Materials Selection Policy

This policy governs the selection and maintenance of Patten Free Library’s collection of materials, both physical and digital. It may be revised as changes occur in the needs of our service population and in the emphasis of the Library’s objectives to provide information and education.
Patten Free Library recognizes its responsibilities to collect materials, to organize and make available its resources, and to give guidance in the use and interpretation of materials.

This selection policy is in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association.

Objectives in selection
1. To collect materials of contemporary or timely significance. Selection is based on the particular wants and needs of the community.
2. To collect core materials of lasting value.
3. To provide materials for informational, educational, and recreational purposes.

Goals in selection
1. To stimulate thoughtful participation in the life of the family, the community, the country, and the world.
2. To encourage maximum use of the collections by the greatest number of people.
3. To support the educational, civic, and cultural activities of individuals, groups and organizations.
4. To foster intellectual, artistic, and spiritual growth.
5. To promote the use of library materials for recreation and enjoyment.

Responsibility for selection
The ultimate responsibility for materials selection lies with the Director, subject to policies of the Board of Trustees. The Director may delegate the authority to staff who know the goals, objectives, and guidelines for selection and will combine this knowledge with their professional skills and experience.

Guidelines for selection
Selection begins with a presumption in favor of liberty of thought. Selection seeks to protect the rights of the Library’s public. The aim of a material selector is to promote the diversity of opinion and expression and to act as a channel of communication for others. Selectors will look for the materials’ values, strengths, and virtues, which may overshadow minor objections.
Freedom to Read Statement

1. As far as practical, all points of view concerning the issues of our time will be represented.

2. The Library does not practice censorship. No materials will be marked to denote approval or disapproval of their contents. Although library materials may be deemed controversial or objectionable, they will not be excluded because of language or frankness. Materials relating to an existing need or interest will not be removed from the collection.

3. Great emphasis is placed on a quality collection that will encourage pleasurable reading, provide information, expand the individual’s world, encourage and satisfy curiosity for patrons of all ages. The public that the Library serves encompasses a wide range of education, and reading skills. Materials of varying degrees of difficulty will be selected to represent these diverse elements.

Responsibility for a child’s reading choices rests with parents and/or guardians. Neither the library staff nor other library patrons shall make these decisions for other people’s children.

4. It is not necessary or desirable for the Library to try to acquire all materials on any subject. Rather, it is the goal of the Library to represent a wide range of knowledge in a fair and impartial manner.

5. The resources of other public, academic and special libraries in the Minerva consortium will
be recognized and utilized via interlibrary loan in lieu of selection when appropriate.

6. The Patten Free Library recognizes our role in providing materials to support school curricula and will purchase materials as appropriate. Consideration will be also be given to the needs of people engaged in home-schooling and self-education.

7. Legal, medical, and other specialized subjects will be acquired only to the extent that they will be useful to the layperson. Such materials will be purchased based on a field-related search of an authoritative source.

8. Special attention will be paid to area authors and state and local history. However, the
Library will not select such materials if they are not of permanent value to the interests of the community or the library collection.

9. Whenever possible, materials will be selected based on review(s) from a variety of sources common to the Library or from review(s) available to residents of our service area.

The following criteria may be used in selection:
a) Timeliness
b) Reputation of the author
c) Scarcity of subject matter
d) Reputation of the publisher
e) Importance of subject matter to the collection
f) Content and treatment
g) Format
h) Technical quality
i) Cost
j) Patron demand
k) Diversity of opinion and expression

Collection Maintenance
An ongoing process of removing obsolete, unused, or damaged materials is essential to maintaining an authoritative and attractive collection that is responsive to the needs of the community. Professional staff will oversee collection maintenance under direction of the Library Director.
The following materials will be considered for weeding:

  • Materials containing outdated information.
  • Materials that have been superseded by a new edition (almanacs, statistics, etc.) unless the earlier edition is still useful as a circulating item.
  • Bibliographies and reading guides listing books that are dated or obsolete.
  • Books with outmoded or inaccurate illustrations.
  • Highly specialized books with no potential readership.
  • Unneeded duplicates.
  • Books that have not circulated or been used in a reasonable period of time, indicating that they are no longer relevant (this period of time will differ for different types of materials).
  • Worn or damaged items.

In most cases, Library staff will offer items removed from the collection to Friends of the Patten Free Library to be sold to the public, with revenues accruing to the Friends to benefit the Library.

Patten Free Library welcomes gifts of books, audio and video recordings, and similar materials. Items will be added to the collection in accordance with this policy. Once donated, items become the property of the Library and may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies, sold in book sales, or discarded if they are not added to the collection.
Donated items will not be returned to the donor, and the Library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift. The Library also reserves the right to decide when a gift added to the collection must be withdrawn because of physical condition, lack of circulation, outdated contents, or space considerations.
The Library will acknowledge receipt of donated items, but is unable to set fair market or appraisal values. It is recommended that the donor make a list of items donated. If items are being donated to obtain a tax benefit, it is the donor’s responsibility to establish fair market value or obtain expert assistance in establishing any value. (See Gift Acceptance Policy.)

Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room
The Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room of Patten Free Library has slightly different objectives and goals in the selection of materials, dependent on its particular mission as a repository of local-history resources. The objectives are to collect contemporary and period materials, print and non-print, that document and place in context the educational, civic, and cultural history of the five member-communities of the Library and the State of Maine, as well as the methods of researching these topics. The resources are meant to facilitate research into the genealogy of local families, the historical development of communities and specific structures, and significant local events and individuals that shaped both region and state. The Room also serves as a repository for public records and private papers that elucidate our local heritage, and the history of Patten Free Library itself.

If a patron has a concern about a material selected under this policy, that patron may express their concern by completing and submitting a Statement of Concern About Library Resources Form  

Procedure for Statement of Concern about Library Resources
If a patron submits a Statement of Concern form, the following procedure applies:

1. The patron will be contacted by the Director to acknowledge receipt of the Statement of Concern.
2. The Director will form a committee and meet with library staff to review the material mentioned in the form.
3. The committee will make a recommendation and the patron will be notified by letter.
4. If the patron is not satisfied with the response from the committee, the Director will arrange a meeting with the patron, and determine what additional steps, if any, are necessary.

Approved by the Board of Trustees 4/10/18
Reviewed 9/13/21; no substantive changes