Materials Selection Policy

The major goals of the Nashua Public Library are to select, acquire, organize, circulate and promote the use of a broad range of communication materials and services that are provided:

  • To meet the individual’s need for information
  • To help the individual attain maximum self-development through life-long intellectual and cultural growth.
  • To supplement both the formal and informal educational experience of individuals.
  • To encourage the use of library materials, services and programs during leisure time.
  • To provide the means for thoughtful and productive participation by individuals and groups in the affairs of the community, the nation and the world.
  • To support the educational, governmental, cultural, recreational and economic activities within the community.
  • To foster productive diversity.
  • To accommodate the library needs of a changing and dynamic community and to sustain the principles embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements, as enunciated by the American Library Association.

While striving to attain these goals, the Library will also recognize the following general principles:

  • The Nashua Public Library’s selection of materials is limited by its own book budget and the related budgetary constraints of the New Hampshire State Library and other isolated municipal and academic library resources to which it has access through interlibrary loan in the state. The Nashua Public Library is, therefore, confronted with a much greater need for careful selection of diverse on-site materials as well as increased interlibrary loan cooperation to secure and share materials not in its own collection. The Library will seek to address the citizen’s primary needs and purchase materials that complement rather than duplicate other library collections.
  • The Library’s collection is one that is intended to be active, useful and circulating (reference and special materials do not circulate). The criteria for weeding (i.e. the periodic discarding of library materials) are continuing accuracy, frequency of use, physical condition and relevance. Replacements and updated editions are purchased when warranted.
  • The Library will, at all times, attempt to select materials that represent a wide range of viewpoints and will do its best to exercise impartiality in all selection activities.
  • The Library selection of materials is the responsibility of the Book Selection Committees. Consideration will be given to suggestions for purchase made by patrons, but the final decision is always with the Committees. The public library is unique among institutions as an unbiased repository for the recorded expression of thought. It must, therefore, accept responsibility for providing free access to the public to all points of view; however, the addition of an item to the collection in no way represents an endorsement by the Library of any theory, idea, or policy contained in it. In the collection of the Library, all sides of controversial issues will be represented as far as budget, space and availability of materials allow. Selection will be based upon criteria given throughout this policy statement. The race, religion, nationality or political views of an author, the frankness or coarseness of language, the controversial content of an item or the endorsement or disapproval of an individual or group in the community will not cause an item to automatically included or excluded.
  • When special handling or shelving of materials is deemed necessary by the Library, the location will be so indicated in the catalogue.
  • The Library assures free access to its holdings for all patrons who are free to select or reject for themselves any item in the collection. Children are not limited to materials in the juvenile collection although juvenile collections are kept together to facilitate use. Responsibility for materials selected by a child must rest with his or her parent or guardian, not with the Library staff.
  • In addition to the requirements of the general public served, materials will be selected to meet the needs of such groups as business, the professions, government, community organizations, the homebound, the visually, physically and mentally disabled, individuals with learning disabilities, adult beginning readers and of people for whom English is not the principal language. The adult and young adult collections will serve as supplementary sources for student use, but materials selected for students must also be available to the general reader.
  • Criteria which are used, when applicable, in materials selection are listed in alphabetical order:
    • Appropriate physical format
    • Artistic physical format
    • Artistic excellence
    • Award winning titles
    • Classic titles
    • Current interest
    • Curricula enrichment
    • Entertaining presentation
    • Favorable reviews in reviewing sources
    • Historical significance
    • Inclusion in indexes or bibliographies
    • Intended age and reading/listening/viewing level
    • Local significance
    • Patron requests
    • Price
    • Relation to other materials in order to maintain an impartial but comprehensive collection
    • Scarcity of materials on a subject/author/performer
    • Subject area and collection development value
    • Value as source/reference materials

All criteria are measured by the professional judgment, knowledge and experience of the Nashua Public Library staff.

  • Materials currently provided for library patrons include:
    • Books
    • Paperbacks
    • Video Games
    • Books on Tape
    • Books on CD
    • Video tapes
    • Music CDs
    • DVDs
    • Language Learning Software
    • On-Line Databases
    • Downloadable Audio books and E-books
    • Pamphlets
    • Posters
    • Art prints & paintings
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Maps
    • Story-cassette kits
    • Microforms

New appropriate technologies become available as they evolve. The Library also provides a wide variety of equipment to facilitate the use of audio-visual items as well as computers, black & white photocopy machines, and a typewriter. As additional patron needs are recognized, the Library will attempt to meet them.

  • The Library will encourage and accept gifts with the understanding that gifts of materials will be added to the collection if they meet the same standards required of purchased materials. Gift items will be marked, if requested by the donor, with an appropriate bookplate. A receipt acknowledging gifts for tax purposes will be given to the donor if requested at the time the donation is made; the donor must make any appraisal of value.
  • A “Request for Reconsideration” form is available to all residents for comments concerning the presence or absence of any library materials. A process for the reconsideration of library material has been established and approved by the Library Board of Trustees.
  • Also adopted by the Library Board of Trustees as part of the Materials Selection Policy are the following American Library Association statements:
    • Library Bill of Rights
    • Freedom to Read Statement
    • Freedom to View Statement

This Materials Selection Policy was approved and endorsed as the official policy of the Nashua Public Library by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on March 8, 1982. The contents have subsequently been reviewed, amended and unanimously approved by the Trustees at their meeting on June 1, 1993 and June 2, 2009.

Linda Taggart, Head of Reference Department
Chairperson, Materials Selection Committee
Arthur Barrett, Jr., Chairman
Board of Trustees
Nashua Public Library