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, timely, lasting, or cultural significance, with consideration for the wants and needs of the community.
2. To provide materials for informational, educational, and recreational purposes.

Goals in selection
1. To stimulate thoughtful community participation in the life of the family, the region, 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 for the community.

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
The aim of a material selector is to provide access to a diversity of opinion and expression. Selectors will select based on the materials’ value and strength.

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

2. Selectors will consider all materials, including those that may be deemed controversial or objectionable to some.

3. Emphasis will be placed on a collection that encourages pleasurable reading, provides information, expands the individual’s world, and satisfies curiosity for patrons of all ages and reading levels.

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 selectors will recognize the Library’s role in providing materials to support school curricula and will purchase materials as appropriate. Consideration will 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 professional reviews.

The following criteria may be used in selection:
a) Publication date
b) Timeliness
c) Reputation of the author
d) Reputation of the publisher
e) Scarcity of subject matter
f) Importance of subject matter to the collection
g) Content and treatment
h) Format
i) Technical quality
j) Cost
k) Patron demand
l) 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 little 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 certain circumstances, the Patten Free Library may accept 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 does not set fair market or appraisal values. 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 archival materials that elucidate our local heritage, and the history of Patten Free Library itself.

Statement of Concern about Library Resources
The Library does not censor the choices of any patron. No materials will be marked to denote approval or disapproval of their contents. 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.

Freedom to Read Statement

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  

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. 2. The Director will form a committee of library staff and will meet with the committee 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 3/12/24