Collection Development Policy

Approved by Board of Trustees   06/26/2023

Collection Development Policy

Blanding Free Public Library

Mission Statement

Blanding Free Public Library strives to fulfill the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the Rehoboth community by providing access to quality materials and events. The Library endeavors to ensure every citizen’s freedom to access all library resources. 

Collection Development Policy Purpose

The collection development policy provides guidelines for acquisition and withdrawal decisions, the allocation of resources, and strategic planning in accordance with the Library’s mission statement in order to establish a collection of works that meets the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community.

The library seeks to provide a welcoming environment, a qualified staff, a wide variety of materials in all formats, programs for patrons of all ages and access to current technology.  In so doing, the library subscribes to the principles in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association and the American Book Publisher’s Council. (See appendices.)

Scope of Collection

Blanding Free Public Library serves foremost as a community library for people of all ages who live and/or work in the Town of Rehoboth. The Library’s emphasis on collection development is to acquire materials of wide-ranging interest to meet the needs of this general public.

Blanding Free Public Library is a member of the SAILS regional library system, a consortium of more than 70 public, private, college and school libraries in Southeastern Massachusetts, as well as the Massachusetts Library System.  The Library recognizes the collections and resources of neighboring libraries and will not needlessly duplicate services or materials.  Rehoboth’s participation in these networks provides our residents access to the collection of other participating libraries on a reciprocating basis.  

The Library seeks to provide a broad range of materials to meet the varied needs of its patrons.  Library materials and services routinely support more than one library goal.  The Library may maintain special collections in specific subject areas or formats. Separate policies may be developed exclusively for these collections.

Instructional and educational materials are collected on at least a basic information level. Basic information level collections serve to introduce and define a subject or author, to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, and to support the needs of general library users.  Area school, special and college libraries serve the more advanced instructional needs of patrons.

Therefore, the collection contains:

  • A limited collection of scholarly monographs and reference works
  • A limited collection of representative general-interest periodicals
  • Access to a limited collection of owned or remotely accessed electronic journals, texts, bibliographic tools, and research databases

Basic information level collections are frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information, and superseded editions and titles containing outdated information are withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

Occasionally, popular and often-requested subjects or authors may be collected on a study or instructional support level. Study of instructional support level collections are more extensively developed and include works of well-known authors and selections from the works of lesser known authors.

Materials are purchased in the most appropriate format for library users within the Library’s budgetary guidelines and constraints. The Library monitors the development of new and emerging formats, and considers the feasibility and usefulness of new technologies when making selection decisions.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director who works within the framework of policies as established by the Board of Trustees of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society. The Director may delegate this responsibility to other staff librarians qualified by reason of education, training, and experience.

Criteria for Selection

Materials will be selected to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs and interests of the community. Materials will represent a variety of viewpoints on current and historical issues. Staff will select materials in a variety of formats using published reviews, professional and trade publications, and patron requests and recommendations. General

selection criteria for all materials includes:

  • anticipated and popular demand
  • accuracy and currency of information
  • appropriateness of subject and format for intended library users
  • cost
  • current and historical significance
  • literary and/or artistic merit
  • merit of the work as a whole, rather than on the basis of specific sections
  • significance of the author
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection
  • stacks space and availability through other libraries or formats

These standards apply equally to all items considered for acquisition, whether purchased, requested, or donated. An item need not meet all of these criteria to be selected. 

The library seeks to provide a balanced collection representing a wide range of viewpoints, including controversial issues that may be objectionable to some individuals. A work will not be excluded from the collection because of frankness of content. The purchase of controversial items by the Library does not constitute endorsement of the views expressed. 

Collection Maintenance and Weeding

Collection maintenance optimizes the Library’s usefulness by ensuring that materials are appropriate to the library’s objectives, easy to locate, and attractive to users. The Library’s credibility is enhanced when the books and other materials are found by patrons to be up to date and relevant, and when the Library’s bibliographic records, such as the online catalog, accurately reflect the library’s holdings.

The ongoing process of collection maintenance accomplishes several purposes:

  • Inventory control provides a more accurate volume count by identifying lost materials
  • Analysis provides feedback on the collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Weeding makes the collection more useful by systematically replacing worn materials, materials that are no longer appealing, and materials that are no longer accurate

On a regular basis, reports are generated listing items without current and/or recent activity. Shelves are checked to determine whether items are lost, in which case they are deleted from the library’s online catalog. If an item is located on the shelf, it is reviewed against criteria to determine whether it should remain in the collection.

On a regular basis shelves are examined to determine that books are in the correct order. Shelf reading also identifies errors in call number labels and locates books belonging to other libraries.

