Verona Library Collection Development Policy

A. General Governing Factors
The Verona Public Library Board of Trustees recognizes that American Democracy functions only when the full range of human ideas is accessible to the people and when proponents of the various points of view are able to fully and openly make their case, however popular or unpopular it may be.
The Board further recognizes that this principle is embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which protects the free expression of ideas and in American Public Libraries which provide access to those ideas. Thus, the library collection is a marketplace of ideas which are contained in varied and divergent materials.

The collection of the Verona Public Library is designed to fulfill this ideal. In striving to meet this goal, the library will adhere to the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS and its interpretations, and to the American Library Association FREEDOM TO READ and the American Library Association FREEDOM TO VIEW statement.

B. Principles of Selection

The Verona Public Library selects, organizes and makes available materials which enrich the informational, educational, recreational and cultural resources of the community. Inherent in the Collection Development philosophy is an appreciation for each user of the Verona Public Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one customer’s needs of preferences over another’s.

The Library and its collection will promote no causes; will further no movements; will favor no viewpoints; but will be an excellent and unbiased source of accurate information.

Materials must be measured by a number of criteria. The basic requirement for selection of any item is whether it is of proven or potential interest to the people of Verona. Additional considerations include:

• Extent of publicity, critical review and current or anticipated demand
• Reputation and qualifications of the author, publisher or producer, with preference generally given to titles vetted in the editing and publishing industry
• The currency, accuracy and validity of the information
• Representation of an important movement, genre, trend or national culture
• Availability and cost of the item
• The amount of similar, current material already in the collection
• The extent to which the material may be available elsewhere in the community
• The extent to which the materials may be obtainable from other libraries through resource sharing or interlibrary loan
• Physical characteristics of the material
• The extent to which the material fits within the current and future collection of the library

The demand in our community for particular titles and/or subjects is given high consideration. Likewise, evolving community changes in demographics and social characteristics will be reflected in the library collection. All purchases are necessarily made within the budgetary constraints operating in any given year.

Donations of used books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. will be accepted only if materials are in excellent condition, were published within 3 years, or are current best sellers. A Librarian shall determine their suitability to the collection. Materials that are not added to the collection may be placed in the Friends of the Library book sale or may be discarded.

Books and other materials shall be made accessible to the public. The Library does not serve as censor of the reading of any member of the community. The Library recognizes the importance in a democratic society of allowing individuals to form their own opinions on issues. The Library further recognizes that reading is an individual, private matter. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves, no one can restrict the freedom of others to read or inquire. In choosing materials, differing viewpoints will be included whenever possible and appropriate. It should also be recognized that some materials chosen may be controversial and some people may find some items offensive, shocking, or of low interest, while to others they may be meaningful and significant. It should be clearly understood and emphasized that the Library does not endorse opinions expressed in the materials which are held in the collection. Materials are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections. Decisions are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval of the material.

Responsibility for reading, listening and viewing by minors rests with their parents or local guardians. The Library recognizes this right, and does not act in loco parentis. Selection of materials will not be restricted by the possibility that these materials may come into the possession of minors. Children’s materials are selected to reflect the community served, provide materials for all age levels, provide accurate and current information on a wide range of subjects, and to be balanced and responsive to young people’s needs and interests. The Verona Public Library does not substitute for a school library, but does provide supplemental materials for school assignments.

The collection is intended for the use of the general public. Scholarly, scientific and technical works intended for specialists are generally outside the scope of the collection. Materials representing every type of literature, subject or format are not able to be included due to the constraints of available space, service requirements, budgets and the nature of the collection.

C. Responsibility for Selections
The ultimate responsibility for selection, replacement and discarding of library materials rests with the Library Board of Trustees (NJSA 40:54-12).

The actual selection, replacement, and withdrawal of materials lies with the Library Director and delegated professional librarians. All staff members and the general public are welcome to recommend materials for consideration. While professionally trained librarians rely upon a variety of skills and published sources to identify materials selected for inclusion in the library collection, serious consideration will be given to recommendations received from members of the public.

In making selections, professional staff of the Library shall do so in a manner based upon established principles of librarianship rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Selection endeavors to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Variety and a balance of opinion are sought. Material will be selected to fulfill the library mission, and format will not be a deciding factor. The most appropriate format will be used to meet the needs of the public.

D. Placement of Materials
Placement of materials within the library is a professional decision. The collection will be organized and maintained to facilitate access. Criteria includes:
• Assigned classification
• Format
• Susceptibility to loss or damage
• Value
• Age of target audience

High-value or hard-to-replace materials may be designated “library use only” or otherwise controlled. The most prevalent examples of these works are the local history and the reference collections.

The Library labels materials for physical placement only, not to predispose the user for or against materials or to judge either the contents or those who might use them.

E. Withdrawal of Materials

Discarding of materials is an important part of the maintenance of the library collection. Items are withdrawn from the collection based on criteria summarized by the acronym MUSTIE:

• Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
• Ugly (worn out or damaged beyond mending or rebinding)
• Superseded by a new edition or format, or a better source
• Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)
• Irrelevant to the needs and interest of your community
• Elsewhere (the material may be easily borrowed from another source)

The availability of physical space for materials will also be considered when withdrawing materials.

Responsibility for discharging materials rests with the Library Director and delegated professional librarians.

F. Reconsideration of Materials

While the selection of materials appropriate to the needs of the community is one of the basic duties of the professional library staff and of the Library Director, it is not possible to read every book, see every video, etc., that is added, or not added, to the collection. It is recognized that a member of the community may find an item personally objectionable, or wish that a particular item be added or deleted. Since the library is a tax supported institution, any Verona resident has the right to question the inclusion or exclusion of any title in the library’s collection. Each request will be given serious consideration. However, until an examination has been made and a decision reached, the material will not be removed from the collection.

Patrons expressing a concern about the inclusion or exclusion of any item should be referred to a Librarian. The Librarians are always willing to discuss the possibility of adding materials which have not been placed in the collection, or withdrawing materials which have been included, on the basis of the “Collection Development Policy.”

A Verona resident may request a formal review of the material by filling out the “Resident’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials.” The form will go to the Library Director, who will examine the item in question to determine whether it conforms to the standards of the “Collection Development Policy,” and decide whether or not to add, withdraw or relocate the material. The Library Director will then write the complainant giving reasons for the decision. The patron has a right to expect a response in a timely manner.

If a patron is not satisfied with the response from the Library Director, the patron may make a request, in writing, for final consideration by the Library Board of Trustees. The Board President shall convene an ad hoc committee composed of at least one Board member, the Library Director, and a resident of Verona, which may or may not be the patron making the request. All members of the committee will completely read/view/hear the material in question and meet as a committee to discuss the request. The timeliness of meeting may be impacted by the availability of the material in question.

The committee will make a recommendation to the full Board during a Regular Meeting of the Library Board of Trustees on the request. They will then determine if the material conforms to the standards established in the “Collection Development Policy”, and give a final ruling. The Library Board of Trustees has, by state law, the authority to make a binding decision on all matters pertaining to the operation of the library (NJSA 40:54-12). There is no appeal beyond the Library Board.

Approved: February 24, 2022 

Skip to content