Saugus Public Library

Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Saugus Public Library is to inform, enrich, and empower all citizens by providing and promoting free access to the universe of information and ideas.

Vision Statement

The Vision of the Saugus Public Library is to be the foremost destination for the enrichment of all.


In order to fulfill our mission, the Saugus Public Library aims to offer useful collections of current materials representing different points of view for the educational, informational and recreational needs of its users and to give guidance in their use. It is the primary objective of the Library to provide and organize materials for people from infancy through maturity, making available carefully selected materials of purpose and quality. The Library neither encourages nor discourages any particular viewpoint. Selection of materials does not mean endorsement of the contents or the views expressed in those materials. The Library believes that sensitivity to all interests, early recognition of needs before they are clearly expressed, and range of viewpoints mark the outstanding collection.

The Saugus Public Library provides unrestricted access to information, programming, and resources to satisfy our community’s intellectual interests and lifelong learning. This, in turn, will enrich our community’s quality of life.

The purpose of this document is to establish the rules by which the Library develops its collections. “Collection development” refers to an ongoing process requiring professional judgment and experience to address the interests and demands of the public while optimizing the allocation of space, staff and fiscal resources. Resource sharing with other libraries, as well as electronic and other methods of information delivery, are used by the Library to extend its limited resources.

For the purposes of this document, the term “materials may refer to books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, audio and video recordings, and software in a variety of formats such as print, microfilm, audio/video disc, and/or digital files, as well as digital devices and other objects.

A. Access

  1. The Library considers reading, listening, and viewing to be individual, private matters and supports the right of unrestricted and confidential access to information. Parents and legal guardians are free to select or reject materials for themselves and their own minor children, but the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted.
  2. The Library does not stand in place of the parent (in loco parentis). Parents and legal guardians have the right and responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing choices of their own minor children.
  3. The collection will be organized and maintained to help people find the materials they want. Materials will not be restricted, sequestered, altered or labeled to show approval or disapproval of the contents, or because of controversy about the author or the subject matter.
  4. The Library considers materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If a person claims that a particular item is not constitutionally protected, the burden of proof rests with that person.
  5. If a court having jurisdiction over the Library decides that any material in the collection is not protected by these constitutions, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available until a court ruling is made.

B. Collection Objectives

  1. The Library collects materials in accordance with its strategic service priorities and goals, and to meet and anticipate the needs of its diverse communities.
  1. Customer use is the most powerful influence on the Library’s collection; level of use, customer requests, and holds queues are closely monitored, possibly triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items.
  1. The Library may not acquire/maintain specialized and advanced level research materials/resources unless the information is available through the Internet or the Library’s cooperative resource sharing partnerships. Library staff will refer specialists and advanced students to the extensive library collections available in the greater Boston area and via the Library’s interlibrary loan services.
  1. Materials selected for children and teenagers are intended to encourage and facilitate reading skills, support recreational reading, stimulate and widen their interests, and supplement their educational needs. While the Library can work cooperatively to support school curricula, it does not routinely prioritize its materials purchases to support school curricula.
  1. Digital collections may include ebooks, e-audiobooks and e-magazines; downloadable and streaming audio and video; citation and full-text databases; and instructional programs. The Library strives to provide the broadest possible collection of both popular and research materials for all ages via purchase, licensing, and pay-per-use acquisitions.

C. Selection of Materials

  1. Selection of materials is vested in the Library Director, who may authorize qualified staff to assist and has full authority to use her, his or their judgment in interpreting this Policy. Materials selected will be deemed to have been selected by the Board of Trustees.

Criteria to be considered in adding specific materials, including gifts, to the collection include, but are not limited to:

o Relevance to current interests and needs of the community

o Extent of publicity, critical review, and current or anticipated demand

o Current or historical significance of the subject or author

o Local significance of the subject or author

o Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject 

o Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses

o Reputation & qualifications of the author, publisher or producer

o Accuracy and timeliness

o Literary quality and/or effective expression

o Suitability of subject and style for intended audience

o Suitability of format for Library circulation and use

o Price and availability

o Availability of similar materials in the collection, elsewhere in the region or online

