Intellectual Freedom Statement
The Hall Memorial Library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights [Appendix I], the Freedom to Read Statement [Appendix II], and the Freedom to View Statement [Appendix III] of the American Library Association (ALA). In addition, the Hall Memorial Library supports the ALA interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights regarding the labeling and rating of materials [Appendix IV]. The Hall Memorial Library’s collection will reflect the diverse informational needs of the citizens of Northfield & Tilton and will uphold the right of the individual to access that information, even though it might be objectionable to others.
The Hall Memorial Library provides equal access to all library materials for all library users. Some materials may not be suitable for all ages, in which case the parent or guardian is responsible for what a child checks out on their card or accesses electronically.
Selection of Library Materials
The responsibility and authority for selection of all print and non-print material purchased by the Hall Memorial Library ultimately rests with the Library Director. The Director may delegate the selection, purchasing, and weeding of materials to other members of the library staff. Patron requests for specific materials will be considered, but purchasing those materials is ultimately the decision of the Library Director and other Library staff members who have selection authority. Purchase requests will be considered within the context of the selection criteria outlined in this policy.
The library’s goal is to meet the informational needs of Northfield’s and Tilton’s community members as far as budget, space, and staffing allows. Ease of access is also important, resulting in specific collection spaces sometimes being adjusted to reflect changes in the size and depth of a particular subject area.
Library materials are selected on the basis of literary, educational, informational, and recreational value. Selection guidelines consist of a balance between professional reviews and community interest or requests.
- The main points considered in the selection of materials are:
- Existing library holdings
- Current collection development priorities
- Individual merit of each item
- Popular appeal/demand
- Suitability of material to the community
- Reviews are a major (but not the sole) source of information about new materials. The primary sources of reviews include but are not limited to: Booklist, Book Page, School Library Journal, Goodreads, various publisher emails, and professional reviews that are accessible via NoveList (including Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly).
- The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title which is in demand. Consideration is, therefore, given to requests from library patrons and books discussed in public media. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context.
- No materials will be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political, or social view of the author.
- The format chosen for new materials is the responsibility of the library staff in charge of selection for that category. The library staff will take into consideration all of the information available regarding patrons’ preferences for materials in a specific category.
- Due to limited budget and space, the library cannot purchase all materials that are requested by patrons. Any materials suggested but not purchased, and published more than six months previously, will be requested as an Inter-Library Loan from another library.
- Multiple copies and formats of materials will be purchased at the discretion of the Library Director. Criteria for purchasing additional copies of a title include the number of holds on the item, the expected future demand for the item based on reviews and best-seller lists, space available, budget considerations, and other sources available to lend the item.
Selection Criteria - Downloadable and Streaming Media
Hall Memorial Library offers its patrons two primary services that afford access to downloadable and streaming media.
New Hampshire Downloadable Books (NHDB) is an OverDrive affiliated consortium of 190+ public libraries in New Hampshire who contribute an annual membership fee that is pooled to purchase downloadable eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines. The NHDB collection is comprised of fiction and nonfiction eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines and aims to supplement the popular physical collections found in NH public libraries. Digital materials are selected with consideration of patron demand, popularity, availability, and cost. Consortium members select titles to submit to the coordinator of the Consortium for purchase consideration.
hoopla (by Midwest Tapes) provides “public libraries of all sizes the ability to offer patrons an enormous selection of digital video (movies and TV shows), music, audiobooks, Ebooks and comics to their patrons.” Libraries subscribe individually and are empowered to set cost and checkout limits per month. Items found in hoopla’s collection are selected at the discretion of Midwest Tapes staff and (presumably) demand, popularity, availability, and cost weigh the heaviest in selection criteria.
Both NHDB and hoopla are cost-effective methods for libraries of Hall Memorial’s size to offer digital content to patrons.
Selection Criteria - Local Authors
Library staff with collection development responsibilities attempt to acquire titles by local authors (Northfield, Tilton, and the surrounding area) that are published by mainstream publishers. Titles by local writers that are self-published are not added to the collection unless there is a compelling reason to do so, such as valuable/rare local content or high local interest.
Selection Criteria - Self-Published Materials/Vanity Press
Materials that are self-published or published by vanity presses are not regularly added to the collection. These materials are considered on an item-by-item basis, with selection criteria including relevant subject matter, source materials, author reputation, relevance in comparison with current reviewed materials on the same subject matter, etc.
Collections Maintenance - Weeding
An up-to-date, physically accessible, and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and replacement process. Replacement of worn volumes is dependent upon condition, current demand, usefulness, more recent acquisitions, and availability of newer editions. This ongoing process of weeding is the responsibility of the Library Director and designated library staff and is authorized by the Board of Trustees. Withdrawn materials will be handled in a similar manner and under the same authority as donated materials. The collection is weeded on an as-needed basis.
Like many public libraries in New Hampshire, the Hall Memorial Library subscribes to the Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding (CREW) method when weeding the library collections. The CREW method uses an acronym, MUSTIE, to indicate when an item should be removed. Mustie stands for:
Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
Ugly (worn out beyond mending or rebinding)
Superceded by a new edition or better source
Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community
Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)
Elsewhere (the material may be easily borrowed from another source)
Decisions are based on some combination of the MUSTIE criteria - that is, an item will likely not be discarded by meeting only one of these criteria. Other criteria that might also be considered include age, condition, frequency of use/circulation, and multiple copies. The integrated library system provides numerous report options to assist staff in the weeding process.
All items to be removed from the collection will be stamped “Discard,” lines drawn over barcodes and labels with permanent marker. Items in poor condition will be recycled to the best of the library’s abilities and other items will either be added to the library’s book sale, donated to other NH libraries or other local organizations, or removed by a second-hand book service (eg. Better World Books).
Collections Maintenance - Repair/Replacement
Every effort is made to repair library materials before they are weeded and discarded. For materials that cannot be repaired or have been lost and paid for by a patron, effort will be made to replace the item. In some cases, this will not occur, especially if the items are no longer in print or no longer meet the library’s selection criteria.
Request for Reconsideration - Challenged Materials
The Hall Memorial Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy.
The responsibility for a child’s choice of reading materials belongs with the parents or legal guardians of that child. Library material selection will not be determined by the possibility that controversial books may come into the possession of children.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.
Procedures for Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
Although materials are carefully and thoughtfully selected, differences of opinion can arise regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may complete a “Request for Reconsideration” form [Appendix V - paper form may be requested at the library], which is available in the library and on the library’s website. The patron will also be given a copy of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, Freedom to View, and Labeling and Rating Systems statements, which have been adopted as part of our library policies.
Completed Request for Reconsideration of materials will be reviewed by the Library Director and the material will be evaluated based on the complaint. The item in question will remain on the library shelves until the request has been processed and a decision has been made. When a request is received, the Library Director may contact the NHLA Intellectual Freedom Committee for help, and shall bring the request to the attention of the Board of Trustees for further action if necessary.
The Library Director will issue a written decision to the patron, which may be appealed to the Library’s Board of Trustees. In the event of an appeal, the inquiry will be placed on the agenda of the next regular monthly meeting of the Hall Memorial Library Board of Trustees, as long as the request for appeal is received seven days or more prior to the scheduled meeting. If the request for appeal is received less than seven days before a scheduled monthly meeting, the request will appear on the agenda for the next monthly meeting, or the Board may decide to hold a special meeting prior to the next regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The Board will issue a written decision to the patron within seven business days of the meeting. The decisions of the Library’s Board of Trustees are final.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees 3/14/22