Collection Development Policy

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library, Inc.’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning, foster intellectual curiosity, and strengthen our community. One of its main activities in achieving that purpose is to develop a collection of material that is relevant and useful.

Goals of Material Selection
  • To maintain a well-balanced and broad collection of materials for information, reference and research.
  • To provide materials for the education and enlightenment of the community.
  • To provide recreational resources.
Materials Selection Process

Librarians use a variety of tools to aid in awareness and selection of materials, including such sources as professional review journals, popular print and broadcast media, bookstores, electronic interest groups, publishers’ catalogs, integrated library system reports of items that are in high demand, and patron and staff recommendations. In addition to professional review journals and other sources cited, the children and teen department staff refer to relevant state and national educational standards in selecting materials. Award-winning materials are also given high consideration for acquisition.

Librarians exercise judgment, experience, and expertise in the application of the following Criteria for Materials Selection, making acquisition decisions as objectively as possible. Evaluation of a work includes the entire work, not just individual parts of the work. A work’s overall contribution to the collection is a critical determinant for acceptance or rejection. No single criterion can be applied to all materials, and various criteria carry different weights in different circumstances. Contextual considerations –such as budget and space availability, interlibrary loan availability – also shape the selection process.

Criteria for Materials Selection

The library considers all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, in terms of one or more of the following:

  • Level of funding for materials
  • Informational and recreational needs of users
  • Appropriateness for specific audience
  • Local demand
  • Current usefulness or interest
  • Authority and accuracy
  • Importance as a record of the times
  • Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Availability of material through other sources including network transfers, inter-library loan, and digital resources
  • Standards of quality in content and format
  • Recognition by literary awards
  • Price and availability
  • Format, durability, and ease of use
  • Suitability of format for subject and user’s needs
  • Relevance to the history and specific interests of Cape Ann
Scope of the Collection

The library provides materials and services that reflect the diverse educational, literacy, informational, recreational, and physical needs of its users. While trying to serve the academic needs of students in the community, the main focus of the collection is popular materials.

The library provides access to content through print, multimedia and technology. The library recognizes that content and medium should be suitably matched, and that library users have different learning styles and preferences for how they receive information. Therefore, the library provides materials in a variety of formats, including, when appropriate:
* Print – such as hardcovers, paperbacks, magazines, and newspapers
* Non-print – such as audio and video formats, and microforms
* Digital resources – such as on-line databases; digital books, recordings, and images; digital historical archives; and the Internet.

Because the library functions in a rapidly changing society, it is flexible about changes in communicative material, both in form and style of expression. Materials in alternative formats are judged in terms of the Criteria for Materials Selection.

Self-published material:
Every attempt is made to acquire titles by Cape Ann authors that are published by mainstream publishers and fit the Material Selection Criteria. Titles by local writers that are self-published are generally not added to the collection unless there is a compelling reason to do so (valuable local content, high local interest). Preference will be given if the work, or other works by the author, have been professionally reviewed. Local authors often donate their self-published books to the library. If the donated book does not otherwise meet the Material Selection Criteria, it will not be accessioned.

Children and Teens
The children’s collection focuses on highly recommended books and materials for children from infancy through elementary school as well as their caregivers and educators. While seeking to promote children’s literacy, as well as to serve the academic needs of students in the community, the main emphasis of the collection is at general readership. The children’s collection centers on highly recommended picture books for preschoolers and on popular reading and the information needs of children of school age. The teen collection serves young people from seventh through twelfth grades. The library cooperates with the public school system so that their respective services may complement each other. Library staff strives to assemble materials that support the curriculum and respond to the homework needs of students through elementary, middle and high school.

The children’s collection is selected with an emphasis on books and materials that inform, encourage, challenge and inspire children in the achievement of literacy, exploration, and enjoyment of the world.

The library maintains a collection selected for teens as a bridge to the adult collection. Selected materials address the interests and issues specific to this age group. An effort is made to provide titles that appear on school reading lists.

Collection Maintenance

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 residents of Gloucester, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis. Materials are withdrawn when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise not in compliance with the Criteria for Materials Selection. See the Deselection Policy for more detail.

Gifts and Donations

The library evaluates all gift materials, including memorials and honoraria, according to the Criteria for Materials Selection. Not all donations are recommended for addition to the collection. A special bookplate with an appropriate inscription acknowledging the gift may enhance the material. If a donation is integrated into the collection, the library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, access, and withdrawal of the material. See the Material Donation Policy for more detail.

Controversial Materials: Intellectual Freedom

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library, Inc. does not promote particular beliefs or views. Rather, it provides a resource for the various opinions which apply to important, complex, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox positions. Language, situations, or subjects that may be offensive to some community members does not necessarily disqualify material for inclusion in the library collection. See the Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy for more detail.

Approved by Board of Directors: March 3, 2015