Philosophy and Scope
Collection development at the Amherst Town Library is based on principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. The library maintains a collection that represents a broad spectrum of opinion and subject matter, in diverse formats, suitable to a variety of learning and recreational interests. The library builds a collection for the general public that is responsive to changing community interests and needs.
Responsibility for Collection Development
The Board of Library Trustees adopts a Collection Development Policy which they authorize the Library Director to administer. The Director allocates the materials budget and designates staff to develop selection and acquisition procedures and to make purchasing decisions subject to approval.
Materials Selection Process/ Criteria/ Standards
Library staff use a variety of tools to aid in awareness and selection of materials including professional review journals, popular media, electronic interest groups/ listservs/ feeds, publishers’ catalogs, patron and staff recommendations.
The lack of a review or a favorable/ unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting or adding a title.
Staff will objectively evaluate based on the entire work, not just individual parts and the work’s overall contribution to the collection.
Many selection criteria will be considered, carrying different weights in different circumstances. Budget and space availability, as well as availability of the material through interlibrary loan will also shape the selection process. All materials, whether purchased or donated, will be evaluated critically based on some combination of :
Additional criteria that will be considered when selecting materials in electronic formats include
Works which are obviously and exclusively created for pornographic or sensational purposes will not be selected. Objectionable language and vivid descriptions of sex and violence when dealt with realistically within the context of a work will not be criteria for rejecting the title.
The responsibility for a child’s choice in reading materials belongs with the parents and legal guardians of the child. Collection selection will not be determined by the possibility that controversial works may come into the possession of children.
The library welcomes gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts may be refused if they do not meet the objectives of this policy or require special housing. The library will not accept conditions relating to the gift and reserves the right to dispose of the gift, at its discretion, when it no longer fits the needs or scope of the collection. The library does not provide evaluations for tax purposes nor does it make the arrangements for such an evaluation.
In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good repair, easy to use, and appealing, materials are withdrawn on a continuing basis. Collections should change over time to reflect changes in the community and the library’s goals. Materials will be de-selected when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise not in compliance with the criteria for selection.
Controversial Materials and Intellectual Freedom
The Amherst Town Library does not promote particular beliefs or views, but strives to provide free access to a well-balanced collection of topics, suitable to the diverse members of the community.
Language, situations or subjects that may be offensive to some community members do not disqualify materials which, in their entirety, are judged to be of value.
The library houses materials in the areas to which they seem most suitable, but does not restrict their use by ages or other criteria.
The library does not rely on private advisory codes or rating services in the selection of materials, but also does not remove them if they are integral to the packaging of the work.
In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to have access to materials, the library supports:
Should a community member object to a particular item owned by the Amherst Town Library, the patron will be offered the opportunity to fill out a “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Library Resource”. The request shall be reviewed by three library staff members and/or trustees including the Library Director. The Library Director will issue a written decision to the challenger that may be appealed to the Library Board of Trustees. In the event of an appeal, the decision of the Library Board of Trustees is final. The challenged materials will remain in the collection while the material is being reviewed.