1113 GAR Highway | Swansea, MA 02777 | (508) 674-9609

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

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 Suggestions 

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.

Local History  

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. 

Nonprint Materials 

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.