Collection Development Policy


The purpose of this policy is to help patrons understand how and why we choose materials for our collection.  It also serves as a guide to the staff in the selection of materials for the Library.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Nesmith Library is to acquire and provide materials in multiple formats that help to fulfill the informational, educational, social, and recreational needs of the residents of Windham, New Hampshire.  Furthermore, our mission is to provide guidance in the use of these materials, to encourage learning and education, and to promote freedom of information for all patrons.

In accordance with this mission, the Nesmith Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, Access to Electronic Information, Services and Network  (an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights), and other policies on intellectual freedom authored by the American Library Association, and available in the fifth edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual, c. 1996, published by the ALA.

Goals of Service

The following goals will fulfill the Libraryís mission:

1.         To provide sufficient materials to meet current and projected community needs.

2.         To assure open access to all library materials for all patrons.

3.         To obtain a diversity of materials of varying viewpoints.

4.         To meet the needs of patrons having a variety of reading and educational levels.

5.         To expand library usage to those in the community who are not now library patrons.

6.         To contribute constructively to the individualís awareness of self and community while providing insight into a wide range of human and social conditions and varying cultural heritage.

7.         To encourage informal self-education.

8.         To measure the effectiveness of the collection in meeting the needs of our patron community.

 Responsibility for Collection Development

            Responsibility for collection development coordination and supervision lies with the Library Director, who is accountable for the growth and maintenance of the collection.  Selected staff members have collection development responsibilities for specific collections, subject areas, or formats.  All staff members make suggestions for new and replacement materials.

 Collection Areas

Adult Collection

A selection of works highlighting a wide range of materials in different formats for all ages and levels of interest is available.  Many points of view on current and controversial issues should be included to provide information needed for democratic decision-making.

 A mix of classic, basic, and traditional works are provided, as well as materials presenting contemporary ideas, formats and styles.

Young Adult Collection

A selection of fiction materials that straddles the childrenís and adult collections, the Young Adult collection contains materials geared to those in the middle school and early high school years.  It attempts to address the reading interests and concerns of those going through a period of rapid growth and development.

 Childrenís Collection

The Childrenís collection serves the need of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and students in the elementary and middle grades.  The variety of materials in this collection provides for the development of literacy skills, creates an appreciation of the Library during the formative years, responds to recreational needs, and supports the educational process with materials complementary to those in the Windham schools. 

 Reference Collection

The Reference collection is targeted to provide timely, accurate information for patrons to aid in their pursuit of personal and professional interests, support the educational process with informational materials for those requiring quick response to inquiries, assist those pursuing independent learning and makes available local historical and community resource information.  The collection contains resources to support the local business community, enhance career development and provide information on educational institutions.

Reference materials are collected in a variety of formats, including book, periodical, microform, and electronic.

Criteria for Selection of Library Materials

            Materials selected may meet only a small number of selection criteria if their inclusion is seen as important enough to fill a serious gap in the collection, or, due to popular demand.

             The following criteria serve as the backbone of materials selection:

        Libraryís mission and service goals

        Patron requests that fall within the scope of this policy

        Formal and independent educational needs

        Recreational needs

        Potential use

        Local significance

        Impact of item on collection diversity

             The following are also considered in materials selection:


        Critical reviews

        Space limitations

        Authority, accuracy and interest level of material

        Currency of information

        Reputation of author, publisher, or editing body

 Selection Journals and Other Review Sources

            The following journals are the standard first source to assist in the selection process:  Library Journal; School Library Journal; Booklist; Kirkus Review; and Publishers Weekly.  Public Library Catalog, Fiction Catalog, and Childrenís Catalog  are standard bibliographic sources also used in selection. 

            Other review sources of a specialized nature are used for specific collections.

 Non-Print Materials and Periodical Collections

            Non-print materials (e.g., audiobooks, videos) and periodicals (e.g., newspapers, magazines, journals) are subject to the same selection criteria as printed books.

 Electronic Format

            In general, materials in electronic formats such as CD-ROM and on-line databases, are subject to the same selection criteria as print materials.   Other non-content criteria such as ease of access and hardware compatibility also play a role in selecting electronic media.

             Public Internet access is covered by the Libraryís Public Internet Access and Appropriate Use  Policy.


The Library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials.  Gifts which do not meet the objectives of this policy may be refused.  Bookplates may be provided for gifts, and a letter for tax purposes may be sent to the donor.  No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift either before or after its acceptance by the Library.

 Withdrawal of Materials

            The withdrawal of materials from the collection is known as weeding.  Weeding of all library collections is a continuous process.  It is carried out in order to provide the most current, useful information available, as well as to maintain the vitality and attractiveness of the collection.  Weeding also helps to prevent the overcrowding of shelves, and to free up needed space for new and highly desired materials. 

            The following criteria are used to determine which materials are subject to weeding from the collection:

                        Works no longer of popular interest (e.g., older fiction)

                        Multiple copies of previously popular works

                        Topic no longer relevant

             Even though meeting the above criteria certain materials may not be weeded because of their unique nature.

Controversial Material

            The Nesmith Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association which encapsulates the library professionís belief in freedom of access to information.  The Library does not believe in the practice of censorship.  Serious works which portray various aspects of life are not excluded because of their frankness.

             The Library encourages the examination of diverse opinions thus many points of view may be included in the collection.  Materials selection will not be determined by pressure from outside groups and organizations, or by the individual prejudices of any person or persons.  The Library will apply established professional standards in the selection and retention of its materials.

 Reconsideration of Materials

            Materials which have been accepted into the collection prior to the acceptance of this Collection Development Policy will not be removed unless they are weeded according to, or are in violation of, this policy.

             The procedure for patrons who wish to petition the Library to reconsider any part of its collection is as follows:

            1.         Patron receives a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form (available at the circulation desk).  A copy of the form is included with this policy.

2.         The form must be completed and submitted to the Library Director.

3.         If the petitioner wishes to pursue a formal request, the Director will arrange for the request to be added to the agenda at the next regularly scheduled Nesmith Library Board of Trustees meeting.

4.         The Board of Trustees will consider the request.  The petitioner is free to attend the Board meeting which is open to the public.

5.         A representative member of the Board of Trustees will contact the petitioner with a determination.  The Nesmith Library Board of Trustees will have final say on any request for the removal of materials from the Library or addition of suggested materials.

6.         The Director will then review the request and contact the petitioner to discuss the issue.

Adopted on this 13th day of May, 2003 by the Nesmith Library Board of Trustees.