Materials Selection

Objectives of the Library

The Bedford Free Public Library provides free service to all individuals in the community, both children and adults. The library's objectives include the provision of expertly selected books and other materials to aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information, pleasure, or research, and in the creative use of leisure time.


To achieve these ends, the Library provides educational service to adults, seeking thereby to assist the individual in a continuing learning process. It also provides special service to children and young people and seeks to direct and stimulate these readers by offering them a carefully selected collection of books and skilled personal guidance.

The Library provides service to all, within the context of the library objectives, regardless of race, creed, color, occupation, or financial position.

Responsibility for Materials Selection

Ultimate responsibility for materials selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegates to the Librarian the selection of library materials and the development of the collection.


Criteria for Selection:  The objective of selection is to collect those books and other Library materials that will inform, entertain, and contribute to enrichment of mind and spirit. Library materials are selected by the Librarian and staff. Competent reviewing media and basic lists of standard works are consulted as an aid in selection. Recommendations from the public are welcome.  The Library will review decisions regarding specific materials upon written request. A form for this purpose is available at the circulation desk.


Basic to the Library's Materials Selection Policy is the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the Council of the American Library Association, which are appended.


Within standards of purpose and quality, the library's collections will be built to meet the needs and interests of the community. Every book (or other library material) must meet the following criteria as are applicable to its inclusion in the collection:

1. Current usefulness or permanent value.
2. Authority and competence in presentation.
3. Importance as a record of the times.
4. Relation to the existing collection.
5. Relative importance in comparison to other works on the subject.
6. High standards of quality in content, format and binding.


Materials Selection for Children

The principles stated in the adult materials selection policy are applicable to the selection of materials for children. The Library cooperates with the school libraries so that the services of the two agencies may complement each other. The major function of the school library is to furnish curriculum-related materials. The public library seeks to provide a more comprehensive collection.


The children's collection is carefully selected for children of all ages, with emphasis on books, periodicals, records, etc., which stimulate imagination and help in the development of taste. Materials for young people are selected to provide sound information and understanding of the world they live in.


Use of the Library's Materials

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no book or other item is sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting it from injury or theft.  The use of rare or scholarly items of great value is controlled to the extent required to protect them from harm.


Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents and legal guardians. Selection of materials for the adult collection is not restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate.


The Scope of the Collection

The Library seeks to draw upon the collections and resources of neighboring libraries and of the Regional Library Systems so as not unnecessarily to duplicate services and materials. Inter-library loan is used to secure from other libraries those specialized materials which are beyond the scope of the Library's collection.  Textbooks are not ordinarily purchased by the Library except in subject areas where material in another form is not conveniently available. The Library acknowledges a particular interest in local and state history, and in the works of local authors. The Library will, however, apply the same standards of selection to the works of local authors as it does to other library materials.



The Library welcomes gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that it will evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchase materials.  When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of memorial books or collections, the selection will be made by the Librarian in consultation with the donor. The name of the donor or person memorialized will be entered on the bookplate. 

Maintaining the Collection

The same criteria will be used in "weeding" materials from the collection as are used in their acquisition. In order to maintain the collection in its most attractive and useful condition, the Librarian will use his judgment in removing from the collection materials which are no longer useful, or are not in a condition suitable for circulation. He will refurbish by repair or rebinding books which are deteriorating, whenever appropriate. Materials no longer useful to the Library may be given to other libraries or sold for the benefit of the Library.

Revision of Policy

This statement of policy will be revised as times and circumstances require.


Adopted June 1966
Revised September 1970, January 1971