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Collection Development Policy

The primary responsibility of the Dickinson Memorial Library is to serve the people of Northfield by providing a broad choice of materials to meet their informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs. The Library maintains print and non-print physical collections and electronic collections for adults, young adults, and children. The Dickinson Memorial Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom, which allow for every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. The Library also subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.

Responsibility for Collection Development

The Board of Library Trustees is responsible for establishing the collection development policy. The Library Director is responsible for implementing the policy, the allocation of the materials budget, the selection of materials, and the ongoing maintenance of the collection.

Criteria for Collection

Collection development decisions are made using staff expertise and judgment, evaluating reviews in professional journals, and using other available library selection tools. The library is committed to providing a wide range of material that reflects the diverse needs and interests of our community. Factors used in making decisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Availability to purchase
  • Community demand
  • Relevance
  • Cost
  • Space considerations
  • Availability of materials through CWMARS
  • Format, durability, and ease of use

Additional information for electronic collections:

  • Electronic collections are selected as a service. The Library does not make individual decisions about electronic collections on an item-by-item basis.

Gifts and Donations

The Library thanks you for your generosity in considering the library for your gift or donation. However, we are not always able to accept gifts due to a variety of reasons. Gifts and donations of materials accepted by the Dickinson Memorial Library are subject to the same process as purchased materials. They are considered with explicit understanding that such factors as duplication, merit, lack of community interest, processing costs, physical condition of the materials, or inadequate shelf space may prevent their addition to the collection or permanent retention on the shelves. Donated materials are accepted with the understanding that the Library has the right to determine the disposition of the gift items. Donations become the property of the Dickinson Memorial Library, and may be given to other libraries and nonprofit agencies, sold at a Library book sale, or discarded at the discretion of Library staff. The library will not accept any item that carries stipulations.

Maintaining the Collection

In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good condition, well used, and which relates to the needs and interests of the community, materials will be withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis. The decision to withdraw an item from the collection is based on accepted professional practice and judgment of the Library Director within the framework of this policy. Factors used in making decisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Availability of revised and update materials
  • Inaccuracy of content
  • Condition of item
  • Circulation and usage
  • Duplication 
  • Otherwise no longer appropriate

Requests for Reconsideration

If a Dickinson Memorial Library cardholder should raise a question about the appropriateness of a particular item in the collection, a Request for Reconsideration form must be submitted to the Director in writing in order for any formal review of an item to take place. Copies of this form are available at the circulation desk. Once an item goes through the reconsideration process, it cannot be submitted for reconsideration again for three years. The procedure is as follows:

    • Request for Reconsideration form given to concerned patron (must be a Dickinson Memorial Library cardholder) by staff member
    • Request for Reconsideration Form returned to Library Director, fully filled out
    • Library Director acknowledges receipt of Request for Reconsideration Form in formal correspondence to patron and outlines response procedure and anticipated timeline, attaching Collection Development Policy and copying Board of Library Trustees
    • Library Director brings the Request to the next Board of Library Trustees Meeting. Director and Trustees will:
      • Read, view, listen to challenged material/material of concern in its entirety.
      • Research and copy professional reviews on work
      • Record notes and complete a written response
      • This policy will guide the Trustees’ decision

    Library Director sends correspondence outlining the Trustee’s findings and attaching excerpts/copies of professional reviews and reasons selection falls within Collection Development Policy to the patron. The Trustees’ decision is final.

Written and approved by Dickinson Memorial Library Trustees 11/1/2022