The purpose of this policy statement is to:
- Assure continued growth of the collection appropriate to defined role and goals
- Provide the public with information regarding selection principles
- Provide guidance to the staff of the Larchmont Public Library in its selection of materials
- Provide a means for the library to evaluate its selection process
I. The Larchmont Public Library and its Clientele
The Larchmont Public Library primarily serves the residents of the Village of Larchmont and the unincorporated area of the Town of Mamaroneck. In addition, the library serves other residents of the County of Westchester and provides borrowing privileges to those who hold library cards from other Westchester public libraries or a library card issued by the Westchester Library System. The library also extends borrowing privileges to individuals who work, attend school, or own real property in Larchmont but reside outside the county. The clientele of the library includes a full range of patrons of all ages and backgrounds. As a public library, the Larchmont Public Library is open to all.
II. Goal of the Collection Development Program
The library provides materials and resources to the community in order to assist residents in obtaining information and resources for their personal, educational, professional, and/or entertainment needs. Materials are chosen, subject to budgetary limits, to inform, inspire, and entertain; to excite new interests; and to satisfy free inquiry. The library serves as a learning and educational center for all residents of the community by providing a diverse collection representative of various points of view.
III. Responsibility for Collection Management and Development
The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials are delegated by the Library Board of Trustees to the Director and, under the Director’s discretion, to the relevant professional staff. The selection is undertaken according to the policies, goals, and objectives determined by the Library Board of Trustees, as expressed herein. Suggestions from patrons are welcome and are given consideration within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees.
IV. Types of Publications and Formats
The Library recognizes that content and medium should be suitably matched, and aims to provide its resources in different formats in order to meet the needs of library patrons.
The library’s collection may include, but will not be limited to:
- Tangible audio and video
- Downloadable print, audio, and video resources
As new formats emerge, the Library will use its discretion to keep the most appropriate mediums in circulation. Before adding a new or removing an old format, the Library considers criteria consistent with the general selection criteria outlined below.
General Selection Criteria
The general selection criteria apply equally to children, young adult and adult collections. Any acquisition, whether purchased or given as a gift, must be considered in terms of its own merit and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can be applied in all cases, but the Library seeks to evaluate materials as uniformly as possible.
A. Attention given by critics, reviewers, media, and the public
B. Suitability of and demand for format for library use and content
C. Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
D. Importance as a document of the time period
E. Authority, reputation, or qualifications of the author, artist, publisher, or producer
F. Organization and ease of use, clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation
G. Cost and availability
H. Inclusion in standard bibliographies, webliographies, or indexes
I. Enhancement of existing Library collection to reflect:
- Importance of the title when compared with other works on the subject
- Importance of the subject matter or point of view to the collection
- Adequate retrospective and current subject coverage
- Adequate coverage when there is a scarcity of material published on the subject
K. Representation of an important movement, genre, trend, or national culture; no item will be excluded due to the race, religion, nationality or personal history of the author
L. Artistic presentation and experimentation
M. Diversity of viewpoint, including materials that represent the broad range of human experience and that reflect different cultural, ethnic, religious, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds.
The Children’s and Teen’s collections by definition provide material to a wide range of ages and maturity levels. Some materials in the Children’s and Teen’s Collection might not be considered appropriate by all adults for all children. While some books are too mature for one child, other children may be ready for them. Responsibility for the reading, listening, and viewing of Library materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Patrons may reject materials for themselves and for the children and teens in their care; however, they cannot restrict access to the materials by others.
The Library works cooperatively with schools to supplement and enhance their collections. The Library does not purchase textbooks to support educational curriculums and does not take the place of the elementary, middle school, high school or college libraries.
Donated items are subject to the general selection criteria listed above. As with all donations the Library shall make the final decision on acceptance, use, and disposition, and retain unconditional ownership. For information regarding donations, please see the Gift Policy/ Deed to Gift form available on the Library website and at the Information Desk.
