Wareham Free Library – Collection Development Policy
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Collection Objectives & Goals

The purpose of the Wareham Free Library’s collection is to provide high quality library resources necessary to meet the changing needs of the community it serves within limitations of its budget, space and availability. Materials collected include those which are appropriate to the libraries role as a town library and a supporting member of the SAILS network. The Library also provides a friendly environment to serve as a community meeting space while encouraging curiosity, free inquiry and lifelong learning. Additionally, the library endeavors to make the general public aware of its resources and services.

The primary objective of the Library’s collection is to meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of our patrons by providing information resources in a variety of formats and reading levels in accordance with the mission and goals of the Library.

Collection development goals include:

  • Providing a balanced range of materials and information resources with consideration for access as well as ownership. 
  • Giving access to print and non-printed materials in many genres to help support the library’s role as a reading center.
  • Reference and informational materials of all types to aid in the library’s role to supporting lifelong learning and continuing education for the community.
  • High-quality children’s and young-adult materials to stimulate a lifelong interest in reading and learning. 

In compliance with our constitutional rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press, the Library will attempt to provide the widest range of viewpoints based on quality, cost, and availability of materials for purchase.

Responsibility for Selection

The responsibility for selection lies with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. Staff members within the areas of service to children, young adults, and adults may be designated to do selection under the supervision of the Library Director. The general public and all other staff members can also recommend materials for addition to the collection.

Criteria for Selection

All materials, whether purchased, donated or acquired, are considered in terms of the following criteria:

  • Public demand and community interest
    • Selection is based on the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests, and demands of the Town of Wareham community.
    • Popularity of a title and requests from patrons.
  • Merits of individual titles
    • Creative literary or technical quality; Accuracy and currency of information including depth and breadth of coverage.
    • Reputation, expertise and/or significance of author, illustrator, publisher or producer
    • Treatment of subject for age or intended audience.
    • Reviews and critical assessments in a variety of journals or resources.
    • Judgement of the work as a whole, not on parts taken out of context.
  • Collection goals
    • Contemporary significance or permanent value of material in relation to a key movement, genre, trend or culture.
    • Relationship to existing collection as it pertains to contributing balanced, up-to-date coverage in a variety of different subject areas.
    • Representation of diverse and multicultural points of view
    • Materials accessible to patrons with different learning abilities, educational levels, and physical needs, for example large print and audio formats.
    • Public information, resources and documents of current and future relevance to the local or surrounding communities.
  • Financial considerations
    • Includes price and availability, value for cost of information resource, and funds within the library budget

Guidelines for Specific Subject Areas and Formats

Fiction – Current adult fiction is purchased extensively with particular emphasis on popular works and examples within a genre. The collection includes works for recreational reading, classical literature, and special interest materials. Works of genre fiction, short stories and acclaimed novels are selectively purchased to reflect community demand.

Non-FictionThe Library collects recognized and standard works as well as timely materials to meet current demand. Materials are available for all ages and reading levels in a variety of formats.  Non-fiction titles may be excluded for inaccurate information, sensationalism, subjective content, the intent to promote hatred or intolerance, and information that is too limited or specialized.

Audiovisual Collection – The Library supplies patrons with music and audiobooks in the form of compact discs, and video recordings on DVD. The music collection represents significant performers, composers, and styles of popular and classical music. Selection is based on quality of content, performance, production and diversity. Fiction and non-fiction audiobooks are chosen according to the same criteria as books, with additional consideration for quality of content and recorded production. Video recordings include contemporary and classic feature films as well as presentations in music, dance, theatre and comedy. Non-fiction video includes a variety of general subjects intended for a wide audience.

Downloadable Ebooks and Audiobooks – The Library provides access to a collection of downloadable Ebooks and audiobooks through our membership in SAILS and the statewide Commonwealth eBook collection.

Periodicals –The Library subscribes to a number of local and regional newspapers as well as several popular magazines. Selection of adult and children’s periodicals is based on community interest, budget, and space considerations. Magazines and newspapers are acquired for both casual reading and research purposes, and may be provided in print and electronic formats.

Reference – The Library’s Reference Collection provides accurate, timely information on a wide range of subjects of current and frequent interest for the general public. Materials include printed resources and online databases. Online products are available for use by the Massachusetts Library System and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Factors considered in selecting reference materials are authority, reliability, scope, arrangement, format, cost and existing holdings.

Local Authors – An effort is made to collect titles by local authors, artists, and producers which are published by mainstream publishers, and whose work fits the criteria of the collection development policy. Self-published titles are not added to the collection, unless library staff feels a strong reason to do so.

Children’s and Young Adult Materials – The Library collects print and audiovisual materials to help encourage and inspire the needs of our children’s and young adult’s needs for information. Materials for children include picture books, chapter books, non-fiction materials, DVDs and magazines. Young adult resources include fiction materials and manga.

As noted in the Free Access for Minors: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, “Parents and only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict the access of their children – and only their children – to library resources. Librarians and governing bodies have a public and professional obligation to provide equal access to all library resources for all library users.”

Reading Partners (Adult Tutoring Collection) – The Reading Partners program provides free, confidential, one-on-one tutoring to Wareham adults and out-of-school youth over the age of 16. Materials for the use of the Reading Partners program include dictionaries, workbooks, and other related educational books.

Genealogy, Local History and Special Collections – Copies of local history books of Wareham and other local towns are acquired for the circulating, reference, and special collection. Basic genealogical handbooks have been added to the collection for circulating. Local history and genealogy at the research level is contained within the Celia Epstein Stone Room.                                                                 

Public Meeting Minutes and Public Reports – Vertical files of meeting minutes for the Town of Wareham and reports of other municipal records are archived for public use behind the reference desk.


The Library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If materials are not needed due to duplication, condition, or outdated information, the library staff may dispose as they see fit. Donations of gently used books and materials can also be made to the Friends of the Wareham Free Library.

Deselection and Weeding

Materials which are no longer appropriate for the collection based on out-of-date or incorrect content, poor condition, irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community, or lack of use, shall be identified by appropriate staff members and discarded from the collection. Discards shall be made according to current, and accepted professional practices.  Materials discarded due to loss, vandalism, poor condition or outdated content will be considered for replacement. Deaccessioned materials will be made based on the Library’s discretion.

Objection to Library Materials

The Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom, which allows for every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. The Library provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. The Library also endorses the ALA Library Bill of Rights. This statement honors the rights of individuals to use the Library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or societal or political views.

If an individual wishes to express concern about objects or particular Library materials, complaints can be addressed with the Library Director in writing. The Library Director will review the title, evaluate the decision for the purchase, meet with library staff, and the individual to review the complaint. The Library Director will then make a written ruling based on the Collection Development policy. Should the individual not be satisfied with the Library Directors decision, then a written request may be submitted to the Board of Trustees for their review. The judgement of the Board of Trustees is final.


Falmouth Public Library. (2016, July). Collection development policy. Retrieved from – dhttp://www.falmouthpubliclibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Collection-Development-Policy-2016.pdf.

Forbes Library. (2015, Oct 23). Collection development policy. Retrieved from – https://forbeslibrary.org/info/policies/collection-development-policy.

Approved by Wareham Free Library Board of Trustees