Swansea Free Public Library
Collection Development Policy
I. Purpose of the Policy
The Collection Development Policy offers guidance to Library staff in the selection and retention of materials, including what subject areas and material types to consider buying, and how much emphasis each item should receive. Additionally, the policy informs the public about the principles upon which library staff make for materials selection and collection maintenance.
II. Description of Community Served and Relationship with other Agencies
The Swansea Free Public Library serves all citizens of all ages who live, pay taxes, or own property in the town of Swansea, MA. The SAILS Library Network, the southeastern MA regional library consortium, and the Commonwealth Catalog, a statewide cooperative program among Massachusetts libraries, provide additional services to any Massachusetts resident with a valid library card from another Massachusetts municipality. Conversely, Swansea residents may use the traditional services of any other Massachusetts library with their valid Swansea library card.
The Swansea Free Public Library cooperates with public and private schools, local agencies which serve children, nursing homes, community groups, and other municipal departments in the Town of Swansea to enhance the services that these groups provide.
III. Library Service Goals and the Purpose of the Collection
The mission of the Swansea Free Public Library is to be a strong community partner providing programs and services that bring people together, foster creativity, and encourage lifelong learning. We preserve and honor our historical past, enrich present lives, and prepare for an ever changing future. Through excellent customer service, we offer equitable access to all and create a friendly and safe atmosphere of learning. We are proud to serve the greater Swansea community and embrace an exciting future fulfilling the diverse needs of our town. The Library strives to meet these needs within the limitations of space, staffing, and budget. The Library endeavors to make use of new technologies and formats to offer library users the greatest access to information and ideas.
IV. Objectives for all Areas of Collection Development
The Collection Development Policy is based on the Library’s Mission and the long-established principles of the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, the Freedom to View, and the Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors statements, as approved and adopted by the American Library Association. In accordance with these statements, no library material shall be rejected solely because of the subject it treats; the degree of orthodoxy with which the subject is treated; the race, sex, nationality, or the political, social or religious views of the author; or because the material does not happen to be in accord with the beliefs and opinions of librarians or library users. The selection of any given item is not a library endorsement of the viewpoints expressed. Nor are selections made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collection and serving the needs of the readers. The library will make every attempt to provide materials representing diverse viewpoints on public issues of a controversial nature.
While the library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any items, the library does not have to remove from shelves items purchased in accordance with policy outlined here. Nor shall library materials be marked in such a way as to show approval or disapproval. No catalogued item will be removed from the open shelves except for the purpose of protecting it from theft or mutilation. Responsibility for reading matter and media used by children is the responsibility of their guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that books or media may come into the possession of children.
V. Criteria and Responsibility for Selection, Selection Guides
The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Director delegates much of the responsibility for materials selection to the library selection team. Their primary assignment is to continuously strengthen the collection by seeking materials of quality and of high demand. The selection team considers factors including accuracy, quality of writing, readability, format, cost, and existing holdings. The team also utilizes professional review sources, as well as standard lists of recommended titles, and information provided by publishers to make material selections.
VI. Considerations for the Collection
User recommendations are seriously considered, and are judged using the selection criteria stated above. If any item is deemed inappropriate for the collection because of cost, format or degree of technicality, an attempt will be made to borrow it for the patron through the interlibrary loan network.
Donations and Memorials
The Library does not accept donations unless they relate to specific local history or are acceptable when judged on the same basis as purchased materials. If the Library Director considers that they will be in demand and will upgrade the collection, donated materials will be cataloged and added
to the Library collection. If donations are not considered suitable for the library collection, they will be offered to the Friends of the Swansea Library for consideration to be used in their annual book sale fundraiser. All accepted donations to the library will be integrated into the existing collection. Special collections, which must be separately shelved/ will not be accepted.
The Swansea Free Public Library does not assign a value to the materials donated. The Library is prohibited by law from appraising donations or placing a monetary value on gifts; however, the Library will send a letter of acknowledgement that can be used for tax purposes. To receive a letter of acknowledgement, persons should fill out a book donations form indicating the number/amount of books/materials donated and submit it at the time the donation is made.
The Library welcomes funds to be used for the purchase of memorials. A thank you note will be sent to the donor, and the family of the person honored will be notified. Materials will have a gift plate showing the name of the donor and/or the person honored.
