Collection Development Policy
Libraries in Massachusetts are required by law (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 33) to adopt a written policy for the selection of library materials. The Board of Library Trustees has adopted the following policy in accordance with this law.
The purpose of the Wilmington Memorial Library Collection Development Policy is to set broad guidelines for the selection of library materials that correspond to the Library’s mission and the goals identified in the Library’s Long Range Plan. It may also be used to inform the public about standards and principles upon which selections are made.
Mission and Long Range Planning:
The library’s collection development policy supports the basic tenets expressed in the library’s mission statement which reads: The Wilmington Memorial Library enriches life in the community by supporting and promoting the joy of reading, lifelong learning, and personal entertainment, and is a welcoming place for quiet reflection, human interaction, and community connection. Every five years the Library undertakes a planning process involving staff, library trustees, and community representatives. The process results in a review of the library’s mission and the development of a long range plan that identifies how the library should serve the community. The principles espoused in the library’s mission statement with the accompanying goals and objectives serve as continuing guidelines in collection development.
The Board of Trustees endorses the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association and subsequent documents defining the principles of intellectual freedom. Thus, the Library does not promote particular beliefs or views. Rather, it provides a resource for the various opinions which apply to important, complex, and controversial questions, including unpopular positions. Language, situations, or subjects which may be offensive to some patrons do not disqualify material that, in its entirety, is judged to be of value. Materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of contents, no materials are marked to restrict their use by ages. No materials are sequestered except to protect valuable items from damage or theft. Materials may be placed in temporary storage due to lack of adequate shelf space in the open stack areas.
The children’s collection serves children through grade six, and parents, teachers, and others who work with children. The collection focuses on materials that develop reading ability, inform children about the world around them, stimulate the imagination, and entertain. The collection is balanced between popular titles and core materials suitable for the varied interests and reading levels of their audience. The collection is meant to supplement, but not replace, the Wilmington Elementary School libraries.
The teen collection serves patrons in grades six through twelve, and is primarily a browsing collection meant to supplement, but not replace, the Wilmington Middle and High Schools’ libraries.
The adult print and media collection is a browsing collection geared toward the recreational and educational needs of the general adult population in Wilmington. The adult collection also includes online educational resources. The collection is meant to supplement, but not replace, school and/or academic libraries.
The Library acquires materials in a variety of formats, including paper and digital. The same work may be acquired in more than one format to meet the various needs and/or preferences of library patrons. Materials include the following and are subject to change:
- Audio books
- Themed kits
- Video games and computer software
- Online databases
- eBooks and eReaders
Selection refers to the decision to add to, retain, and remove items from the collection.
The Board of Library Trustees has the ultimate legal responsibility for the library's collection. The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials is delegated to the Library Director and under his/her direction to professional librarians who are knowledgeable in collection development principles and practices.
Items to be considered for purchase are culled from the following sources:
- Reviews in professionally recognized resources are a primary source for material selection. Standard bibliographies, book lists by recognized authorities, and the advice of competent people in specific subject areas will also be used. Review sources include but are not limited to:
- Best Seller Lists (New York Times, Boston Globe, Amazon, etc.)
- The Horn Book Guide & Magazine
- Library Journal
- The New York Times Book Review
- Publishers Weekly
- School Library Journal
- VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
- Suggestions from staff (other than those officially assigned selection responsibility)
- Requests from library patrons
Individual items are purchased based on the following criteria:
- Staff judgment and expertise
- Demonstrated or perceived interest, need, or demand by library patrons or potential patrons
- Availability of shelf space
- Contemporary significance or permanent value of the material
- Relevance to the experiences and contributions of diverse populations
- Quality, including accuracy, clarity, and usability
- Reputation of the author, publisher or producer, or other contributors
- Importance as a document of the times
- Relative importance in comparison to existing materials on the same subject
- Format, durability, and ease of use
- Value of resource in relation to its cost
- Availability through other sources, particularly the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium
The library will strive to meet the high interest or high demand of popular titles by purchasing multiple copies as necessary, keeping in mind constraints of budget and competing needs of the collection.
Deselection is the process by which the collection is purged of materials that are damaged beyond repair, outdated, or no longer in use. Deselection is done on a regular basis by the selectors. The library makes every reasonable effort to see that deselected materials are disposed of in the most appropriate manner.
- Criteria for deselection:
- Changing needs and interests of the community
- Outdated information
- Number of circulations
- Availability of similar materials in the collection
- Physical condition and age of the item
- Appearance on standard lists
- Available shelf space
- Availability at other local libraries
- Deselected items will be:
- Given to the Friends of the Library to be sold at the Bookstore Next Door or donated to other organizations/businesses
- Donated to the local schools or other libraries
- Recycled or destroyed, if condition warrants
All material donations should be brought to the Friends of the Library Bookstore Next Door. The library does not accept donations of physical materials. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and require advance approval from the selector. All items donated to the Bookstore Next Door or the Library become property of the aforementioned. The Bookstore and/or Library retain the right to sell, donate, recycle, or discard any donated item at any time.
The Library welcomes monetary donations for the purchase of library materials as a memorial, or for any other purpose. The general nature or subject area of the materials to be purchased will be based upon the wishes of the donor when expressed. The library staff, however, in accordance with the needs and the selection policies of the Library, will make the selection of specific titles. Memorial identification will be in the form of a gift plate on the material.
Local History Collection
The purpose of the Wilmington Memorial Library Local History Collection is to preserve materials that document the history of Wilmington, and to make these materials available to researchers and the general public.
The major emphasis of the collection is current and historical information about the town of Wilmington. In addition, the collection includes a small selection of materials about the towns contiguous to Wilmington (Andover, North Reading, Reading, Woburn, Burlington, Billerica, and Tewksbury). A small collection of genealogical materials about Massachusetts and the United States is also available.
The local history collection is limited to typed, bound books and pamphlets; microfilm; films; maps; and photographs. The collection does not include artifacts of any type, nor does it include traditional archival materials such as posters, diaries, letters, or personal handwritten or unbound papers.
Reconsideration of Library Materials
The choice of library materials for personal use is an individual matter. Parents or legal guardians have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, viewing, or listening of their minor children. The library does not take the place of the parent or guardian. Although anyone is free to reject materials for himself/herself, or for his/her minor children, the individual cannot restrict the access of others to materials. In the event of a patron complaint, the following will be done:
- Patron will be given copies of:
- The Collection Development Policy
- The Library Bill of Rights
- The Freedom to Read Statement
- The patron will be asked to fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form.
- The Library Director will review the request. This process may involve speaking with the selector responsible for purchasing the item in question. After reviewing the request, the Library Director will contact the patron to discuss the outcome.
- Appeals may be made to the Library Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees decision is final.
Approved by Board of Library Trustees 2-15-11; Revised 3/15/11