A strong collection requires ongoing evaluation and maintenance. Materials will regularly be weeded from the collection based on the following criteria:

  • outdated or superseded
  • infrequent use
  • physical condition
  • relevance

Replacements and updated editions are purchased when warranted.  Discarded materials may be sold, donated, or recycled as the Library determines.  Those staff members who have a direct role in the selection of materials (i.e., the Director and senior staff librarians) conduct deselection, also known as weeding, under the general guidance of the Library Director in accordance with the CREW Manual (see appendices) and local weeding guidelines outlined in Appendix A.


The Library welcomes gifts of funds and materials to enrich the collection.  New or used donated materials are subject to the same criteria as purchased materials. Gifts of materials are accepted with the understanding that they may be utilized or disposed of at the Library’s discretion.  All or part of a donation may be kept or discarded.  Monetary gifts will be applied to the selection of materials by the Director in consultation with library staff and the donor as appropriate.

Once an item has been donated it is the property of the Library and is subject to the same processing, usage and disposal criteria as all Library materials. Upon request the Library can acknowledge receipt of donated items, but does not keep records of the disposition of donated materials.

Library staff will not give an appraisal of donated material.  The appraisal of a gift to the library for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor.

Reconsideration of Material

Anyone who wishes the Library to reconsider the acquisition or removal of an item must fill out a

“Request for Reconsideration of Material” form (Appendix B). These forms are available at the circulation desk. The request is reviewed by the appropriate department head and the Director. The Director will issue a response.  If the complainant is not satisfied, the complainant may appeal to the Board of Trustees. The decision of the Board is final. Above all, the Board of Trustees has as its concern the fairness of such a hearing so as to protect the rights of all who are involved.

Blanding Free Public Library patrons may request reconsideration of library materials. Upon a request for reconsideration, this procedure is followed:

  1. The patron will be directed to a Staff Librarian or the Library Director, who will give a copy of the selection policy to the patron if requested. If the patron wishes, the patron may fill out and submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form (see Appendix B) to a staff librarian or the Library Director.
  2. The completed form will be reviewed by one or more staff librarians and by the Library Director. The material will be evaluated to ascertain that the selection criteria outlined in this policy were applied in the selection of the material and the Library Director shall deliver a written response to the patron within 14 days of the date that the Reconsideration Form was submitted.
  3. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision, the patron may appeal in writing to the Board of Trustees.  The Board will review the request employing the selection criteria outlined in this document, as well as reviews from professional journals, and comments by the patron. The material will be reviewed in full. Library materials are not removed from the collection during the review process. The Board will recommend an action to the Library Director within 30 days. The Library Director will inform the patron in writing of the final decision.
  4. Results of the Reconsideration will be retained on file. Additional requests for the reconsideration of the same material will be reviewed after a period of three years.


A:  Weeding Criteria by Dewey Decimal Classification 
B:  Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
Library Bill of Rights:
Freedom to Read Statement:
People's Right to Libraries:
The First Amendment:
CREW Manual:

Appendix A:

Weeding Criteria by Dewey Decimal Classification

The following sections show coding in the form of a ratio.  These formulas are intended as guidelines only, and the Library recognizes there will be many exceptions.  The first number refers to the age of the material, or the number of years since the item’s latest copyright date.  The second number refers to the maximum number of years without usage.  An “X” in the place of a number indicates that no clear default number of years is applicable.

000 (Encyclopedias, Almanacs):                    5/X

100 (Philosophy & Psychology):                    10/5

200 (Religion & Mythology):                           10/5

300 (Social Sciences):                                    10/3

400 (Linguistics & Language):            10/5

500 (Pure Sciences)                                       10/3

600 (Applied Sciences & Technology):          7/3

700 (Arts & Recreation):                                 X/3

800 (Literature):                                              X/X

900 (History & Geography):                           15/5, except for Travel 4/2

Biography:                                                       X/3

Adult Fiction:                                                   X/3

Juvenile/YA Fiction:                                        X/3

Large Print:                                                     X/3

Mass Market Paperback:                               X/1

Periodicals:                                                     Retained 1 year

Audiovisual Material:                                       X/3

Appendix B:  Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

If you wish to request reconsideration of library materials, please return the completed form to the Library Director.

Your Name ___________________________

Address ______________________________

City __________________________________

State _________________________________

Zip __________________________________

Phone ________________________________

Do you represent yourself only? ____ An organization? ____

  1. Material on which you are commenting:

____ Book ____ Textbook ____ Video ____ Display

____ Magazine ____ Library Program ____ Audio Recording

____ Newspaper ____ Electronic information/network (please specify)

____ Other ___________________________

Title ___________________________

Author/Producer ___________________________

  • What brought this material to your attention?
  • Have you examined the entire work?
  • What concerns you about the material? (use other side or additional pages if necessary)
  • Are there materials you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?

Signature: ___________________________________________

Date: _____________________