library Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of collections in support of the Library’s mission to “promote lifelong learning by creating welcoming spaces that offer collections and services to inform, inspire, enrich, and entertain.”

It is the Library’s goal to provide the Easthampton community with library materials that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may include items that may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression.

The Library provides free access to materials in a number of formats (print, media and electronic) to all customers. The collection of the Library 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.

Library users make their own choices as to what they will use based on individual interests and concerns. Emily Williston Memorial Library supports the right of each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by their children. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian. Library staff will NOT restrict use or circulation of materials to children or young adults.  Responsibility for the use of materials by children and young adults rests with their parents 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 or legal guardians consider objectionable.

Emily Williston Memorial Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements

1. Mission

The Library’s primary role is the provision of popular materials to those who make heavy use of the library.  Secondary roles are independent learning support to members of the community and limited formal education support for students who need to complete school assignments.

The Library’s goal is to develop a collection that is intensively used.  Except the area of local history, little attempt is made to purchase or retain materials for which there is limited current demand.

In order to meet the diverse needs and interests of all residents, the Library provides materials in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, books, magazines, newspapers, audio cassettes, videocassettes, DVDs, compact discs and large-print materials. As technology and media changes occur, phasing out certain types of materials (e.g. videocassettes and audio cassettes) will be considered a natural part of the selection and weeding processes.

The Library recognizes that it is impossible for a small library to individually develop a balanced, comprehensive collection that is strong enough to meet all community needs.  Its collection is supplemented with materials borrowed from the other member libraries of the C/W MARS Consortium as part of its reciprocal borrowing policy, as well as participation in the Massachusetts Virtual Catalog and the state ILL service.

2. The Collection

Emily Williston Memorial Library’s approximately 60,000 books and other media provides a wide range of literary, cultural, educational, informational and recreational materials for people of all ages.

The popular adult collection highlights genres and topics for which local interest and need is known to exist.  These areas include current bestsellers (fiction and non-fiction), high interest genre materials, biographies of popular figures, sports, how-to materials, travel guides, self-help, hobby-related materials, and classic literature.

The Youth Department collections focus on recommended picture books for preschoolers (fiction and nonfiction), and fiction and nonfiction works for children and young adults. Although the collection does contain materials that support Common Core and that are of use in completing school assignments, it is not designed to provide school textbooks or other materials that support only the school curriculum. Children and young adults are not limited to the special collections selected for them.  They are allowed to make full use of the entire collection.

In addition, the Local History Collection preserves and documents the history of Easthampton and the Pioneer Valley and provides a broad scope of historical information about the area.

The variety of formats collected and/or housed include:

  • Print: books, documents, magazines, newspapers.
  • Audiovisual Media: videos on DVD, Blu-Ray and tape, books on CD and tape, music on compact disc.
  • Electronic Media: databases, electronic books, downloadable audio books and videos. The library also provides access to the Internet.
  • Other: multimedia kits and selected audiovisual equipment.

3. Criteria for Selection

General criteria for selecting library materials are listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • public demand, interest or need,
  • contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • attention of critics and reviewers
  • prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator or publisher
  • timeliness of material
  • relation to existing collections
  • statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • authenticity of historical, regional or social setting
  • accessibility for multiple users of electronic formats
  • availability in the C/W MARS network

4. Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for the initial selection of library resources rests with the Library’s professional staff, based on the criteria cited above. Designated staff are responsible for specific areas of the collection, under the overall direction of the Library Director or Youth Department Supervisor, depending on collection. The responsibility for selection ultimately rests with the Library Director operating within the framework of policies determined by the Executive Board of the Emily Williston Memorial Library.

5. Suggestions for Additions to the Collection

To assure the acquisition of resources desired by Library users, customer suggestions are always considered for their addition to the collection. Customers can request that specific items be purchased by emailing the library or bringing a written request.

6. Collection Maintenance, Replacement and Weeding

In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good condition, well used, and which relates to the needs and interests of the residents of Easthampton, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis.  Materials are discarded when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition or otherwise no longer appropriate.

The criteria used in selection also applies to the process of withdrawing materials from the collection.  Materials withdrawn from the library will be disposed of in a manner consistent with their quality and condition.  Materials removed because of dated content or poor condition will not be imposed on another library or institution.

It is the responsibility of professional staff to assess the need for replacing materials that are damaged, destroyed or lost. Items are not automatically replaced. Decisions are based on need, demand and budget.

7. Gifts
Emily Williston Memorial Library accepts gifts of new or gently-used books, magazines, DVDs, and music or books on compact disc. Gift materials, including titles new to the collection, are subject to the same selection standards as materials purchased by the library. The Library does not provide evaluation of gifts for tax deduction or other purposes.

Memorial gifts of money, books or other library materials may be donated in honor of a friend or relative, and can be marked with a special bookplate. The Library will be pleased to select appropriate titles in memory of a relative or friend.

Used books and paperbacks can often be used in the library’s collection. Items not needed by the library are sold at book sales sponsored by the Emily’s Friends of the Library.

Generally, the Library does not accept textbooks, videocassettes, periodicals or books in poor physical condition. The Library reserves the right to refuse donations if the Library Director determines they are not of use to the Library.

The Library applies the same criteria for evaluating gift items as it applies to purchased material. Gifts will be withdrawn in the same manner as purchased material. The Library does not accept responsibility for notifying donors of withdrawal or replacement of gift items.

All gifts are tax deductible.  A receipt for donation of materials will be provided upon request.  The Library does not place a financial value on materials received. With rare exceptions, we do not return items that are given to us. No gifts are accepted unless given to the Library without restriction. All gifts may be utilized, sold or disposed of in the best interest of the Library.

8. Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the basis of the principles set forth in this policy.

The Library welcomes citizens’ expressions of opinion concerning materials purchased. Requests to remove materials will be considered within the context of the policies set forth in this document. Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection of materials is asked to complete and sign the Request for Reconsideration Form, available at the Library.

The form will be forwarded to the appropriate staff – the Library Director for adult materials and the Youth Department Supervisor for children’s materials – who will consider the request in a timely fashion, in consultation with the Director. The questioned material will be reviewed, in its entirety, and once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material a letter will be sent to the person explaining the decision.

If the person indicates dissatisfaction with the resolution, he/she may appeal to the Public Library Association of Easthampton Executive Board. The Board will reconsider the decision based on whether or not the particular title conforms to the Board-approved Collection Development Policy, as outlined in the “Criteria for Selection,” above.

Updated: 8/28/2013