Selection of Materials and Maintenance of Collection

The Montague Public Libraries (MPL) endorses the Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, two documents issued by the American Library Association. Included in these statements is the commitment to honor the rights of an individual to use the library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, background or social or political views. Accordingly, the staff of the library provides equal service to all library users. The Libraries acquire materials in a variety of formats, including paper and digital. The same work may be acquired in more than one format to meet the needs and/or preferences of library patrons.

Individual items are purchased based on the following criteria:

1. Contemporary significance or current usefulness or interest.

2. Authority and competence of presentation.

3. Importance as an historical record or of permanent value.

4. Relevance to existing collection.

5. Physical quality of format and binding.

6. Presentation of diverse and inclusive perspectives and ideas.

7. Balance of special group interest with general demand.

8. Cost in relation to the individual title and to the overall collection.

9. Selection of materials for the adult collection will not be restricted by the possibility that children may obtain material considered by their parents to be inappropriate.

10. Selection of materials on the basis of recommendations of accepted established review sources such as Publishers’ Weekly, New York Times, Kirkus, etc.

11. Priority of the collection is the Carnegie library, due to that location’s longer open hours. Exceptions may be made for materials especially suited for the Millers or Montague Center Branches.

Materials will be chosen for children and teens on the basis of recommendations by recognized authorities in the field of youth literature; specific review sources such as ALSC - Association for Library Services to Children, AICL - American Indians in Children's Literature, Lee Low, Disability in KidLit, The Stories For All Project, American Library Association's Rainbow Book List, and Teen Librarian Toolbox etc. and the criteria listed above. The materials will attempt to satisfy the curiosities, interests, and maturity levels of youth of all ages. The library will provide supplementary materials, which enrich the resources available to children, but no materials which are strictly curriculum related, and belong within the province of the schools. Responsibility for the use of materials by children and teens rests with their parents or legal guardian. Youth of all ages are allowed full access to the library collection.

The library will attempt to acquire titles by local authors (from Montague and the surrounding towns) that are published by mainstream publishers and fit the selection criteria. Books by local authors that are donated may be considered for inclusion in the library’s collection, but will be subject to the same selection criteria as books the library purchases, as well as the guidelines for gifts. Materials that are not selected will be transferred to the Friends of the Montague Public Libraries for use in their book sales. Due to staffing and time constraints, we are not always able to meet with individual authors. Additionally, we cannot accept review copies.

Titles that are self-published, even if available via mainstream distributors, will be added only if they meet the library’s selection criteria. That these titles require original cataloging, which lengthens the acquisition process, will factor into the library’s consideration of them.

The library welcomes suggestions for the purchase of materials. Suggestions will be subject to the same standards of selection as other considered materials. However, textbooks will not be considered unless they are the only source of information on a topic of general interest. A request form is available on the libraries’ website and paper copies are available at all three Montague Library locations.

The library appreciates gifts and accepts them with the following provisos: 1. That the same criteria apply to the incorporation of gifts into the collection as the selection of books and other library materials. 2. The library reserves the right to administer gifts with a view to the best interests of the library. 3. The library will not become a depository or custodian for materials of great monetary or historical value. 4. The gift-giver accept that materials not selected for the library collection will be transferred to the Friends of the Montague Public Libraries for use in their book sales.

Requests from patrons to withdraw materials from the collection are to be made in writing and to be evaluated within the context of the Freedom to Read Statement and Library Bill of Rights. The Library Director will review the title, evaluate the original decision for the purchase of the material, and then make a written ruling on the request. If the individual is not satisfied with the Director’s decision, the person may make a written request to the Board of Trustees. The Trustees’ decision is final.

Weeding and discarding of materials from the collection is done on a systematic basis. This function is necessitated by limitations of space, obsolescence of material, lack of use over extended period of time, physical condition of the item, and acquisition of new materials. With the exception of the MPL’s local history collection, the library does not serve an archival function. The same criteria that are applied to the purchase of new books will be applied to the discarding and weeding of books. Materials discarded because of loss, vandalism, or poor condition will be considered for replacement.

Approved by the Trustees of the Montague Public Libraries 3/28/2022