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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 the community by promoting the joy of reading, lifelong learning, and is a welcoming place for quiet reflection 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, Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View 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. 


Children’s Collection:

The children’s collection serves children through grade five 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.

Teen Collection: 

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.

Adult Collection: 

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.


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.


The following sources are among those regularly used by selectors.

    • 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.)
      • Library Journal
      • The New York Times Book Review
      • School Library Journal
      • Kirkus Reviews
    • Suggestions from staff (other than those officially assigned selection responsibility)
    • Requests from library patrons

 Selection Criteria:

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

Multiple Copies:

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
      • Obsolescence of format
    • Deselected items will be:
      • Given to the Friends of the Library to be sold at the Bookstore Next Door or donated to other non-profits
      • Donated to the local schools or other libraries
      • Recycled or destroyed, if condition warrant


Material Donations:

The library does not accept direct donations of physical materials. All material donations should be brought to the Friends of the Library Bookstore Next Door. Selectors may acquire items donated to the Book Store Next Door for the library’s collection on a case by case basis. The Bookstore and/or library retain the right to sell, donate, recycle, or discard any donated item at any time.

Monetary Donations:

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 in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Policy.

Self Published Books

The library will consider self-published works for acquisition using the same selection criteria that is used for all our materials. The following factors will also be considered in whether the self-published work will be added to the collection:

    • The author is from Wilmington or the content of the book relates to the history of the town.
    • The work has had the benefit of a professional editor/proof reader or a writing group.
    • The work has a positive review from a professional literary publication.
    • The selector has reviewed and determined that the material should be added to the collection.

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.

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.  These items are housed at the Town Museum under the care of the Town Curator.

Every effort is made to digitize local history documents and make them available through the library’s website.


Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
ALA Library Bill of Rights
ALA Freedom to Read Statement
ALA Freedom to View Statement

Approved by Board of Library Trustees 2/15/11;
Revised 3/15/11;
Revised 11/18/14;
Revised 6/16/15;
Revised 2/15/22
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