Purpose of Policy and Community Served
The Clapp Memorial Library strives to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community by promoting access to popular, in demand materials for all ages. The library does so through the development and effective use of its collections, chosen to meet the needs and interests of the Belchertown community and library users from the surrounding area. It is a resource for independent lifelong learning and also seeks to complement the library resources of the Belchertown schools, without duplicating their special functions or holdings. This policy provides guidelines whereby the library can develop the collection most suited to meet community needs. Access to additional resources and information outside the scope of its collection is also available through regional delivery and interlibrary loan, as facilitated by our membership in the Massachusetts Library System and the resource sharing network C/WMARS.
Responsibility for Collection Development
Responsibility for collection development rests with the Library Director, who delegates some duties, as appropriate, to department heads. The Board of Trustees and the staff of the Clapp Memorial Library are committed to facilitating access to all information for all readers. To that end they support and adhere to the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, the Freedom to View statement, and the Library Bill of Rights.
Access to Collections
All patrons have equal access to all library holdings. The library does not act in place of or in the absence of the parent/guardian. Parents or guardians are responsible for enforcing any individual restrictions that they may place on their child’s use of library resources. The library serves people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds. The spectrum of ideas and philosophies espoused in the materials in the collection will be wide and varied, representing divergent points of view. The library may circulate materials whose manner of presentation or subject matter may be offensive to some individuals. Inclusion of any item in the library collection does not constitute an endorsement of a particular belief, point of view or opinion. Budgetary and space constraints may limit our ability to purchase certain materials.
The Clapp Memorial Library collection is designed to serve the needs of the general public. The collection includes materials in a variety of formats, including but not limited to: books, periodicals, audio and video recordings (on CD, portable media player, or DVD), electronic resources, e-readers, digital content, and miscellany such as kits. In its role as a cultural and recreational center, acquisition of small musical instruments for public borrowing would be consistent with the library’s mission, space permitting. The library strives to evaluate new and emerging formats and make them, when appropriate, available to our borrowing public. Requests from staff and patrons are encouraged and will be given serious consideration, based on standard selection criteria.
The library purchases current materials proportionate to levels of demand and use, while anticipating and responding to emerging community needs. The collection will reflect interests, attitudes and beliefs as they become apparent in the local community. The library strives to present a balanced and unbiased collection. A diversity of views on controversial topics should be represented. The possible controversial nature or the anticipation of challenges will not preclude the purchase of material.
The Clapp Memorial Library offers access to the internet as a resource providing information far beyond the confines of the library. The library provides access to online databases and selects a limited number based on cost, community interest, ease of use, and usefulness. Selection is also based on relation to state- provided databases, with the intention of avoiding duplication of those resources.
An item will be purchased to fill heavy demand, even though reviews may be unfavorable or other items on the same subject are in the collection.
No attempt is made to acquire textbooks, curriculum, or academic study materials if those materials are not of general interest to the public.
Library staff consults recognized review sources, including, but not limited to the American Library Association publication Booklist, Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and other professional and publishing review resources.
We follow qualitative selection standards developed by specialists, and evaluate material based on the following criteria (all of which may not apply to all formats and types of materials):
- contemporary significance or permanent value
- popularity or demand
- representation of important viewpoint, trend, or cultural movement
- present and potential relevance to the community
- composition of current collection
- space and budgetary constraints
- quality and usefulness of physical format
- unique point of view
Fiction: The library seeks to provide a wide selection of fiction of current popular interest in a variety of styles and genres, and a reasonable selection of classics or older titles of recurrent interest or special literary merit.
Nonfiction: The library selects according to accuracy, currency and representation of various viewpoints. These criteria apply to both our adult, young adult and juvenile collections. Subject areas of high demand are represented in greater variety and numbers than areas of low demand.
Reference: Given the constraints of limited space and budgets, the Clapp Memorial Library acquires new reference materials on a very limited basis. The availability of online research databases through C/WMARS and the MBLC and the availability of internet reference sources contributes to a lessened demand for traditional print reference materials.