  1. Electronic resources, including subscription services and links to websites, are provided to increase the depth and breadth of the collection. Due to licensing terms, some resources may be available only within the Library building or only to Saugus residents. Specific criteria to select electronic resources include:

o Current, accurate & consistently maintained information 

o Credibility of authors/producers

o Organization & ease of use

o Relevance to the physical collection

o Price and availability

  1. Items selected must meet one or more of these criteria but not every item that meets one or more of them will be selected. The Library strongly encourages patrons to suggest items, topics or authors they would like to see included in the collection. Such requests which do not result in a purchase may be met through resource sharing with other libraries, electronic delivery or other means. Titles requested by patrons from other NOBLE libraries (or via other Interlibrary Loan Services) may also be considered for addition to our collection. 
  1. Materials are judged on the basis of the content as a whole rather than on isolated passages or incidents. Hence, language, situations, subjects and storylines which may be offensive to some do not disqualify an item which has value as a whole or which is useful to the public generally.
  1. Individual items, which in and of themselves may be controversial or offensive to some patrons or staff, may be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints in the collection as a whole and if they meet one or more of the criteria listed.

D. Discarding Materials

  1. Discarding materials on a systemic and continuing basis is an important part of maintaining a collection that is fresh and free of outdated, worn and damaged materials. Discarding of materials is vested in the Library Director, who may authorize qualified staff to assist. Materials discarded will be deemed to have been discarded by the Board of Trustees.

2. When discarding materials, the Library will consider the same criteria as for selecting materials, as well as physical condition. Materials will not be removed because of controversy. Replacement of materials will be based on collection objectives.

3. The Library is not a library of historical record. To ensure a vitalcollection of continuing value to the communities we serve, except in the area of local history, materials that are not well used may be withdrawn.

4. Discarded materials may be sold for the benefit of the Library, given to other libraries, government offices or community agencies, recycled or destroyed.

E. Material Reconsideration

The Saugus Public Library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy. The library also selects a wide variety of library materials that satisfy the diverse interests of our community. The library upholds the right of the individual to secure these resources, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to some. The library’s varied collection is available to all; however, it is not expected that all of the collection will appeal to everyone.

Patrons who wish to request the withdrawal or reclassification of materials currently owned by the library are encouraged to informally discuss their concerns with a library supervisor or the Library Director. If the patron is not satisfied with the response to their request, the supervisor or Library Director will provide the patron with information and a form to request formal reconsideration of the library resource. Withdrawn items will be donated to the New Friends of the Saugus Public Library for their book sale. The proceeds from such sales are used for the benefit of the library. Books that are not sold will be disposed of at the discretion of the New Friends of the Saugus Public Library.

The following steps will be used when an individual feels that further action is necessary to address concerns about a library resource. For the duration of this process, the material in question will remain in circulation in the library collection.

  1. A concerned patron who is dissatisfied with earlier informal discussions will be offered a packet of materials that includes the library’s mission statement, Collection Development Policy, reconsideration form, and the Library Bill of Rights.
  2. Patrons are required to complete and submit a reconsideration form to the Library Director.
  3. The Library 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.
  4. Within 15 business days, the Library Director will make a decision and send a letter to the concerned person who requested the reconsideration, stating the reasons for the decision.
  5. If the individual is not satisfied with the decision, a written appeal may be submitted within 10 business days to the Board of Library Trustees.
  6. If the board plans to address the appeal at their board meeting, the individual will be notified of when and where the meeting will be held.
  7. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of public comments.
  8. The decision of the Board is final.

Approved by the Board of Library Trustees: February 4th, 2021


Materials Reconsideration Request Form

Related Policies:

American Library Association Library Bill of Rights Freedom to Read Statement

Saugus Public Library Donation Policy



The trustees of Saugus Public Library have established a Collection Development Policy which includes a Materials Reconsideration procedure for gathering input about particular items. Completion of this form is the first step in that procedure. If you wish to request reconsideration of a resource, please return the completed form to: 

Library Director                                                                                                                                                         Saugus Public Library
295 Central Street
Saugus, MA  01906

Date ______________________________________________________________
Name ______________________________________________________________
Address ______________________________________________________________
City ___________________________ State/Zip _______________________
Phone _________________________ Email __________________________

Do you represent self? ____ Or an organization? ____ 

Name of Organization ____________________________________________

  1. Resource on which you are commenting:
    ___ Book (or e-book) ___ DVD   ___ Magazine    ___ Audio Recording
    ___ Digital Resource  ___ Game ___ Newspaper ___ Other (Please specify_____________________________)

Title ______________________________________________________________

Author/Producer ______________________________________________________________

  1. What brought this resource to your attention?
  2. Have you examined the entire resource? If not, what sections did you review?
  3. What concerns you about the resource?                                                                                                                  

  1. What do you feel might be the result of reading or viewing this material?
  2. Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?
  3. What action are you requesting the committee consider?

(feel free to use reverse if more space is required)