I. PURPOSE OF POLICY
The Lunenburg Public Library exists to provide total library service for the entire Lunenburg community, chiefly through the development and effective use of a collection of books and other materials specifically selected to satisfy the recreational, educational, and informational needs of the town. The purpose of this policy is to formalize general guidelines whereby the library can best develop such a collection.
II. LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS
As a basis for this policy, the Trustees of the Lunenburg Public Library accept in full the Library Bill of Rights. See here.
III. RESPONSIBILITY AND CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
Books and other library materials should be selected for inclusion in library collections for the information, enlightenment, and interest of the people of the community as a whole. The Lunenburg Public Library Trustees authorize the librarian to select materials for the collection. Three factors influence the selection process:
1. Community Interests and Needs: Recognizing that any community contains people with different backgrounds, sensibilities, personalities and interest, the library must strive to provide materials that mirror all elements. No conscious effort will be made to impose one set of religious, political, or moral values in the selection process, thereby avoiding a biased collection.
2. Merit of Each Book: Non-fiction will be selected on the basis of its timeliness, accuracy, authoritativeness, clarity, relation to the existing collection and its relevance to the needs of the community. Fiction works will be considered on the basis of the quality of the writing, significance of the author, popular appeal, and permanent values. Each will be taken as a whole rather than focusing on isolated passages. Merits are to be determined mainly from recommendations in library journals, and book reviews in popular periodicals. Patron recommendations and request will also be considered, dependent upon the above guidelines.
3. Constraints: The material budget, the existing collection, the limits of shelf space, and the availability of a work elsewhere in the regional library system or community are further limitations on the selection of materials.
IV. METHODS OF ACQUIRING MATERIALS
Most materials are acquired through purchase. Some are rented from book service companies. Others may be borrowed for set periods from the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System or through library cooperatives. Gifts of materials are also accepted, with the understanding that they’ll be added to the collection only if they significantly contribute to the needs of the collection or the community and conform to the guidelines outlined in Section III.
V. ACCESS TO THE COLLECTION
The Library does not restrict anyone’s access to any section of the collection. In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to have access to materials, the Library supports the following documents: the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; The Library Bill of Rights, adopted by the American Library Association Council; and the Freedom to Read Statement.
VI. DISCARDING MATERIALS
Materials are removed from the library on a continuing basis for the purpose of maintaining a vital, useful, and valuable collection. Items will be removed if they are outdated, contain obsolete or incorrect information, are in poor physical condition, or are no longer being sufficiently utilized to warrant the space they occupy. Most are given to the Friends of the Lunenburg Public Library or to other non-profit organizations.
The basis for a valuable collection is its refusal to cater to the sensibilities or beliefs of any one point of view to the exclusion of others. Censorship is not the function of a library; indeed, the two are diametrically opposed. Within monetary and space limitations, the library strives to present all views on a subject. If people choose to reject the contents of any material, they are free to do so; they cannot prevent others from having access to such material. Free access is an integral factor in a free society. No material will be removed at the insistence of any individual or group that finds the item offensive to them or to others except in accordance with this procedure.
PROCEDURES FOR PATRON COMPLAINTS CONCERNING MATERIALS
1. Complaints will be courteously directed or taken to the Director. If he/she is not available, complainant will be informed when he/she may be reached. Other staff members should make it clear to the complainant that they do not have the authority to deal with the complaint, or to take any action concerning it.
2. The Director will listen to the complaint and will inform the patron of relevant Library selection procedures and policies.
3. If the complainant wishes a review of the material in question, the Director will provide the complainant with the form for reconsideration.
4. Patron will be asked to complete the form and return it to the Director.
5. On receipt of the request for reconsideration, the Director will assemble appropriate critical reviews and submit them along with the request to the Trustees for their review at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board. This group will review and make a decision, and notify the complainant of the decision.
6. If the complainant still feels that the problem has been dealt with inadequately, a final appeal to the Trustees can be made. The appeal should be submitted in writing and will be placed on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Trustees meeting, at which time the Board will conduct a challenge hearing to provide the forum for the complainant to air objections to the title in the collection and the recommendation of the Library Director. It should be announced at the beginning of a hearing that the Board will issue its decision at the following regularly scheduled meeting, and that the hearing is simply to hear all sides of the issue.
7. No materials will be removed from the shelves until the Trustees and Director have ruled on the complaint.
Revised on November 19, 2020, and reaffirmed on December 16, 2021.