Withdrawals and Replacements
The American Library Association recommends that annual withdrawals should average about 5% of the total collection so that the Library can maintain an up-to-date and inviting collection. Lack of demand, obsolete or erroneous information, and poor condition are the main reasons for discarding. Standard titles of lasting value (unless they are replaced by newer copies) and materials of special interest will not be discarded.
Discarded materials will be marked "discarded" and will be disposed of at the discretion of the Library Director. Discarded materials may be offered to charitable, historical and educational as well as public institutions. They may also be sold to the public daily at the Library, or offered to the Friends of the Swansea Library. The Library does not necessarily replace materials, which have been discarded due to loss or damage. Demand, number of duplicate copies, adequate subject coverage in the field with remaining materials, and availability of copies elsewhere in the library system are all considered, when making decisions, as to whether or not to replace a given title.
VII. Parameters of the Collection
Print Materials - Adult Collection
The print collection consists of books and periodicals. Selection of these materials requires knowledge of several factors: knowledge of the needs and desires of the community, awareness of current social and political issues, knowledge of the book trade and scope of materials available, and budget considerations.
The library serves a variety of ages, ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds and, therefore, attempts to provide a broad range of recreational and educational materials on several levels and subjects. Particular emphasis is placed on providing books useful to the residents of Swansea.
The Library purchases a broad range of general magazines as well. Periodicals that reflect the interests of the community may be offered in a variety of formats.
The library collects materials pertinent to history of Swansea and adjacent communities. Every effort will be made to make them accessible to library users. Donated materials and artifacts relating to the history of Swansea will be reviewed to determine appropriateness to the collection. Items not deemed appropriate to the library collection will be offered to the Swansea Historical Society.
The Library maintains a collection of nonprint materials, such as audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, online databases and a Library of Things, including mobile WIFI hotspots. In order to maintain an alignment with technological change, the library will review new technology on an ongoing basis and implement as appropriate.
Both professional and popular review sources will be used for selection, in addition to-patron requests, and use patterns.
Weeding of the nonprint media collection is based upon the physical condition of the material, its use, and/or its availability for replacement.
Children and Teen Materials
The children's materials collection serves youth, as well as adults who care for them. Children's materials represent all reading levels and consist of books, magazines, kits, and audiovisual materials.
The collection development team is responsible for selecting Children's and Teen materials. The collection will provide a broad range of recreational and educational materials on several levels and subjects. All materials are accessible to the entire community; there are no restrictions on what circulates.
As there are no school librarians or proper school libraries in the Swansea Public Schools, the Library is used by school-age children and teenagers to complement materials available in the schools, and attention is given to books on subjects included in the school curriculum. Multiple copies of materials may be purchased to meet the demands of schoolwide assignments. Textbooks for specific courses are not purchased, however, unless they happen to be the most appropriate available source of information in that field. Where electronic resources may decrease costs and increase access, they may compliment or supplant hard copy.
VIII. Extending Resources
The Library cannot purchase every item of value or all materials which may be requested, but will extend its resources through cooperation with local libraries and other libraries around the state to facilitate lending. Staff will actively follow resource sharing trends and implement as appropriate.
IX. Evaluation of the Collection
The process of collection development requires that staff be aware of the demands of the community and that it identify strengths and weaknesses of the collection, so that weaknesses can be corrected and strengths maintained. To achieve this, library staff shall evaluate the collection on an ongoing basis. Methods of evaluation include: analysis of reference questions, reserves and interlibrary loan requests to determine areas of need, and review demographic data to determine changes in the composition of the community.
X. Requests for Reconsideration of Material
If a patron adamantly objects to a particular item in the physical collection, the following procedure should be followed:
The patron will fill out the Reconsideration of Library Materials Form detailing objections to the material. The form will be referred to the Materials Review Committee, which shall consist of Library Director, two staff members on the Selection Team, and a designated Trustee. The Library Director will acknowledge the receipt of the form within two weeks.
Within two weeks after acknowledgement of the reconsideration recommendation, and reviewing the material, the review committee will decide whether the item will remain in the collection or will be removed. The Library Director will notify the patron of said decision. A final appeal may be made by the complainant to the Library Board of Trustees within seven days of the decision, and the Trustees will issue a decision within thirty days from the appeal date. Until a final decision is made, the item will remain in the collection. A copy of the request form without identifying patron information will be mailed to the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee. The Library will not convene a Materials Review Committee relative to the same complaint for a period of three years.
Approved by the Swansea Free Public Library Board of Trustees, October 18, 2018
Updated and approved April 21, 2022.