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Contoocook, New Hampshire 03229
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Materials Selection Policy

The Board of Trustees of the Hopkinton Town Library has adopted the following Materials Selection Policy.  

The Materials Selection Policy reflects principles of the Mission Statement which is to serve the community and its citizens by providing materials and services which inform, educate, entertain, and enrich residents of all ages.

The Library supports the individual's right to have access to ideas and information representing all points of view. The Board of Trustees of the Hopkinton Town Library has adopted the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statements, attached herewith.

Objectives

The Library provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge. Included are works of enduring value as well as timely materials on current issues. Within the framework of these broad objectives, selection is based on community needs, both those expressed and those inferred from study of community demographics and evidence of areas of interest.

Judicious selection shall be exercised in all materials acquisition practices. Allocation of the materials budget and the number of items purchased for each area of the collection will be determined by indicators of use, the average cost per item, and objectives for development of the collection. The Library will be aware of the resources available in surrounding libraries and will develop its collection with this in mind. In general, scholarly, highly specialized, or archival materials are beyond the scope of the Library's collections.

Selection is a discerning and interpretive process involving a general knowledge of the subject and its important literature, a familiarity with the materials in the collection, an awareness of the bibliographies on the subject, and recognition of the needs of the community.

To build a well-balanced collection of merit and significance, materials in all forms must be measured by objective guidelines. Since the library does not promote particular beliefs or views, the collection will contain various positions on important questions, including unpopular or unorthodox positions. The Library actively strives to ensure that materials representing many differing views and a broad diversity of human thought and creativity are represented in its collection. A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not necessarily an equality of numbers.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. Those staff members who are qualified by reason of education, training, or experience may assist in the selection of materials. The Director will assure that appropriate selection tools will be available and track the materials budget to ensure a flow of new materials throughout the year, according to budget allocation. Suggestions from staff members not directly involved with selection are encouraged and given serious consideration in the selection process.

Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy. Responsibility for choosing what an individual will read rests with the individual. Responsibility for the use of library materials by children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians.

Criteria for Selection

All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. Several criteria and combinations of criteria may be used, as some materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, while others are considered because of scholarship, value as human documents, or ability to satisfy the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.

New formats shall be considered for the collection when, by industry report, national survey results and evidence from local requests, a significant portion of the community population has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of items in the format, the cost per item, and the Library's ability to acquire and handle the items will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected. Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the Library's collections.

Materials selected must meet some or all of the following criteria:

(1) General criteria:

Existing collection needs
Relevance to community needs
High customer demand
Significance or reputation of author or publisher
Attention of critics and reviewers
Importance of human or social insight
Representation of current ideas, events, or mores

(2) Criteria for non-fiction works:

Accuracy, clarity and logic of presentation
Comprehensiveness and completeness of treatment
Qualifications of author    
Enduring lasting value or strong current need
Originality of point of view

(3) Criteria for fiction works:

Vitality and originality
Artistic presentation or experimentation
Plot development and characterization development
Authenticity of setting
Representation of important genre or trend

Works of popular authors

(4) Selection may also be limited by the following factors:

Physical limitations of the building
Price as a percent of acquisition budget and format
Availability of low-demand materials in other library collections

(5) Selection of library materials will not be influenced by:

The possibility that they may come into the possession of children or young adults
The liability of materials to theft or mutilation

The Library does not acquire textbooks that support local curricula. Textbooks are acquired if they serve the general public by providing information on subjects where little or no material is available in any other form.

Tools used in selection include professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers' promotional materials and reviews from reputable sources. Purchase suggestions from library customers are welcome and are given serious consideration.

Donations and Gifts

Donations of materials are gratefully accepted with the understanding that the Library may add them to the collection if they meet established standards for purchased materials, with emphasis on currency, physical condition, and need. All gifts added to the collection must be available for public use. Materials not added to the collection will be included in the Friends of the Library Book Sale or disposed of by other means. The library cannot place a monetary value on gifts for tax purposes, but receipts are provided upon request.

Monetary donations are always welcome and may be designated as memorials. Gifts of non-library items such as portraits or art objects ordinarily will not be accepted.

Withdrawal of Materials

An attractive, up-to-date, currently useful collection is maintained through a continual discarding and replacing process. Materials may be withdrawn from the library collection after careful consideration of the following:

physical condition currency of information lack of use superseded by a new edition or better work on the same subject

Materials withdrawn from the collection may be included in the Friends of the Library Book Sale, sold from the sale cart at the Library or disposed of by other means. Individual items that are being withdrawn may not be saved for specific individuals.

Requests for Reconsideration

The choice of library materials by library users is an individual matter. While an individual may reject materials for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedures have been developed to assure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. Once an item has been approved for purchase, based on the selection policy of the Board of Trustees and the criteria for selection, it will not be automatically removed upon request. (See Addendum 1)

Addendum 1
Procedure Request For Reconsideration

A. Any individual expressing an objection to or concern about library material should receive respectful attention from the staff member first approached. If the individual is not satisfied with the explanation received, the staff member should offer the option of speaking with the Library Director who after discussion will offer a "Request for Reconsideration" form if appropriate. The customer may ask for reconsideration in the following manner:

1) A "Request for Reconsideration" form (see Addendum 2) must be completed and returned to the Director. The Director may respond in writing to the individual, advising him/her that there will be reconsideration of the item and by enclosing a copy of the "Selection Policy of the Hopkinton Town Library."

2) The Director, after consulting with the appropriate staff, will appoint a review team to reconsider the item. Copies of the form and any reviews of the item will be examined.  

3) The reviewers will put their comments in writing to the Director prior to meeting to discuss the title.

4) The Director will compile the comments and convene a meeting of the reviewing team which will make its recommendation.

5) The Director will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The Director will communicate this decision, along with the reasons for it, in writing to the individual who initiated the request.

B. If the individual desires further action, he/she may appeal in writing to the Library Board of Trustees, requesting a hearing before the Board. If a hearing is granted, the individual will be notified of when he/she may address the Board. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Hopkinton Town Library. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director.

Approved by Hopkinton Town Library Board of Trustees: March 18, 2003

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