Cambridge Public Library
MATERIALS SELECTION POLICY
The Cambridge Public Library District provides a wide range of services free to all members of the library district. To meet the inspirational, recreational and informational needs of the community with as broad an educational base as is found in Cambridge library district, the library must build and maintain a large, well-balanced collection of print and non-print materials. All different type of formats will be considered when selecting materials, thus taking into consideration also future technological advances that are, as of now, unforeseeable. It shall be the policy of this library to provide materials in whatever media, non-verbal as well as verbal, will best meet the needs of the district.
This policy is to help guide those librarians who choose the materials to be added and withdrawn and to inform the public about the principles upon which these selections are made.
The responsibility for the policy governing the inclusion of materials in the library collection rests with the Board of Trustees. The actual task of selection has been delegated to the Library Director and those professional, department heads and staff members that are knowledgeable in each of the various subject areas who choose materials which fit within the following guidelines and the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statement.
III. CRITERIA FOR SELECTION AND MAINTENANCE:
A. New materials are selected on the basis of readability, accuracy of the information presented, format and the suitability of the material to the district. The existing holdings of the library are also taken into account so a variety and balance of opinion may be found. Exceptions to this might include “books as news,” wherein newsworthy material can be made available to the public so they may read, examine and understand what the discussion is about and draw their own conclusions.
Material containing inaccurate information, lack of integrity or an intent to incite intolerance may be excluded as inappropriate.
B. In order to maintain a vital collection of current and historical materials, items must be removed according to the same criteria by which new materials are added. Materials are judged on their own value, their value to the collection or a combination of the two.
Materials may be withdrawn if their appearance has deteriorated, if the information contained is no longer current or accurate or if the material, except for that with specific reference value, does not circulate for a long period of time. Excess space shall not be reason for keeping materials of dubious value.
C. Withdrawn materials are neither given nor sold to individuals. If there is a need and are in good condition, they donated to other libraries; if not, they are sold at the Friends of the Library book sale.
D. Consideration is always given repairing materials, if possible, before replacing them.
E. An inventory of the collection shall be done periodically.
Book selection and book censorship differ in the following manner:
Selection is governed by economics, physical limitations, format or questionable authority of sources while censorship is the limiting of resources based on the subject, topic and/or ideas per se.
Materials of sound authority shall not be removed from the library shelves because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. If it is determined that there is a lack of material of sound authority representing the opposite viewpoint and such material is available, it will be added for balance.
The Cambridge Public Library District accepts and endorses in their entirety the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement, the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to View.
A. Patrons with complaints shall be referred to one of the staff member, depending upon the nature of the complaint. Should this not rectify the problem, the patron should fill out a reconsideration form and file it with the Library Director. The staff member and the Director will review the complaint and give a written response. In the rare case that the complaint is to be further pursued, the patron shall file a written request with the Library Director to bring the matter to the Board of Trustees for their consideration.
B. If staff members question any material in the collection whether processed and cataloged or not, whether a part of or intended for the Adult or Youth Service’s collection, the piece of material in question shall be accompanied by a signed statement, listing specific reasons why the staff member considers the item unsuitable. The item and the statement should then be brought to the attention of the staff member.
The staff members will meet and carefully review the staff statements and a recommendation will be made for final action. Then, they will meet with the Library Director, where the material will be reviewed and discussed by all present. The final decision will be made by the Library Director.
VI. GIFTS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS:
The collection of the Cambridge Public library District has been enriched and enhanced by many donations of books, prints, paintings, periodicals and other materials that it would not otherwise have been able to afford or acquire. The Library is indeed grateful for these gifts. In accepting things of this nature, however, the Library reserves the privilege of deciding whether or not these should become Library property.
The decision to include gift materials is based upon the Library’s standards of selection, the physical condition of the material, the Library’s needs and the Library’s facility to house the materials. The Library makes an effort to dispose of all gift material that is not added to the collection to the best advantage of all concerned.
The Library cannot accept special collections of materials that are to be kept together as a separate physical entity, nor can it accept gifts with restrictions as to use, permanence and/or location. Gift material will be integrated into the general collection with a bookplate identifying the donor if applicable.
Cash gifts will be used for the purchase of a memorial or tribute. The selection will be made by the Librarian based on the interests of the deceased, the wishes of the donor and the needs of the Library.
All gifts will be acknowledged and a formal receipt given upon request. No staff member will assign a monetary value to any gift nor include such information on any receipt.
VII. CRITERIA FOR MATERIAL FOR THE HISTORICAL COLLECTION:
A. Emphasis shall be on books with some non-print materials included. Vertical file material shall also be included.
B. Materials for the Historical Collection shall be considered an extension of the regular adult reference collection. This material shall be especially characterized by its irreplaceable nature and its continuing interest to Cambridge citizens, with special emphasis placed on local authors and on the history of Cambridge. History of the surrounding area shall be included if it judged to be of more than superficial importance in connection with the history of Cambridge.
Materials not fitting the criteria set forth above may be considered for inclusion providing the material is no longer in print and has valuable or special content.