Library Mission Statement
The West Bridgewater Public Library is a place where people can find reliable information and develop many different types of literacies and competencies. The evolving needs are met through collections, programs, services and an ever-present building of community across gender, cultural differences, age and abilities.
Collection Development Policy Purpose
Collection Development is the process of building useful, balanced collections within a set budget and based on the information needs of the library’s users. It includes selection based on set criteria, resource sharing, replacement of items, and routine assessment with weeding. The ultimate goal is to provide users with a relevant and up-to-date collection that meets their changing information needs over time.
This policy is intended to provide guidelines for acquisition and retention of materials in accordance with the library’s mission statement. This policy also serves to inform the public of the methods used to develop a diverse collection of materials. The West Bridgewater Public Library adheres to the principles of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association.
The West Bridgewater Public Library intends to provide an open and welcoming environment where materials are selected with the interests of all members of the community in mind. The collection contains materials from multiple formats, genres, subjects, and reading levels in order to maintain an inclusive collection for patrons of all ages, abilities, and interests.
The library is committed to offering its residents an extensive range of resources that cater to their changing needs and reflects a diverse community. Its mission is to encourage reading and literacy, foster lifelong education, promote curiosity and inquisitiveness in each person, and treat all individuals with the utmost dignity and respect. It is the library’s ultimate goal to provide maximum accessibility to resources and materials for the betterment of the community.
The ultimate responsibility for materials selection lies with the Library Director who may delegate collection development to specific staff members whose area of expertise aligns with specific subjects and collections. This policy provides criteria to serve as guidelines for staff members, as well as guidance for members of the community looking to understand the selection process.
Criteria for Selection
The library staff will curate a collection of materials that caters to the community’s needs and interests in regards to information, education, and recreation. The collection will include a diverse range of perspectives on current and historical issues. To achieve this, the staff will use a variety of resources, such as published reviews, professional and trade publications, as well as patron requests and recommendations. Additionally, the library will provide materials in various formats to cater to different reading preferences.
Selection criteria for all materials includes but is not limited to the following:
- Anticipated and popular demand
- Accuracy and currency of information
- Cost and availability
- Historical significance
- Literary and/or artistic merit
- The strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection
- Local relevance.
- Availability at other libraries, most notably those in the sails network.
- Contribution to the diversity and scope of the current collection
- Relevance to the current needs and interests of the public, patron requests
- Reputation, significance and authority of work or creator
- Available library space
- Published evaluations or reviews
- Accessibility of materials
- Relevance of format and content to the intended audience
It is not necessary for an item to meet all of these criteria in order to be selected.
Collection Maintenance and Weeding
To maintain a relevant and useful collection, ongoing evaluation and maintenance are crucial. Materials will be reviewed and weeded from the library collection based on specific criteria. This is done to create space for new items and replace materials that have outdated information or are in poor physical condition. This process will ensure that the collection continues to meet the needs of West Bridgewater patrons. Materials that meet any of the criteria outlined below will be flagged for review by circulation staff. A final decision on whether to remove the item will be made in consultation with circulation staff and the Library Director.
The following criteria are considered during the weeding process:
- Outdated Content: Materials that are outdated, contain factually inaccurate or misleading information, or are superseded by a newer edition or improved source, will be removed in favor or more up to date content.
- Condition: Materials that are in poor physical condition that are beyond repair will be removed.
- Relevance: Materials that are no longer relevant to the West Bridgewater community’s needs and interests will be removed.
- Duplication: Materials that are duplicates or have been replaced by newer editions will be removed.
- Usage: Materials that are not used for a significant period of time will be considered for removal.
Replacements and updated editions are purchased when warranted. Materials that are removed from the collection may be discarded. donated, or recycled depending on condition and quality. Materials that are rare or unique may be retained for archival purposes.
Patrons who disagree with the removal of a particular item may submit a written appeal to the Library Director. The Library Director will review the appeal and make a final decision. For more information, please see the “Reconsideration” section.
Gifts/Donations From Individuals or Organizations
The Library welcomes gifts of funds and materials to enrich the collection. New or used donated materials are subject to the same criteria as purchased materials. Gifts of materials are accepted with the understanding that they may be utilized or disposed of at the Library’s discretion. Monetary gifts will be applied to the selection of materials by the Library Director in consultation with library staff and the donor as appropriate. The Library reserves the right to determine the use and disposition of all gifts unconditionally.
Reconsideration of Material
The West Bridgewater Public Library Board of Trustees and the West Bridgewater Public Library endorse the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. The Library upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. Materials available in the Library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.
Residents of West Bridgewater who wish to request that the West Bridgewater Public Library reconsider the acquisition or removal of an item must fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Material” form. This form can be found at the bottom of this page. The request must be made by the individual who read, watched, or used the item. Reconsideration requests of materials not viewed in their entirety will not be considered. Reconsideration forms are available on the West Bridgewater Public Library website, or they can be provided by staff at the front desk. The request is then reviewed by the Library Director or Assistant Director who will in turn issue a response. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the request for reconsideration, they may appeal to the West Bridgewater Public Library Board of Trustees. The decision of the Board is final. The Board of Trustees aims to decide in fairness to protect the rights of all persons who are involved.
Library employees are protected by Chapter 78, Section 33, of the General Laws of Massachusetts: Policy for Selection and Use of Library Materials and Facilities, which states that no employee shall be dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with the standards of the American Library Association.
Policy Review and Revision
This Collection Development Policy will be reviewed periodically by collection development staff and the Board of Trustees. The most recent revision of this policy was completed in May of 2023 by the Library Director and Assistant Director and was approved by the West Bridgewater Public Library Board of Trustees on June 14, 2023.
Request for Reconsideration
A printable version of the following form can be found here.