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Monday-Thursday : 10-7   •   Friday-Saturday : 10-5     200 Lisbon St, Lewiston ME 04240   •   207-513-3004
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Collection Development Policy



Adopted: October 11, 2000

Revised: May 16, 2007

I. Mission

The Mission Statement of the Library is: “Preserving our history, building community, and nurturing the life of the mind.” The Library’s collection of materials will be developed to support the Library’s mission.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this Collection Development Policy is to guide the Library staff in the development of the Library’s collection of materials and to inform the public about the principles upon which these decisions are made. This Policy was developed by a Committee with representation from both the Board of Library Trustees and the Library staff and was adopted by the entire Board of Library Trustees.

III. Intellectual Freedom

The Board of Library Trustees believes that the materials collection must represent all points of view, especially concerning controversial issues, and must not exclude items because of their origin or viewpoint or the views of those contributing to their creation. Furthermore, materials will not be marked or labeled in any way to show approval or disapproval, either by the Library or any other organization. In support of this end, the Board has reviewed and endorses the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association (see Appendix A), the Free Access to Libraries for Minors interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association (see Appendix B) and the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers (seeAppendix C).

The Board recognizes that in carrying out the spirit and letter of this policy, materials which are considered controversial will be added to the Library collection. The Library will not remove from the shelves items purchased in accordance with the policy outlined here, even though one or more persons may take issue with the selection of an item. However, any Lewiston resident will have the right to question the Library’s decision to include or not include any item in the collection (see section X, this policy).

Selection of materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to screen materials used by their minor children, if they so desire.

IV. Collection Goals

The Library’s materials collection will contain current, quality, print and non-print resources to support the informational, educational, and recreational needs of individuals and organizations in Lewiston. The primary goals of the collection will be as follows:

  • To provide practical information to meet the educational needs of the Library’s users.
  • To provide popular materials to meet the personal interest, entertainment, and recreational needs of all age groups.
  • To develop most subject areas with accessible, scholarly materials to support an undergraduate college level of learning.
  • To maintain a collection of the recognized classic written works of literature and of all areas of knowledge.
  • To provide materials that promote literacy in all its forms.

The Lewiston Public Library will work closely with other libraries statewide to provide local citizens with enhanced access to information and resources.

V. Criteria for Selection

The following criteria will be given full consideration by the Library staff in making selections of new materials:

  1. Accuracy and quality of the information or the degree of literary excellence
  2. Community needs and interests including requests from individuals and/or local organizations
  3. Authority of the author and/or the publisher
  4. Relation of the work to the existing collection
  5. Price, media format, ease of use, and/or quality of actual media (e.g., book’s binding, videotape’s editing, etc.)
  6. Availability of similar materials or information within the Library’s resources or that of the state library system.
  7. The Library will acquire a sufficient number of copies of new, popular books to meet public demand. (At a minimum, one additional copy should be purchased for every four requests.)
  8. Budgetary constraints