VI. Removal, Replacement, Preservation, and Access of Materials
The library makes every effort to continuously evaluate the collection and withdraw such materials that are no longer fresh and/or relevant. Relevancy is especially important in several areas of the collection—including but not limited to medicine, science, and financial investing—where knowledge and standard practices evolve rapidly. The following criteria are used to evaluate whether materials should be removed from the collection:
A. Condition—damaged or missing parts
B. Dated content, no longer accurate or reliable
C. Little or low use
D. No longer relevant to the community
E. Availability in other formats.
F. Space limitations as new items are acquired
G. Multiple copies of a title relative to usage.
VII. Cooperative Collection Development
As a member of the Westchester Library System the library draws upon the collection and resources of all the libraries in the system and does not necessarily duplicate materials offered by other WLS libraries. The library utilizes Interlibrary Loan in accordance with ALA regulations to secure from other libraries those specialized materials that are beyond the scope of the library’s collection and requests materials from other institutions in the state and nation. The library will participate in cooperative collecting plans developed with other libraries as appropriate.
VIII. Special Collections
A. Local History
The emphasis of the collection is on books, newspapers, photographs and maps pertaining to local history. Local history includes the Town of Mamaroneck plus the Village of Larchmont and the Village of Mamaroneck prior to the formation of the Village of Mamaroneck and/or directly related to Larchmont history, e.g., common families, events, etc. In general, the library does not collect rare books, manuscripts or archival materials such as personal papers, ephemera or memorabilia. The Larchmont Public Library will cooperate with the Larchmont Historical Society and other local historical societies to assure the best access. However, other material formats may be added to the collection taking into account the library’s ability to store and maintain such material and the subject matter. The focus is the following areas of interest:
A. Local historical events
B. Houses and buildings of architectural or historical interest
C. Residential areas
D. Local personalities especially those related to literature
E. Local government
B. Local Author Collection
The purpose of the local author collection is to collect works produced by current and past Village of Larchmont or Town of Mamaroneck residents. Non-residents are included only if Larchmont Public Library has some direct connection to the author or work: e.g., research conducted at Library, author provided programs or services to Library, etc. Journals, anthologies, or other compendia in which the bulk of material is not produced by a local author will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Materials weeded from the circulating collection may be added to the Local Author Collection when appropriate. Items may be weeded from the Local Author collection and stored in the Local History room or transferred to the Local History Collection.
IX. Intellectual Freedom, Censorship and Copyright Issues
The Larchmont Public Library Board of Trustees has adopted and will adhere to and support the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights and the following ALA statements:
- Access to Digital Resources and Services
- Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors
- Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation
- Diverse Collections
- Economic Barriers to Information Access
- Freedom to Read
- Freedom to View
- Minors and Online Activity
- Restricted Access to Library Materials
- Services to People with Disabilities
X. Reconsideration Policy
The Library recognizes that certain materials may be controversial and that any item may offend some library users. Selections are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the works in relation to the goals of building and enhancing a collection that serves the diverse needs and interests of the community.
Because the Library offers a wide variety of resources representing the range of human thought and experience, people may occasionally encounter resources they believe to be inappropriate or offensive.
Once an item has been accepted in accordance with Library’s Collection Policy, it will not be removed solely at the request of those who disagree with its inclusion, unless it can be shown that retention of the item would be in violation of the Policy as well as the principles of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. All Library policies shall remain publicly available on the Library’s website. All American Library Association policies are available on its website: ala.org.
If a cardholding resident requests that a resource be removed, the Library will be guided by the procedures outlined in the ALA’s Guidelines for Reconsideration Committees, which are summarized below and can be viewed in their entirety at: https://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/reconsiderationcommittees.
Please note that the item in question will remain in the library’s collection and available to the public during the reconsideration process.
Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints:
Only cardholding residents of the Village of Larchmont or the unincorporated area of the Town of Mamaroneck may request reconsideration of Library materials. The following steps will be used when a cardholding resident feels that further action is necessary to address concerns about a library resource.
- The resident must complete and submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Form, available at the Information Desk, and mail it to: Library Director, Larchmont Public Library, 121 Larchmont Avenue, Larchmont, NY 10538. If the resident does not have physical access to the Library, they may call 914-834-2281, speak with a librarian at the Information Desk, and request that a copy be mailed to them.
- The director, with appropriate professional staff, will review the reconsideration form and the material in question, to consider whether its selection follows the criteria stated in the collection policy.
- Within a reasonable time, the director will make a decision and send a letter to the concerned person who requested the reconsideration, stating the reasons for the decision.
- If the resident is not satisfied with the decision, a written appeal may be submitted within 10 business days to the Board of Trustees.
- The Board will address the appeal at their next scheduled meeting and the individual will be notified of when and where the meeting will be held.
- The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of public comments.
- The decision of the board is final.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees,
Larchmont Public Library,
January 12, 2022