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Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement
The mission of the Pawtucket Public Library is to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Pawtucket by offering services which are accessible to all and which provide information and opportunities for education, personal enrichment, and recreation.  In doing so, the library strives to respond to the needs and desires of each individual and to treat everyone with respect and dignity. 

Collection Development Policy Purpose
The purpose of the collection development policy is to provide guidelines for acquisition and withdrawal decisions, the allocation of resources, and strategic planning in accordance with the library’s mission statement for the purpose of establishing a collection of works that meets the educational, recreational and personal enrichment needs of the community.

The library serves as a limited public forum for access to the full range of published information within the marketplace of ideas.  Collection development shall be content neutral so that the library represents a wide range of viewpoints on subjects of interest. 

The library seeks to provide a welcoming environment, a qualified staff, a wide variety of materials in all formats, programs for patrons of all ages and access to current technology.  In so doing, the library subscribes to the principles in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association and the American Book Publisher's Council and the Freedom to View Statement (see appendices).

Responsibility for Selection
Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director who works within the framework of policies as established by the Board of Trustees. The selection of materials is the responsibility of the library staff under the supervision of the library director or department heads.

Criteria for Selection
Materials will be selected to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs and interests of the community. Materials will represent a variety of viewpoints on current and historical issues. Staff will select materials in a variety of formats using published reviews, professional and trade publications, and patron requests and recommendations. General selection criteria for all materials includes:

  • anticipated and popular demand
  • accuracy and currency of information
  • age appropriateness
  • price and availability
  • historical significance
  • literary and/or artistic merit
  • significance of the author
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection
  • building capacity

An item need not meet all of these criteria to be selected. Local authors, self-published materials, and patron requests will be evaluated based on the above selection criteria as well as the availability of materials in the libraries of the Ocean State Library Network.

Materials published or released in new formats will be considered for the collection when there is evidence that a significant portion of the local population has the required equipment to make use of the format.  Availability of items in the format, the cost per item, and the Library’s ability to obtain and circulate the items will also be factors in determining when a new format will be acquired.

Any Pawtucket resident with an Ocean State Library card can request that material be added to the collection through the library’s online catalog, 'Send Us a Message' online website form or by speaking to a librarian.    

Collection Maintenance and Weeding
A strong collection requires ongoing evaluation and maintenance. Materials will regularly be weeded from the collection based on the following criteria:

  • outdated or inaccurate
  • infrequent use
  • physical condition
  • relevance

Replacements and updated editions are purchased when warranted.  Discarded materials may be sold, donated, or recycled as the Library determines.  

The Library welcomes gifts of funds and materials to enrich the collection. Materials submitted by local authors, self-published authors, and unsolicited materials from publishers and authors will be considered for inclusion in the collection using the same criteria for selection.    New or used donated materials are also subject to the same criteria as purchased materials. Gifts of materials are accepted with the understanding that they may be utilized, routed to the Friends of the Library to be sold at their book sales or disposed of at the Library's discretion.  Monetary gifts will be applied to the selection of materials by the director in consultation with library staff and the donor as appropriate. The Library reserves the right to determine the use and disposition of all gifts unconditionally.  For more information, please check the library’s material donation policy. 

Reconsideration of Material
Choosing which library materials to borrow is an individual matter.  The library recognizes that some materials may be controversial or offensive to an individual, but maintains that individuals can apply their values only to themselves.  Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility and right to guide the values of their children.  As such, parents and legal guardians are responsible for the materials that their children borrow and should make decisions accordingly.  No one can exercise censorship to restrict access to library materials by others. 

Any Pawtucket resident with an active Ocean State Library card who wishes the Library to reconsider the acquisition or removal of an item may speak with a supervisor on duty or request and appointment with the Director to discuss their concerns.  The supervisor or director will listen to their concerns and will explain the procedures used to select materials. If after the meeting if the user is still concerned about the acquisition or removal of an item they must completely fill out a “Request to Reconsideration” form in its entirety, which are available from the administration office.

The appropriate department head and the Director will review the request. The Director will issue a response.  During this process the material in question will remain on the shelf and available for circulation.  

If the user is not satisfied with the response, he or she may appeal to the Board of Trustees. The decision of the Board is final. Above all, the Board of Trustees has as its concern the fairness of such a hearing so as to protect the rights of all who are involved.

A copy of the request form without identifying library user information will be sent to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) Intellectual Freedom Committee.  The request form in its entirety may be publically available per RIGL 38-2.


Library Bill of Rights

Freedom to Read Statement       

The First Amendment          

Freedom to View Statement    

Approved by the Board of Trustees 6/20/2023


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