VI. Specific Selection Policies

A. Print Materials

  1. Fiction. The fiction collection will be developed to support the recreational reading interests of Library patrons and to provide a quality collection of contemporary and classic materials.
  2. Nonfiction. The nonfiction collection will be developed to support the educational and informational needs of Library patrons.
  3. Large Print. This collection will be developed to keep up with the demand for materials in this format using the specific criteria for fiction and nonfiction above.
  4. Paperbacks. This is primarily a collection of current, popular works with an emphasis on best sellers, romance, mystery, westerns, and science fiction by popular authors and TV or movie tie-ins. A secondary goal for this collection is to supplement the hardcover fiction collection. Whenever possible, multiple copies purchased to meet demand will be placed in this collection.
  5. Reference. The reference collection is a non-circulating collection of resources designed to support the basic research and information needs of the community in all subject fields in accordance with the criteria established for the selection of library materials. Reference materials selected are usually comprehensive in scope, concise in treatment, current in timeliness, and arranged to facilitate the quick and accurate finding of information. Selection will emphasize keeping up-to-date in the most heavily used areas, while also purchasing well-reviewed new titles. As a general rule, only the latest edition of a reference work is shelved in the reference section. Older editions are transferred to the circulating collection or discarded. In order to maximize both accessibility to reference publications and cost effectiveness, electronic formats may replace or supplement print materials provided the electronic version is complete, official, and permanently accessible.
  6. Foreign Language Materials. Because of Lewiston’s strong French heritage and proximity to French Canada, the Library will maintain a collection of materials in the French language. This collection will continue to be developed with quality popular materials in both fiction and nonfiction. The Library will stay alert to the increasing diversity in Lewiston and will acquire materials in other foreign languages as warranted.
  7. Periodicals. A variety of general-interest, popular magazines will be purchased which will serve primarily as a browsing collection. The Library will also subscribe to the major Maine and some Northeast region newspapers.
  8. Local History. The Library will continue to develop a comprehensive collection of materials relating to the history of Lewiston-Auburn and Androscoggin County. The Maine history collection will continue to be developed by acquiring historical information of a general nature for the state as a whole.
  9. Genealogy. The Library will continue to acquire materials to assist our patrons in conducting genealogical research. A particular emphasis will be given to Franco-American and Maine-related genealogy.
  10. Literacy Support. The Hi-Lo (High Interest-Low Reading Level) collection will be developed with current, interesting materials to engage new readers in expanding their reading skills. Other Library collections will be developed to assist with literacy in the community.
  11. Archival Materials. The Library with the concurrence of the Board of Library Trustees may accept, preserve and make available papers and records relating to the history of Lewiston. New collections may be accepted provided that the resources exist to preserve, house, and service the records and they are deemed to have historical value.
  12. Children’s Materials. The collection serves children through grade six with some limited materials for seventh and eighth graders. Books on parenting are also collected. Children’s books are chosen with an eye to promoting literacy and critical thinking. Equal emphasis is given to popularity of print materials and educational value.
  13. Teen Materials. These items should be selected with an understanding of the needs, interests, and reading levels of young people in middle school and high school. Special collections of magazines, paperbacks, and graphic novels will be provided for this age group.

B. Audiovisual Materials and Electronic Resources

  1. Nonfiction and instructional media. Nonfiction videos, audiocassettes, compact discs, DVD’s, and other audiovisual media will be purchased when appropriate to meet the collection goals stated above.
  2. Entertainment videos and DVD’s. This collection is intended to provide quality entertainment materials for home use. The primary emphasis will be on acquiring well-reviewed popular materials and unique items not widely available at the rental stores.
  3. Audiobooks. This collection will be composed of popular fiction and nonfiction books in audiocassette format.
  4. Music compact discs. This collection is intended to provide quality renditions and popular releases in a variety of musical traditions.
  5. Electronic and online resources. When appropriate and cost-effective, access to proprietary Internet services will be acquired to meet the information needs of Library patrons. Whenever possible, community-wide licenses should be purchased to allow Library cardholders to access these resources from outside the Library.

C. New Technologies and Media

Library staff will maintain a knowledgeable awareness of all new and emerging technologies and media being used for the delivery of information. New technologies and media will be incorporated in the Library’s collection and services whenever: a) such incorporation would meet the goals stated in this Policy; b) a significant number of Library users would utilize the service; and c) the cost of implementing the new service is in line with the value of the new resource.

VII. Responsibility for Collection Development

The responsibility for implementing this Collection Development Policy lies with the Library Director. Library staff will have regular, direct input into the selection of all materials. All Library staff members directly involved in the selection of materials have an obligation to stay informed on Library user habits and patterns, community needs and interests, and the current collection of materials and to regularly read the major reviewing sources.

VIII. Re-evaluation of Materials

All materials in the Library collection should be reviewed and re-evaluated at least every ten years to check on their physical condition and to make sure that the material still meets the general criteria for selection. When materials no longer meet these criteria, they should be discarded. A decision to discard an item should also be based on the following considerations:

  1. Inclusion in Public Library Catalog, Fiction Catalog, Children’s Catalog or other standard bibliographies.
  2. Datedness.
  3. Recent circulation history.
  4. Physical condition.

Discarded materials will be made available to other libraries when appropriate or will be given to the Friends of the Lewiston Public Library for their book sale.

