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Maynard Public Library Collection Development Policy




Mission Statement


The mission of the Maynard Public Library is primarily to serve as a popular materials center and as a support system for independent learners.  The library serves a variety of groups, from preschool to senior citizens, and acts as a recreational, educational, informational, and cultural center, in conjunction with local organizations. 


The public library accomplishes these missions through the provision of an updated collection of available materials.


What is a Collection Development Policy?

A collection development policy is a guiding document, discussing what the Maynard Public Library will collect and why.  This document will cover collection development policies and practices, a well as challenges, weeding, and gifts.


How the library materials budget is determined

Per state law, the Maynard Public Library must spend a minimum of 16% of its overall Town budget on “materials” (items patrons may borrow).  By spending 16%, the Maynard Public Library will meet one state standard of library service.


Why have collection development policies?

Collection development policies guide library material selection.  Library materials are critical to the public’s investment and participation in the public library program.  Currently, the library collects materials in these formats:  print, CDs, DVDs, downloads, databases and museum passes.  These formats are chosen because they are available, affordable, and preferred by library patrons. As other formats are developed and fit these categories they will be assimilated into the library collection, possibly making other formats obsolete (example: VHS tapes have been replaced with DVDs). Some materials, such as the Reference Collection, may only be used in the library. 


The Board of Library Trustees support the right of patrons to access a wide range of materials and information, through the use of materials either held or obtained through the Maynard Public Library, in an effort to offer the citizenry the opportunity to be informed on various issues. 


Responsibility for Library Collection and Materials

Responsibility for the materials selection rests ultimately with the Board of Library Trustees.  The Board delegates to the Library Director, as its agent, authority to operate within existing policies. 


Selection Goals and Guidelines

Library material selection will focus on supporting the roles of the library policies.  Library staff shall make collection development decisions based on professional experience working with library patrons, on personal expertise, and on evaluation sources in professional media. 


The library will strive to collect materials that:

  • Enrich and support the recreational, informational, and educational needs of its users, taking into consideration varied interests, abilities, and learning styles. 

  • Represent different points of view on a subject.

  • Support business, cultural, recreational, and civic activities in the community. 

  • Stimulate self-knowledge and growth. 

  • Enhance job related skills.

  • Increase knowledge of, and participation in, the affairs of the community and the broader world.


These standards apply to the Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult library collections.


Ordering Practices

When possible, the library shall order through the online acquisition system.  In some cases individualized ordering practices will be developed. 


Collection Evaluation

A collection analysis shall be done bi-annually.  This analysis shall show 3 elements for each category of library materials:

  • Annual circulation

  • Items owned

  • Circulation per item per year


Librarians will use this data to identify collection areas that need expansion or subtraction


Discard Plan

Physical library materials under evaluation may be given the “MUSTY” ( an acronym describing undesirable materials) test:


M=Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)

U=Ugly (worn beyond repair)

S=Superseded (by a new edition or a better book on the subject)

T=Trivial (of no discernable literary or scientific merit)

Y=Your community has no interest or need for this item


Collection Maintenance

Scope of Collection:  Most of the collection is focused on materials of high interest.  Current nonfiction materials are kept on an average of 5-10 years, depending on the specific area of the collection.  Historical materials are kept longer if interest remains high.


Weeding:  The library collection should be weeded every 3 years.  Materials may be weeded if they are in poor condition, are no longer accurate, are duplicates, or have not circulated for a length of time determined by the specific area of the collection. 


Withdrawals:  Materials weeded out of the collection will be withdrawn. These books will be included in the Maynard Public Library Friends’ book sales



Patron Requests and Gifts

Patron recommendations for the purchase of library materials will be carefully considered.  These materials will be added to the collection if they meet the selection criteria.  Every effort will be made to acquire, through library loan, materials not purchased.

Gift materials may be accepted with the understanding that they may be used or disposed of as the library staff determines, as they are subject to selection criteria.  The library does not provide evaluations of gifts for tax deduction purposes. 


Monetary Donations

Contributions “In Honor of”, or “In Memory of”  another person may be made to the library.  Checks should be made out to “The Maynard Public Library Gift Fund”.   Topics or specific materials may be suggested.


Reconsideration of Library Materials
Residents of Maynard may request that the library reconsider library items. The Board of Library Trustees has established a procedure for reconsideration of library materials. Completion of the 
Request for Reconsideration form is the first step in that procedure. The completed form must be submitted to the library director. The director will issue a written reply within one month as to whether or not an item has continuing value to the collection. Decisions may be appealed to the Board of Library Trustees at their next scheduled meeting.



Accepted by the Board of Library Trustees


Date: November 10, 2015

Revision: June 14, 2022




Library Bill of Rights

Freedom to Read


Library Bill of Rights


The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.


I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.


II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.


III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.


IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.


V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.


VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.


Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

A history of the Library Bill of Rights is found in the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual.


The Freedom to Read Statement


The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.


Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.


These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.


Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.


Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.


We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.


The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.


We therefore affirm these propositions:


  •     It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

  • Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  •     Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

  •     Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  •     It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

  •     No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  •     There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

  •     To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  •     It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

  •     The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  •     It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

  •     It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  •     It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

  •    The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.


We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.


This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.


Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.


A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association

Association of American Publishers

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