The collection development policy is intended to implement the general objectives of the Westfield Memorial Library. The policy provides the framework for the purchase and evaluation of materials in a variety of formats to meet the diverse and continuously changing needs of the community. The collection strives to meet the informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs of persons of all ages and educational levels within the community.
Final authority for the determination of policy in the acquisition of books and other materials is vested in the Library Board of Trustees. Responsibility for material selection within this policy and control of expenditures for materials rest with the Director. Selection decisions are delegated by the Director to qualified staff members.
Westfield Memorial Library is an integrated system with two points of access: the physical collection located within the library building, and the digital collection, which is accessible online through the library’s website. Both collections attempt to provide materials for all ages in a wide range of formats including, but not limited to: text, audio, video, and electronic media. These two collections aim to support and complement each other.
The physical collection is located within the library building and consists of a broad collection that attempts to fill the diverse needs and interests of community members. It includes materials, both current and retrospective, on a wide range of subjects and representing varying viewpoints and styles.
The digital collection represents the diverse viewpoints and interests of the entire community the library serves. This collection includes citation and full text databases; eBooks, eAudio Books, digital magazines, and other downloadable and streaming media; and instructional content.
Criteria for Collection Development
Collection development is an ongoing process which involves the purchase of new materials as well as the re-evaluation and deselection of the present collection. Collection development is based on the merit of content rather than personal considerations regarding the author or producer.
Criteria for the selection of materials include:
- Significant needs of the library’s patrons and the community
- Literary or production quality of the work as a whole
- Informational, educational, or recreational value of subject matter
- Permanent or timely value of subject matter
- Endangerment of work due to documented attempts to censor or suppress
- Authority and accuracy of matter presented
- Reputation and significance in the field of those involved in the work
- Reputation of the publisher or producer, with preference generally given to titles vetted in the editing and publishing industry
- Appropriateness of format to subject matter
- Price, availability, and Library materials budget
- Relation to cooperative collection arrangements with other libraries
- Relation to the rest of the collection
- Opinions of others as expressed in professional selection aids such as Booklist, Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, Horn Book; and current general reviewing selection aids such as New York Times Books Review, Billboard, and in various published lists.
- Online resources are also evaluated based on accessibility and the availability of library licensing.
Criteria for collection maintenance include:
- Physical condition
- Inclusion in standardized lists (including lists of books that are frequently challenged)
- Number of copies
- Availability elsewhere, including cooperative collection arrangements with other libraries
Collection Development Philosophy
The Westfield Memorial Library connects and engages all residents to make our community a better place to live. The library collects materials in a variety of popular formats, which support its function as a major information source for the demanding needs of a dynamic population. The collection also serves the popular and recreational needs of the public, and reflects the racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity of the Westfield community.
Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each customer of Westfield Memorial Library. The library provides materials to support each individual’s journey and does not place a value on one customer’s needs or preferences over another’s. The library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others.
Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision, support recreational reading, encourage, and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, lead to recognition and appreciation of literature, and reflect the diversity of the community. The reading and viewing activity of children under 18 is ultimately the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their own children’s development.
- Curriculum-related materials. The library supplements local curricular needs but does not purchase materials which are specific to those needs (i.e. textbooks) unless they fill a gap in the collection or are the best materials available on a given subject.
- Local authors. The library will acquire, catalog, and house those works of local authors which are brought to the library’s attention and meet the selection criteria, as stated above. Not all works created by local authors will meet the selection criteria above, including works that are self-published.
- Gift materials. Donations of materials may be accepted with the understanding that the library will use them as it sees fit. Materials in acceptable condition which meet selection criteria will be added to the collection. Others will be disposed of in whatever manner the library deems best.
- Banned Books. As a “book sanctuary”, the library will acquire and protect books that have been the subject of documented efforts to censor, challenge, or suppress.
Any Westfield Memorial Library cardholder’s request for purchase of a specific title, when submitted on the library form provided for this purpose, will be given special consideration. If the title meets the criteria stated here, it will be purchased, and the requesting patron notified of its purchase. If a requested title is not purchased, every effort will be made to obtain the title, or an acceptable substitute, through inter-library loan or alternate means, if the patron so desires.
Westfield Memorial Library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.
The library also selects a wide variety of library materials that satisfy the diverse interests of the Westfield community. The library upholds the right of the individual to secure these resources, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to some. The library’s varied collection is available to all; however, it is not expected that all of the collection will appeal to everyone.
Patrons who wish to request the withdrawal or reclassification of materials currently owned by the library are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the department supervisor or Library Director. If the patron is not satisfied with the response to their request, the manager will provide the patron with information and a form to request formal reconsideration of the library resource. Access to material under review shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Director and Department Heads. Recommendations for revision will be sent by the Director to the library Board of Trustees for approval.
Last updated: October 25, 2023.