IX. Gifts

Gifts of materials for the Library’s collection will be added only if they meet the criteria stated in this policy. For further details on the handling of gifts relating to the materials collection, refer to the Library’s Gifts Policy.

X. Requests for Re-consideration of Materials

If a Lewiston resident or taxpayer wishes to have the decision to include or not include an item in the Library collection re-considered by the Library staff, they must complete in full a Request for Re-consideration of Library Material form (see Appendix D). Library staff directly involved in selection will re-consider the item and inform the person making the request of their decision.

If that person is not satisfied with the decision of the Library staff, the request may be appealed to the Board of Library Trustees. The decision of the Board is final.

XI. Review of Collection Development Policy

This Collection Development Policy should be periodically reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees and the Library Staff. At a minimum, this review should take place every five years.



The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of their origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

A Statement endorsed by the American Library Association Council. Adopted June 18, 1948; amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.


Free Access to Libraries for Minors: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.

Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” The “right to use a library” includes free access to, and unrestricted use of, all the services, materials, and facilities the library has to offer. Every restriction on access to, and use of, library resources, based solely on the chronological age, educational level, literacy skills, or legal emancipation of users violates

Article V.

Libraries are charged with the mission of developing resources to meet the diverse information needs and interests of the communities they serve. Services, materials, and facilities that fulfill the needs and interests of library users at different stages in their personal development are a necessary part of library resources. The needs and interests of each library user, and resources appropriate to meet those needs and interests, must be determined on an individual basis. Librarians cannot predict what resources will best fulfill the needs and interests of any individual user based on a single criterion such as chronological age, educational level, literacy skills, or legal emancipation.

Libraries should not limit the selection and development of library resources simply because minors will have access to them. Institutional self-censorship diminishes the credibility of the library in the community, and restricts access for all library users.

Children and young adults unquestionably possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information in the library. Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them.1 Librarians and library governing bodies should not resort to age restrictions in an effort to avoid actual or anticipated objections, because only a court of law can determine whether material is not constitutionally protected.

The mission, goals, and objectives of libraries cannot authorize librarians or library governing bodies to assume, abrogate, or overrule the rights and responsibilities of parents. As “Libraries: an American Value” [a statement adopted by the American Library Association] states, “We affirm the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children’s use of the library and its resources and services.” Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources. Parents who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children. Librarians and library governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child.

Lack of access to information can be harmful to minors. Librarians and library governing bodies have a public and professional obligation to ensure that all members of the community they serve have free, equal, and equitable access to the entire range of library resources regardless of content, approach, format, or amount of detail. This principle of library service applies equally to all users, minors as well as adults. Librarians and library governing bodies must uphold this principle in order to provide adequate and effective service to minors.

1See Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 205 (1975)-”Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable [422 U.S. 205, 214] for them. In most circumstances, the values protected by the First Amendment are no less applicable when government seeks to control the flow of information to minors. See Tinker v. Des Moines School Dist., supra. Cf. West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).”

Adopted June 30, 1972, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981; July 3, 1991, June 30, 2004.


The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

A joint statement by the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.



Type of material (book, periodical, video, etc.) ___________________________________

Author ________________________________________________________________________

Title __________________________________________________________________________

Publisher ____________________________________________________ Date _____________

Request initiated by ______________________________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________________________________

Telephone ______________________________________________________________________

Do you represent an organization or group? ____________ If so, please identify:


For all requests, please answer questions 1 – 5 below. If you are requesting that an item be removed from the collection, please answer questions 6 and 7 also. If you are requesting that an item be added to the collection, please answer question 8. Your answers may be provided on this sheet or on separate paper. Feel free to make any additional comments.

1. Did you read/view/listen to the entire work? If not, what parts?

2. Are you aware of judgments of this work by reviewers, evaluators, or literary critics? Please cite any specific evaluations which you feel the library staff should be aware of.

3. What do you believe to be the theme or purpose of this work?

4. What do you feel might be the result of reading this work?

5. What would you like the library to do about this work?

6. To what in the work do you object? Please be specific and cite pages.

7. What work would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective on the subject treated?

8. Why do you feel that this work should be in the library’s collection?

Page last updated: Aug 22, 2013

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