Collection Development and Materials Management

The Clark Memorial Library ~ Bethany Library Association provides materials and services to support the informational and educational needs of the citizens in the Town of Bethany, CT.

The primary functional roles that support these objectives: 1. Popular Materials Library and 2. Early Literacy and Reading to Grow materials. Secondary roles are: 1. Independent Learning and 2. Community Information. These functional roles will be considered in the development of the collection, and will receive priority in the allocation of resources and funds.

Selection and purchase of library materials rests with the library director who may delegate some responsibilities to other staff members. Staff will adhere to accepted professional practices when making selection decisions. First, the recreational, educational and informational needs of the community will be considered in selecting materials.

Before the beginning of each budget year, the director will determine how limited funds will be allocated among the major collection subdivisions (e.g., adult non-fiction, fiction, youth collection, reference, periodicals, and non-print items). Circulation statistics and counts of in-house use of materials will be maintained to assist in decision making. Average cost per item, as determined by the previous year’s purchases and reports in library and publishing journals, will also be considered in allocating funds.

Materials will be selected based on positive reviews in professional journals or actual examination and evaluation of materials. Instead of reviews, popular demand (bestsellers, school bibliographies, local interest) may be used as the criterion for selection of materials. Items that must be updated every year may be placed on a standing order list to ensure timely delivery. Suggestions from the community for items to be considered for purchase are strongly encouraged, but materials must meet selection criteria.

The Clark Memorial Library does not attempt to acquire textbooks that support local curricula, but may acquire textbooks for general use by the public. Multiple copies of popular books (e.g. Bestsellers, resume guides, tax preparation) may be purchased to meet demand. Paperback books will be purchased when available to meet short-term demand. The library will attempt to have information available in a variety of formats (book, non-book, pamphlet, magazines, etc.) when available and practical. Generally, only one copy of materials in other formats (video, compact disk, computer programs) will be purchased unless long-term high demand is anticipated. Video and audio recordings will be selected for potential long-term use to meet general interests. Regardless of an item’s popularity, the library may choose not to select it, because its format is not durable enough to withstand reasonable library use, or it would require excessive staff time to maintain.

Objections to items in the collection should be made in writing to the library director. Materials that no longer meet the needs of the community and no longer support the library’s collection will be withdrawn and disposed of in accordance with the library’s “De-selection of Materials” policy.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The Clark Memorial Library ~ Bethany Library Association welcomes comments and suggestions regarding the continued appropriateness of materials in the collection, especially concerning outdated materials. Suggestions will be considered and utilized by the library in the ongoing process of collection development.

Individuals may take issue with library materials that do not support their tastes and views. Staff is available to discuss concerns and identify alternate materials that may be available. If a patron’s concern is not satisfied through discussion with staff, a formal, written request for reconsideration of materials may be submitted to the library director. Copies of this form are available at the circulation desk or from the director.

The Clark Memorial Library is not a judicial body. Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. Therefore, no challenged material will be removed solely for the complaint of obscenity or any other category covered by law until after a local court of competent jurisdiction has ruled against the material. No materials will be knowingly added to the library collection which have been previously determined to be in non-compliance with local laws.

For a request for reconsideration to be considered, the form must be completed in full. The patron submitting the request must be a resident of the Town of Bethany and hold a valid library card. The director will respond, in writing within thirty days of receipt, to the patron’s request for reconsideration. The response will indicate the action to be taken and reasons for or against the request. An item will only be evaluated for reconsideration once in a twelve month period.

De-selection of Materials

Materials that no longer fit the stated service roles of the library will be withdrawn from the collection. This may include materials that are damaged, include obsolete information, or are no longer used. Decisions will be based on accepted professional practice, such as those described in The CREW Method (, and the professional judgment of the library director or designated staff. When necessary, local specialists will be consulted to determine the continued relevance and reliability of materials.

Items withdrawn from the collection will be disposed of in accordance with local law; or transferred to the Friends of Bethany Library for sale; or, presented to the public for free acquisition. Discarded magazines, other periodicals and newspapers may be given to other libraries or social service agencies at the discretion of the library director.

Gifts and Donations

The Clark Memorial Library ~ Bethany Library Association welcomes gifts of new and used books, audio recordings, DVDs, and similar materials. Items will be added to the collection in accordance with the selection policy of the library. Once donated, items become the property of Clark Memorial Library and may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies, sold, traded, or discarded if they are not added to the collection. Donated items will not be returned to the donor and the library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift. The library will acknowledge receipt of donated items but is unable to set fair market or appraisal values. It is recommended that the donor make a list of items donated. If items are being donated to obtain a tax benefit, it is the donor’s responsibility to establish fair market value or obtain expert assistance in establishing any value. The library also reserves the right to decide when a gift added to the collection must be withdrawn.

Monetary gifts, bequests, and memorial or honorary contributions are particularly welcome. Funds donated may be used to purchase items in accordance with the selection policy of the library. Books, videos, and other materials purchased with bequests and memorial or honorary contributions will be identified with special donor plates whenever possible. If requested, notification of memorial or honorary contributions will be sent to the family of the person being recognized. Suggestions for subject areas or other areas of interest are welcome and will be followed to the extent possible.

Acceptance of donations of equipment, real estate, stock, artifacts, works of art, collections, etc., will be determined by the library board based on their suitability to the purposes and needs of the library, laws and regulation that govern the ownership of the gift, and the library’s ability to cover insurance and maintenance costs associated with the donation.