Periodicals: The library selects a variety of popular magazines to fill the need for recreational as well as informational reading. Criteria for selection are representation of community interest, complements or fills a collection development need, attractiveness of format and accuracy of information. Back issues are kept for one year.
Audiovisual Collections: The library purchases music representing significant performers, composers and a broad range of musical styles. The library currently purchases music on compact disc, and unabridged fiction and nonfiction audio books on disc and on dedicated media players called Playaways. The movie collection is purchased on standard DVDs, with a smaller collection in blue-ray format. While the collection is geared toward classic and contemporary films, the library also collects informational videos including but not limited to documentaries, travel, history, health, and “how-to” subjects.
Young Adult: This collection is devoted to titles of particular interest to adolescents aged 12 through 18. Fiction, nonfiction, magazines and audio books are selected to entertain, educate, and encourage exploration. To fulfill these needs, the collection will inevitably include materials on controversial or sensitive topics. Graphic novels will also be purchased to satisfy demand.
Children: The library collects print, audio, video and electronic resources to stimulate creativity, develop reading ability, and satisfy a child’s need for information and entertainment. This collection serves children from birth through sixth grade, and adults involved with children such as parents, teachers, and group leaders. Non-fiction should be accurate, timely and objective. Children’s fiction is subdivided according to interest and reading levels—picture books, easy readers, general fiction, including a variety of genres and reading levels. Materials in this collection, like all of literature, often reflect reality. As such it may include materials considered controversial or potentially offensive to some.
Special Collections: The library maintains a non-circulating collection of Local History materials, primarily books, but including photographs and newspaper articles. This collection is devoted to Belchertown history, and the history of surrounding towns. The local newspaper, The Sentinel, is available bound 1915-2011, on microfilm 1915-2003, and on compact disc 2004-2008, and 2011.
Gifts & Donations
Gifts of materials are accepted, with the understanding that they are subject to the same scrutiny as purchased or solicited materials, and all donated materials become the property of the Clapp Memorial Library. Items not added to the collection may be sold by the Friends of the Clapp Memorial Library for fundraising purposes, or discarded at the discretion of the Library Director.
The library will accept memorial gifts in the form of funds rather than particular titles. The library will make every effort to honor the spirit of the donation by choosing items that, as much as possible, reflect the interests of the friend or loved one being remembered, within the broad parameters of our collection development policy. The choice of the particular title is left to the discretion of library staff. While we recognize the special nature of these donations, such materials may not be retained indefinitely, and are subject to our standard withdrawal process.
Withdrawal of Materials
The cycle of service requires that some items must be discarded, and the weeding process is an integral part of collection development. Maintaining a balanced, useful, and attractive collection demands that items be regularly withdrawn. Weeding requires expert knowledge of the collection, the community, patterns of library use, and selection principles. Weeding is the responsibility of the staff member who makes acquisition decisions in specific subject areas. Space issues at the Clapp Memorial Library result in aggressive weeding in order to provide adequate space for new materials.
“THE CREW METHOD: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries” provides accepted guidelines to assist in weeding decisions and will be employed when needed. Some criteria for weeding include:
- Physical condition
- Currency and authority
- Accuracy of information
- Recent use/circulation
- Current need
- Breadth of subject area
Because of the extreme lack of shelving space in the Clapp Memorial Library, duplicates of adult titles will not be retained longer than two years after publication, unless special circumstances and public interest demand ownership of duplicate copies. Withdrawn materials will be offered to the Friends of the Library for sale at their biannual book sales.
Reconsideration of Materials
Complaints regarding library materials will be directed to the Library Director. The Director will hear the complaint and will inform the patron of library selection procedures and policies, furnishing a copy of the Clapp Memorial Library Collection Development Policy. Patrons wishing to formally challenge the appropriateness of an item in the collection may submit a “request for reconsideration” form. Receipt of the reconsideration form will be acknowledged within two weeks. The matter will be brought before the Board of Trustees at their next regularly scheduled meeting. No materials will be removed from the shelves until the Trustees and Director have ruled on the request.
Approved March 20, 2012