Putnam District Library

Collection Policy

The purpose of a Collection Development Policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public about principles upon which decisions are made when adding or withdrawing materials from the library’s collection.
Collection development refers to the on-going activity of systematic acquisition and removal of library materials.  Library materials can be in various formats, including print, audio, video or electronic.

General Principles of Collection Development
Putnam District Library will adhere to and support the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, and the Freedom to View, as adopted by the American Library Association, a copy of each is included in the appendix.  Thus, the library collection, protected by the First Amendment, is a marketplace of ideas which are contained in varied and divergent materials and formats. 

Putnam District Library is committed to honor the rights of an individual to use the library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or social or political views. Responsibility for children’s reading and viewing rests with parents or legal guardians. Library collection development should not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into possession of children.  Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will they be sequestered except for the purpose of protection from damage or theft.

Goals of Collection Development
  • To maintain a well-balanced, diverse, and broad collection of materials for information, reference, and research to meet the needs of the community.
  • To ensure that all parts of the collection are up-to-date, attractive, and well-maintained.
  • To continually evaluate present print, non-print and electronic formats and to identify new formats that will make the collection more valuable.
Responsibility of Selection
The responsibility for collection development lies with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined and adopted by the Library Board.  The Director may delegate to staff authority to interpret and apply policy on a day-to-day basis.  Allocation of the materials budget shall be determined by the Director.  The Library Director welcomes, and will consider for possible inclusion in the collection, recommendations from Putnam District Library cardholders. 
As needed, the Library Director may also delegate authority for selection of materials to a committee outside the library staff (Ex:  collaborative digital library materials).  The library also provides access to additional materials offered via MeLCat (interlibrary loan); responsibility for the selection of these materials falls solely to the owning library.

Objectives of Selection
Selection is based on the merits of a work in relation to the educational, recreational, and cultural needs, interests and demands of the community served by Putnam District Library.   Demand and use are key factors in the development of the general collection, with due regard for variations in educational level, reading interest and users’ special needs.  Every effort is made to represent all sides of controversial issues.  Materials will be selected on the basis of expressed or anticipated popular demand, educational or literary merit, and/or cultural value, and/or availability through interlibrary loan.  Space and budget are always considerations.
Within the framework of these broad objectives, selection is based more specifically on the particular needs and interests of the library’s cardholders.  In order to determine these interests, the staff may periodically analyze demographic information based on patron input and patterns of material circulation.  No materials shall be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, political or social view of the author.
Selection Process
The following sources may be used to help in the selection process:
  • Advertisements
  • Patron Requests
  • Publishers’ Catalogs
  • Industry Websites
  • Vendor/Sales Representatives
  • Published Reviews

The library welcomes donations of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be considered for the collection according to the same criteria used for purchased materials.  The copyright dates of  donated materials should be in the last five years or be in excellent condition.  The library does not accept encyclopedias, book sets, textbooks, Reader’s Digests, VHS or cassette tapes. The library will also decline donations that are dirty, musty, or smell of pets or cigarettes.  The library appreciates donations to be sorted before delivery.

Donations that are not added to the collection will be added into the library book sale or otherwise disposed of according to library policy.  Donations may be acknowledged in writing at the request of the donor but will not be assigned a monetary value by any member of the library staff. Books purchased from the library book sale have suggested donation amounts of: $1 for hardcover, 50 cents for softcover, $2 for DVD and books on CD.

Maintenance of the Collection
The Collection of Putnam District Library is maintained through judicious weeding of outdated, outmoded, and/or worn materials. Decisions will be based on accepted professional practice as described in The CREW Method (Continuous Review and Evaluation for Withdrawal) and/or the professional judgment of the Library Director and library staff.

The weeding of a book collection is part of book selection – it is book selection in reverse – and therefore an important and conscientious effort to achieve a well-balanced collection relevant to the people served. It needs to be a continuous, consistent process. Factors to consider in weeding are the following:
  • To identify and withdraw incorrect or outdated materials,
  • To remove from the collection those materials that are no longer being used,
  • To remove worn or damaged materials, and/or
  • To increase circulation by eliminating overcrowding and making the desired materials more accessible.
Items withdrawn from the collection will be disposed of in accordance with local law, which permits discarding into the trash, recycling of paper, or placing them in the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale.

Objections to Library Materials
Putnam District Library patrons who hold a valid library card may express his or her objections to library materials by completing a Request for Re-evaluation of Library Materials Form and submitting it to the Library Director for consideration.  The Director or designee will respond in writing within 7 days.  Patrons who are not satisfied with the response may request that the Library Board review their request; however, the decision of the Board is final.
(Adopted July 2012)