Materials Selection Policy
|The Chelmsford Public Library system accepts in full
Bill of Rights, as adopted by the American Library Association
“The American Library Association affirms that all libraries
are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic
policies should guide their services:
||Books and other library resources should
be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all
people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be
excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing
to their creations.
Libraries should provide materials and information presenting
all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should
not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their
responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned
with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to
A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or
abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available
to the public they serve should make such facilities available on
an equitable basis regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of
individuals or groups requesting their use.
The Chelmsford Public Library supports, as well the Freedom
to Read statement which was adopted by the American Library Association
in 1972. A copy of that document is appended.
Overall, the Chelmsford Public Library system seeks a strong and
useful collection. It seeks to include rather than exclude materials.
Additionally, no item (including books, audio cassettes, or videos)
will be chosen or excluded solely because of the presence of expletives,
sexual descriptions, or particular political, social, or religious
ideals. There is no list of approved
materials to which this library confines its selections.
RESPONSIBILITIES FOR MATERIALS SELECTION:
||The Board of Library Trustees is responsible
for adopting a materials selection policy. Responsibility for implementing
the policy is delegated to the Library Director, who may in turn delegate
further portions of that responsibility to selected staff members.
A Materials Selections Committee composed of the Director, a Trustee
representative, and an appropriate Department Head may be convened
to reevaluate selected materials on occasion.
||It is the Library’s duty to provide
a wide range of recreational and informational materials in order
that all citizens be free to decide for themselves the merits of arguments,
points of view, or works of art. Selections must never reflect the
tastes and opinions of the selector(s) to the exclusion of other representative
points of view; neither will the Library yield to any pressure to
selection to this end. Materials may undergo a staff review period
before being added to the collection. Generally, four selection criteria
Anticipated usefulness or popularity, based on Chelmsford’s
past library reading trends and informational needs, and on national
interest or reading preferences (as indicated, for example, by the
New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly
best sellers lists.)
Quality based on review, recommended booklists, authors, and/or
publishers’ reputation; patron request and/or recommendation,
and academic importance.
All materials must promise a reasonable correlation between cost
and actual or potential value to the community.
Quality material for which there is no present demand may be selected
in limited quantity on a trial basis to establish whether or not
sufficient and legitimate market exists.
The Library will not attempt to furnish materials needed for formal
courses of study offered by public or private schools. The Public
Library has materials for self-study, but it is not primarily designed
to furnish reading required for academic study.
In general, the collection is confined to currently useful materials,
with the exception of material pertaining to Chelmsford and the
surrounding area. The Library does not attempt to serve as a research
center, nor does it try to develop research collections in any subject
field except local history. Every effort is made within the region
and the state to promote and participate in cooperative programs
for the acquisition or interlibrary loan for scholarly, specialized,
costly, and/or seldom used materials.
Every attempt is made to acquire titles by local authors that are
published by mainstream publishers. Self-published titles (e.g.,
via print-on-demand, vanity or subsidized presses) are not purchased
for the collection unless there is a compelling reason to do so
(valuable local content, high local interest). Local authors are
welcome to donate their works to the library. If the donated book
does not otherwise meet our collection development criteria, we
will add the donated title to our collection, and shelve it in the
Chelmsford Writers collection.
||The Chelmsford Public Library recognizes
its right and responsibility to provide worthwhile materials of interest
to its readers and not prohibited by federal or state law, including
those on all sides of controversial issues. If materials meet the
criteria of selection, they will not be removed from the collection
because of pressure by any individual or group. The Library will not
indicate through labels or other devices particular philosophies presented
in library materials.
It is deemed the responsibility of parents to determine what their
children may read, hear or view. The selection of material for the
Adult Collection is not restricted by the possibility that young
people may obtain materials their parents may not consider appropriate.
Access to library material shall be controlled only to the extent
necessary to protect it from damage or theft.
The Library Director is available to review selection decisions,
and welcomes the opportunity to discuss the interpretation of library
goals and principles with interested individuals or representatives
Formal requests for withdrawal of specific items must be submitted
to the Director in writing. A copy of the form is appended. Copies
of the form are available at all circulation desks and the Reference
Department. If the Library Director cannot resolve the issue to
the satisfaction of the citizen in question, that person may request
a hearing before the Selection Committee (See: “Responsibilities
for Book Selection,” above.)
||Systematic removal of materials no longer
useful to the collection is essential in maintaining the purposes
and quality of resources. Weeding is as important as the original
selection, and the same criteria are applied. Materials withdrawn
from the collection generally are either too worn for continued use
or repair, outdated (particularly in rapidly changing fields), or
no longer in active use due to changing user interests. Materials
withdrawn from the collection are made available to the Friends of
the Library for their sales to benefit the Library. Unsold materials
may be given away for charitable purposes or recycled if no other
options are available.
||The Library welcomes gifts of books and
other materials with the understanding that it will evaluate them
in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Those
that do not conform with the general selection criteria are generally
not added to the collection.