COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY
The Cutler Memorial Library shall provide materials in a variety of formats to meet the informational, educational, civic, and recreational needs of the community from birth through adulthood. The collection should reflect our community’s varied economic, racial, ethnic, and educational backgrounds, within the limits of our budget. This policy will be reviewed at least every five years and will reflect changes in our community.
The Library Director and staff have the full authority to select materials for the collection. They recognize the rights of all patrons to have free, secure access to the widest diversity of views and expressions as guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The race, religion, nationality, or political views of an author or creator; offensive language; depictions or descriptions of violence or sexually explicit activity; controversial content of an item; or endorsement or disapproval by an individual or group in the community does not cause an item automatically to be included or excluded from the library’s collection. The Library endorses the American Library Association (ALA)’s Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/ and the Freedom to Read Statement http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement. All materials, whether purchased or donated and regardless of format, are considered in terms of the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all of these standards to be added to the collection.
Positive reviews in professional and critical sources
Accuracy of information
Diversity of opinion
Reputation of author, publisher, producer, or illustrator
Creative, literary, or technical quality
Relationship to existing materials in the collection
Materials that address the Library’s values, including equity, diversity, respect and sustainability.
Cost and availability
The library shall make a special effort to include in its collections materials that deal with local issues and/or are written by local authors.
2. Collection Maintenance
Materials will not be labeled in a prejudicial way, nor be segregated from the rest of the collection as a means of predisposing patrons against them.
Maintenance of the library’s collection through reevaluation by the Library staff ensures its usefulness and relevance to the community. Staff utilizes collection development materials, professional judgment, and experience to withdraw and/or replace items in the collection. Outdated, superseded, obsolete, irrelevant, seldom used, or worn or damaged items may be removed from the collection. Materials easily obtainable from another library may also be withdrawn.
3. Suggestions for purchase
Recommendations from the public are encouraged and given careful consideration. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection.
The Library Director may establish additional criteria to be used by Library staff in accepting gift materials, such as the items' condition or publication date, availability of storage space, and other factors. Once donations are accepted by staff, items become the property of the Library and may be added to the collection. Or, they may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies (including the Friends of the Library) sold, traded or discarded if not selected for the collection. Donated items will not be returned to the donor. The Library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift. The Library will provide a form for donors to fill out for tax purposes. However, the Library cannot provide an appraisal or value for the donated items. Donations of new items may be used for special recognition or as memorials at the discretion of the Library Director.
Monetary gifts given without restriction may be accepted for the purchase of materials. Monetary gifts offered with specific restrictions will be reviewed by the Library Director and the Board of Trustees as needed.
5. Access to other library collections
The Library’s collection is further enhanced by the following services:
Interlibrary Loan is a nationwide system that allows Library staff to borrow requested materials from other libraries to meet individual interests. No fees will be charged for this service.
The ABLE Library is a free national program through the state Department of Libraries that provides large print books, braille books, digital talking books, and audio-described DVDs and videos for people who have difficulty reading regular large print, who have reading disabilities or have difficulty handling print materials. Applications may be approved by library staff: https://libraries.vermont.gov/able_library/application
6. Reconsideration of Materials
Library patrons may raise objections to materials in the Library’s collection.
When a complaint is made, the Director will discuss the concerns and selection procedure with the complainant.
If the complainant wishes further consideration of their objection to the library material under reconsideration, they may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials (link).
The Director will then inform the Board of Trustees about the complaint.
A committee will be formed to review the complaint and make a determination about the material. Committee members will include trustees, a staff member, and members of the community, and may include another area librarian.
The challenged material will remain on the shelf during this time.
This committee will check the materials against the selection criteria above, read reviews and consult recommended lists. They will determine whether the material should be retained or removed. At that point, this group will present a written recommendation to the Director, who will share it with the Chair of the Board of Trustees and the complainant. The Board's vote determines the final settlement of the matter. The Library will retain or withdraw challenged materials as mandated by the decision of the Library Board of Trustees.