The Board of Trustees of the Greenfield Public Library endorse the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement Because of the importance of these documents in the formulation of the Library's Materials Selection Policy, they have been made a part of this policy and appear as appendices to it.
I. Purpose of the Library:
The purpose of the Greenfield Public Library is to provide, without bias, free access to library materials and services for the Greenfield community. Basic to the attempt to fulfill this purpose is the selection of materials and the development of services that reflect the diverse informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs and interests of its users, subject only to the limitations of physical space, staffing requirements, and budgetary considerations.
II. Responsibility for Selection:
Final authority for the formulation and adoption of policies governing the selection of materials rests with the Board of Trustees. Responsibility for the selection of specific materials rests with the Library Director operating within the framework of policies adopted by the Board and whose interpretation of those policies is subject to review by the Board. Library staff members may be assigned selection duties in areas of the collection, but their recommendations are always subject to review by the Director.
III. Selection of Materials:
The Library's continuing goal is to build and maintain a high quality collection of materials covering a broad range of subject of interest to existing and potential library users.
A. Collection Development Plan
As an aid to achieving this goal the Library follows a Collection Development Plan - a document which serves as a guide to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that the collection grows in a deliberate and balanced way. This Plan is reviewed annually by the Library's Director and staff, and takes into consideration such factors as 1) the needs and interests of the community, 2) the merits of the materials under consideration, 3) the facilities available for proper storage and preservation, 4) financial resources of the Library, 5) the Library's existing collection, 6) popular demand for materials, 7) the physical characteristics and quality of the items, and 8) the availability of desired items in other lending library collections.
The Library's collection is predominantly targeted to an English speaking audience and includes books, large print books, periodicals, newspapers in print and microfilm formats, paperback books, cassette and CD recordings of music and books, CD ROM computer software, video cassette and DVD recordings, adult literacy support materials, and teaching kits. The Library also provides access to special internet-based reference services (i.e. Infotrac, Novelist, Access Science, Valueline). Local history and genealogical materials relating to Greenfield and the surrounding area, both current and retrospective, are sought for the Local History Room.
The Library recognizes that it is impossible for a medium-sized public library to provide a balanced and comprehensive collection to meet all community needs. As a member of an Automated Resource Sharing Network (C/W MARS) and a state-supported Regional Library System (MLS) with over 200 public, private, college and school libraries, the Library supplements its resources with materials borrowed from other libraries through these larger entities, as well as through the Massachusetts Virtual Catalog and a nation-wide Interlibrary Loan system. Greenfield's participation in these networks provides its residents access to the collections of other participating libraries on a reciprocal basis. Every effort is made to locate and borrow from other libraries those specialized materials that are beyond the scope of the Library's collection.
B. Selection Criteria
Within the parameters of the Collection Development Plan, the selection of individual items for inclusion in the collection, whether purchased or donated, is guided by the following criteria:
1. For non-fiction:
a) authority and competence in presentation
b) high standards of quality and accuracy of content
c) good reviews in standard review media
d) current interest, usefulness and timeliness
e) readability and clarity of presentation
f) format, durability, and ease of use
g) price and availability
h) popular demand and patron requests
i) local interest
j) relevance and permanent value
k) newer editions of titles already in the collection
l) replacements/new editions for lost, missing, long overdue, or
2. For fiction:
a) originality, imagination, and artistic expression
b) sustained interest
c) consistency of characterization
d) good reviews in standard review media
e) popular demand and patron requests
f) popular authors and genres
g) local interest
C. General Considerations
Various reviewing media and basic lists of standard works are utilized as selection aids. An attempt is made to balance special group interests with general demands while maintaining an awareness of an individual item's political and social significance and its importance as a record of the times. The Library attempts to provide differing viewpoints on all major issues of interest to its public. Inclusion of a particular item does not indicate endorsement of its contents but, rather, is an acknowledgment of the existence of a point of view.
