Collection Development Policy

The Board of Trustees of the Greenfield Public Library endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement as in existence on the day this policy is adopted.

Collection Development Statement

The Greenfield Public Library will provide, without bias, free access to library materials in a variety of formats, equally serving people of all ages, incomes, ethnicities, genders, or physical abilities while responding to our community’s varied interests. The library will develop and maintain a collection of quality materials designed to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community. Collection development decisions will be limited only by the constraints of physical space and financial resources.

All materials will be freely and easily accessible to the public. Users are free to select or reject for themselves, or children in their care, any item in the collection. A singular obligation of a public library is to reflect within its collection differing points of view and a diversity of opinion and experience. Some materials may be offensive to individuals or groups because of individual perceptions of profanity, human sexuality, social, economic, and political ideas, religious viewpoints, the background of the author, or the kind of information provided. Although the library understands this concern, it is our position that the risk to society is far greater if public access to ideas and information is restricted. Providing free access to these materials may be meaningful and significant to other users and thus must be protected. Children and teens are not limited to use of the materials in the children’s or teen areas. Responsibility for a child’s selection or reading rests solely with their parent or guardian. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that children may inadvertently use such items.

Responsibility for Selection

Final authority for policies governing the selection of materials rests with the Board of Trustees. However, collection development is a process guided through all its stages by the professional expertise of the librarians under the supervision of the Library Director. Therefore, the Board of Trustees delegates to the Library Director and his/her designated staff the day-to-day responsibility for the selection of materials within the framework of this policy.

Selection of Materials

A. Selection Criteria
The following criteria are among those used to determine what is purchased for the collection:


  1. Purpose and importance.
  2. Authority and reputation.
  3. Accuracy.
  4. Style, clarity, presentation.

Non-fiction may be excluded for inaccurate content, lack of integrity, sensationalism, intent to promote hatred or intolerance, and content that is too limited or specialized. The library does not purchase textbooks. Collection development choices attempt to meet the needs of the layperson rather than the technical or scholastic specialist.

In the case of controversial questions, variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available.


  1. Style.
  2. Creativity, vitality.
  3. Literary merit, significance.
  4. Appeal.
  5. Authenticity.

The fiction collection includes recreation reading, classic literature, and titles representing styles of various periods and countries, all in multiple genres. The collection shall include titles intended for diverse populations. Controversial books of recognized literary merit may be acquired.

Suggestions are welcome, and the library will consider all requests from Greenfield residents using the same selection criteria used for other items purchased for the collection.

B. Selection Aids

Materials Selection Sources include:

  1. Library Journal
  2. Booklist
  3. Kirkus
  4. Boston Globe Books Section
  5. Publishers Weekly
  6. NPR Book Section
  7. New York Times Book Review & Best Seller Lists
  8. Publishers' catalogs
  9. School Library Journal
  10. The Horn Book
  11. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
  12. Ingram High Demand Reports

C. Balance of Collection
The library attempts to provide differing viewpoints on all major public interest issues. Inclusion of a particular item does not indicate endorsement of its contents but, rather, is acknowledgement of the existence of that point of view. The library recognizes that many works are controversial and that any given item may offend some individuals. Selection is not made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the individual work. No item in the library’s collection is marked or identified to indicate approval or disapproval of its contents or to restrict its use. The library does not rely on private advisory codes or rating services in developing collections, nor does the library remove such ratings if they are an integral part of the item or its packaging.

D. Selection for Children
The goal of collection development for children is to provide materials that suit their varied interests and reading abilities. The same criteria are applied in the selection of materials for children as are applied in the selection of materials for adults.
Responsibility for the use of library materials by children rests solely with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of or access to materials in any area of the library is not restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials which their parents might consider inappropriate. The library does not operate in loco parentis. The role of library staff is to assist each family in finding materials suitable for them and to empower caregivers by teaching them how to find materials that are appropriate for their child.

Some books in the Children’s collection may not be considered appropriate by all adults for all children. However, while some books are too mature for one child, other children may be ready for them. We recognize and respect that only each child and their caregiver may decide what material is suitable for their family.

E. Selection for Teens

Materials in this collection are intended to assist teens in achieving a successful transition from childhood to adulthood by providing the resources that will encourage intellectual, emotional and social development. Extra effort is made to provide this age group with materials that deal with their concerns in open, honest ways, and which meet their recreational, academic, and cultural reading needs. Emphasizing contemporary trends in young adult fiction, the collection includes current information which appeals to the diverse interests of this age group, while considering varying reading and developmental levels. To fulfill these needs, the collection will inevitably include materials on controversial and sensitive topics.

Because of the wide range of maturity and reading levels among individual teens, the suitability of any particular item must be determined on an individual basis by the parent or guardian of the teen. Since the resources of the adult collections are readily available and offer a more complete reference capability, teens are encouraged to utilize the holdings of the entire library. The Teen collection will focus on sixth through twelfth grade levels, but they will not be exclusive to that age range and may contain adult titles and resources.

F. Gifts
The library welcomes gifts of materials in good condition with the understanding that once gifted the items become the property of the library. The library will not accept any item that carries stipulations about its use, placement, or retention. The same criteria are applied to gifts as are applied to items purchased by the library in determining their suitability for the collection. Gift items which are not added to the collection are made available to other organizations.

G. Self-Published Materials
The library is willing to support the Greenfield writing community by providing a place for residents to share their work. Self-published authors (e.g., print-on-demand, vanity, or subsidized presses) who are local residents (past or present) are welcome to donate their works to the library. Once donated to the library, a self-published work is treated as a gift, and is subject to the policy terms outlined in section F.

