Materials Selection Policy

This selection policy of the Walpole Public Library is designed to provide guidelines for the professional staff in the selection of library materials. It does not replace professional judgement, but rather defines the general tools and criteria used for material selection.

Library Objectives

The role of the Walpole Public Library is to provide the community with access to a wide range of materials for their educational, informational, cultural, recreational, and social benefit. To accomplish this, the Library collects material in various formats (written, filmed, recorded, electronic), provides a place to hold the material, and allows the material to be borrowed. It offers professional guidance on locating the material and sponsors programming to promote awareness of what is available. Since the community is diverse, the approach of the Library must be similarly diverse. Within the limitations of its budget, the Library looks to obtain as wide a range of materials as possible. To augment its resources, it also joins together on a regional basis with other libraries and information providers.

In its selection policy, the Walpole Public Library fully supports the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Statement. The key principle underlying both documents and this policy is that of free speech. In all its activities, the Library will support that principle, providing an unbiased platform for the exchange of ideas.


  • "Material" is defined in the broadest possible context. The key criteria is useful content not form.
  •  Review media are used as tools for selection along with feedback from the community.
  •  All material must meet the following specific criteria: it must have either current usefulness or permanent value, it must have either a relation to the present collection or fill a gap in the present collection, it must be well-made.
  • The library will review specific materials upon written request. A form is available at the circulation desk.
  • Titles are selected without regard to the race, creed, nationality, political or religious views of the  author.
  • In the case of controversial issues, variety and balance of opinion is sought.
  • Responsibility for the reading and viewing habits of children rests with the parents or legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that material may come into the possession of children.
  • Providing textbooks and curriculum material is the responsibility of the school system. The library will work closely with the school system to provide the general resources necessary to supplement a student's education.
  • In selecting material, the library will pay special attention to the commercial, civic and cultural hertiage of the community.
  • Selection must not only meet the needs of the current user, but also anticipate the needs of the potential user.
  • Library materials are not kept from the general public except for the purposes of protecting the material from damage or theft.
  • Systematic withdrawal of damaged or worn-out material is to be expected. Frequency of use, uniqueness, and physical condition are prime considerations in this decision making.
  • Interlibrary loans are used to obtain materials not in the Library's collections.
  • Gifts received by the Library are judged under the same criteria as purchased materials. They are accepted with the understanding that the LIbrary may dispose of them in any way it sees fit.
  • The Library is not an advocate of any particular ideas reflected in the materials in its collection. However, it does defend the principles of the freedom to read and declares that no material under attack will be removed from the Library except under the direct orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Ultimate responsibility lies with the Board of Trustees. Day to day responsibility for material selection is delegated to the Library Director. Input from staff and users of the Library is also actively sought.

The Library Director and the Board of Trustees welcome the opportunity to discuss these principles with interested individuals or representatives of groups.