Individual borrowers will need to be selective when choosing materials, keeping in mind their own reading preferences. The Library recognizes that some materials, both fiction and non-fiction, may be offensive to individuals or groups for a variety of reasons, including language and incidents that might be perceived as distasteful; the social, economic and political ideas expressed; religious viewpoints; the background of the author; the kinds of information provided; illustrations and photographs; or other reasons. Selection is not made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the selected work in relation to building the collection to serve the interests of all our users. No item in the Library's collection is marked or identified to indicate approval or disapproval of its contents or to restrict its use except for the purpose of protecting it from damage or theft.
Selection generally attempts to meet the needs of the layperson rather than the technical or scholastic specialist.
D. Selection for Children
The goal of materials selection for children is to make available materials which suit their varied interests, ages, and reading abilities. The Children's Collection stresses highly recommended picture books for preschoolers and popular reading for school aged children. The nonfiction collection is selected to compliment the curriculum and homework needs of students elementary through middle school. The collection for children is carefully chosen with an emphasis on materials that entertain, stimulate the imagination, develop reading ability, and enable children to learn about the world around them. The Young Adult Collection serves young people from sixth through eighth grades. This browsing collection of novels, magazines, graphic novels, and other recreational reading is selected for their special appeal to this age group and to provide a bridge to the Adult Collection. An effort is made to also provide titles that appear on school reading lists. The same criteria are applied in the selection of materials for children as are applied to adult materials, while bearing in mind the age groups which they will serve.
Responsibility for the reading choices of children rests solely with their parents or legal guardians. The staff of the children's room will provide guidance when possible, but they are not responsible for children's reading or viewing choices while they are in the library. Selection of, or access to, materials in the adult collection is not restricted, and it is possible that children may obtain materials which their parents or legal guardians might consider inappropriate. The Library encourages all parents or legal guardians to establish guidelines for their children's use of library materials and services.
E. Local Authors
In the interest of supporting the Greenfield community and providing a place for residents to share their work and find the work of community members, the Greenfield Public Library does accept donations of self-published materials.
Works must be in a format suitable for circulation. The authors must reside in Franklin County. The works must fit within the library’s general guidelines for acquisition, except the requirement that they be reviewed in professional journals will be waived.
Self published materials will fall under the same guidelines as the rest of the collection regarding deaccessioning. Books with little or no circulation, in poor condition, or that are no longer deemed relevant will be removed from the collection as determined appropriate by library staff.
The Library welcomes gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they are accepted with no conditions governing their use, location, or disposal. The same criteria are applied to gifts as are applied to purchased items in determining their suitability for the collection. Gifts of all types are considered with the explicit understanding that the library may choose not to add them to the collection for a variety of reasons (e.g. inadequate shelf space, duplication of titles or subject matter; high cost of processing; physical condition; insufficient community interest; etc.). Gift items which are not added to the collection are made available to the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library for their book sales.
G. Requests for Purchase
The Library welcomes requests for purchase of materials; however, such requests will be subject to the same criteria for selection as other purchased materials per the Collection Development Plan.
IV. Maintaining the Collection
The withdrawing of material is as crucial to the maintenance of a useful and viable collection as is the selection process. In order to maintain a collection that is in good condition and well-used, materials are withdrawn on a continuing basis when they are judged to be outdated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise no longer appropriate. Items which are removed are disposed of in accordance with policies approved by the Board of Trustees.
V. Reconsideration of Library Materials
Library patrons who are unhappy with a specific title are encouraged to ask for an appointment with the Library Director and discuss the item in question in relation to the selection policy and the underlying issues of intellectual freedom.
Formal requests for reconsideration of materials in the Library's collection must be made in writing. Forms for this purpose are available at the Adult Circulation Desk. The Library Director will convene a committee of librarians to review the complaint and the material under consideration as soon as possible. The patron will be notified in writing of the committee's decision. If they disagree with the committee's decision, they may request in writing a hearing of the issue at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees. No item will be removed or restricted because of a complaint except in accordance with this procedure.
VI. Policy Revision
This policy is reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees and is subject to revision as circumstances require.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees: December 13, 1983; Revised April 13, 2004
American Library Association Council. June 25, 1953
American Book Publishers Council Board of Directors, June 18, 1953
Subsequently endorsed by:
American Booksellers Association Board of Directors