The library may occasionally purchase self-published titles by local authors for the regular collection, if there is a compelling reason to do so (valuable local content, high local interest, etc.).

Self-published work must be in a format suitable for circulation.

Self-published works must fit within the library’s general guidelines for acquisition. If the item does not meet the library’s collection development criteria, it will be returned to the author or donated to another organization. These items will be retained or withdrawn according to the guidelines outlined below in the section entitled Maintaining the Collection.

H. Electronic Collections
Electronic collections play an important role in the Library’s portfolio. These materials include databases, e-books, e-audiobooks, and downloadable and streaming media where the content is not selected or maintained at the local level, but with the vendor. Therefore, it is not possible for the Library to control when and what titles are added or removed from these collections. The Library bases its decisions to provide access to these collections on a variety of factors, including ease of use, uniqueness of content, technology requirements, vendor reputation and customer service, availability for remote access, licensing agreements, and cost. In addition to standard criteria used in selecting other formats, the Library must consider special selection criteria for electronic materials. The Library favors electronic sources which are device and platform neutral, and which support the traditional legal principles of first sale and fair use.

Maintaining the Collection

Systematic evaluation of library materials is an essential part of collection development that helps ensure a relevant, accurate, and useful collection. Materials which are no longer useful, or are not in suitable condition for circulation, may be removed from the collection. The decision to withdraw an item from the collection is based on accepted professional practice and the judgment of the Library Director and his/her designated staff within the framework of this policy.

The general criteria for withdrawal of an item from the collection include:

  • Availability of updated or revised material
  • Circulation and usage
  • Condition
  • Duplication in the collection
  • Inaccuracy of content
  • Value as a classic

Items withdrawn from the collection will be donated to non-profit organizations, recycled or discarded.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Residents of Greenfield making a formal request for reconsideration of materials in the library’s collection must do so in writing. Forms for this purpose are available at the main circulation desk. A form is also appended to this document.

Policy Review and Revision

The Collection Development Policy will be reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees and is subject to revision as circumstances require.

Approved 11/8/2022

Zine Addendum to GPL Collection Development Policy

Definition of Zines:

Zines are independently published works that could include text, photos, and illustrations, often reproduced using a photocopier. Most zines are published in small runs, distributed and swapped by those in the zine community. Topics can be broad in scope, from politics to feminism to poetry to personal journal entries. Most anyone has the ability to make a zine. Once reserved for the underground, zines can now be found in many different libraries across the country.

Zine creators are often motivated by a desire to share knowledge or experience with people in marginalized or otherwise less-empowered communities. Most zine creators are motivated by self-expression and passion, not profit.

Rationale for the Zine Collection:

GPL collects zines because it is important to document contemporary popular culture, making them important primary source material for future library patrons. Zines also give voice to ordinary people. By collecting zines the Library creates access to works by authors from populations and communities frequently underrepresented in libraries. By offering unique and inspiring materials, library users will gain a broader appreciation for their community and library and feel empowered to contribute their own self-published zines to the collection.

Subject Areas:

Zines can be about a broad range of topics. Some of the topics collected include:

  • Greenfield Zine Creators and/or Zines About Greenfield and Franklin County
  • Politics/Social Justice
  • Self-Care
  • DIY Topics
  • Spirituality
  • Perzines (autobiographical zines)
  • Poetry and Other Literature
  • Education
  • Technology

Goals of the Zine Collection:

  • To raise the awareness about the importance of zines;
  • To encourage patrons to make their own zines;
  • To support GPL library programming about zines.

Acquisition Strategy:

The Library's broader Collection Development Policy serves as a benchmark when selecting zines to add to the collection. There are several differences, however.

  • Because of the homegrown nature of zines, donation of zines is one of the primary ways to acquire zines and is encouraged, especially if the creator is from Greenfield or a zine's subject is Greenfield or Franklin County. The creator who donates their zine will fill out an intake form to give the Library permission to add the title to the collection.
  • Staff will also use distros (zine "stores") to acquire zines. Creators who distribute their titles through a distro will not need to fill out an intake form as the creator has given tacit permission by using a distro to distribute their work to the public.
  • GPL will also accept donations from third parties where the donor is not the author of the donated zines. Library staff will attempt to contact the original creators (where possible) to get consent for their work to be placed in the collection.
  • Library staff will decide whether to accept the donation of a title to the zine collection. The Library reserves the right to utilize donated materials in whatever way best benefits the collection and services. No donations are accepted unless given to the Library without restriction. Items from the zine collection may be removed according to our broader Collection Development Policy due to condition, low circulation, or change in the zine collection's scope or purpose. As with the rest of the collection, the Library will not act in the role of censor for any age level, material type, or subject matter.

Approved by the Board of Library Trustees 9/12/2023.
To be reviewed yearly, or as needed.

Collection Development Policy

Library Hours

Mon-Wed 9:30am-8pm
Thu-Fri 9:30am-5pm
Sat 9:30am-2pm

For security purposes, the upstairs floor closes 15 minutes before closing time. Main doors are locked 5 minutes before closing.


  • Circulation Desk: 413-772-1544, option 4
  • Children’s Room: 413-772-1544, option 5
  • Information Services: 413-772-1544, option 6


  • Greenfield Public Library
  • 412 Main Street
  • Greenfield, MA 01301


  • 413-772-1544 x 5109