Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


Libraries in Massachusetts are required by law (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 33) to adopt a written policy for the selection of Library materials.  The Board of Library Trustees has adopted the following policy in accordance with this law.


The purpose of the Bedford Free Public Library shall be to provide an idea center; a resource for information, lifelong learning, and creative use of leisure time to all members of the community in a period of accelerating knowledge and change.


The Board of Trustees endorses:
* the Library Bill of Rights
* the Freedom to Read Statement
* and the Freedom to View Statement
of the American Library Association and subsequent documents defining the principles of intellectual freedom. Thus the Library provides equal service to all.

Responsibility for Materials Selection

Ultimate legal responsibility for materials selection lies with the Board of Trustees. The authority and responsibility for the selection of Library materials is delegated to the Library Director and under his/her direction to Library staff that is knowledgeable in collection development principles and practices.

Criteria for Selection

The objective of selection is to collect Library materials that will inform, entertain, and contribute to enrichment of mind and spirit. Recommendations from the public are always welcome.

Several criteria are used when evaluating material including reviews in professionally recognized resources and standard bibliographies. Items need not meet all criteria listed below for inclusion in the collection.

  • Relevance to the interest and needs of the community.
  • Contemporary usefulness or permanent value.
  • Reputation or qualifications of the author, creator or publisher.
  • Relation to the existing collection.
  • Relative importance in comparison to other works on the subject.
  • High standards of quality in content and format.

Materials Selection for Children and Teens

The principles stated in the adult materials selection policy are applicable to the selection of materials for children and teens. 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. Thus textbooks are not ordinarily purchased by the Library. The public Library seeks to provide a more comprehensive collection suitable for the varied interests and reading levels of their audience.


The same criteria will be used in the deselection of materials from the collection as are used in their acquisition. In order to maintain the collection in its most attractive and useful condition, the selectors will use their judgment in removing from the collection materials which are no longer useful, outdated, or are not in a condition suitable for circulation. Materials no longer useful to the Library may be sold for the benefit of the Library or donated to other non-profit organizations that support literacy.

Use of the Library’s Materials

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no materials are sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting them 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 children’s access to and use of Library materials 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 acknowledges a particular interest in the history of the town of Bedford, and actively collects materials that are pertinent to that subject collection. The Library also collects the works of local authors. The Library will, however, apply the same standards of material 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 materials or collections, the selection will be made by the selectors in consultation with the donor. The name of the donor or person memorialized will be entered on the bookplate. The Library however, cannot guarantee the perpetuity of a gift in the collection.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Library will review decisions regarding specific materials upon written request. A form for this purpose is available at any public service desk.

Adopted June 1966
Revised September 1970, January 1971
Revised September 8, 2015

Reaffirmed May 2022