Collection Development and Management Policy

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Mission Statement

Honoring the vision and legacy of its founder, the Mark Twain Library offers the Redding community a center for intellectual, educational, social and cultural enrichment, providing a wide variety of materials, resources, and programs for all ages. –Adopted 1/11/2010

  1. Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the library’s collection reflects the mission of the library as defined by the Board of Trustees and implemented by the library staff. It assures the integrity, consistency and continuity of selection and deselection practices and clarifies the methods and principles of those practices to both the staff and the public.

The Mark Twain Library is guided in its selection policy, and in all its activities, by the “Library Bill of Rights” and the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read”.

  1. Background Information

Redding is an exurban/rural town founded in 1767 by settlers from Fairfield Parish, approximately 60 miles from New York City. Redding has always had a select group of writers, artists and musicians among its population, including Samuel L. Clemens (aka Mark Twain), who moved here to his final home in 1908. He was founder of this library, and the first president of the Mark Twain Library Association.

Redding was one of the first communities in New England to understand the value of open space, and was in the vanguard of green-belt communities. The town retains its rural character through the diligence of its citizens, who stay aware of regional trends and policies.

As an association library, the Mark Twain Library does not receive full funding from the town government. Fiscal responsibility is important in collection development and management. Other town agencies and institutions (e.g. the schools, the Historical Society, Town Hall) have collections that complement and enhance the Mark Twain Library collection, and the Library works cooperatively with them.

The library building serves as a community center as well as a lending library. It is not an archival library, but maintains a collection of books by or about Mark Twain. It also assists with research into Mark Twain and his years in Redding. Because space is limited, the general collection must constantly be evaluated for the relevancy of material selected for inclusion on the shelves. Special collections, while perhaps valuable, are not necessarily appropriate for a general interest library, with the exception of the book collection given to the library by Samuel Clemens, and the artifact collection presented to the library after his death.

Material not deemed suitable for purchase for the Mark Twain Library collection may be obtained through the excellent interlibrary loan system that the library uses.

III. Material Selection

Using the previously stated background material as a guide, and with attention to the library’s mission and intent, the following general criteria shall apply to each item selected for the library collection, including materials and collections being offered as gifts to the library:

  • Affordability
  • Timeliness
  • Value added to the collection as a whole
  • Relevance to the mission and/or strategic plan

Responsibility for Selection 
The Board of Trustees entrusts material selection to the Library Director, subject to the general policies and standards of the library. Selection may be performed by other staff with professional level training in material selection.

Selection Tools 
Selection tools will include (but not be limited to) professional judgment as the first criterion, professional and trade journals (Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Kirkus Review), and on-line book and media reviews (Amazon, NYT, abebooks, and other authoritative web sites). The library strives to be responsive to all inquiries about resources, and adds requested items to the collection after consideration of quality and cost.

Selection Criteria 
The library provides a broadly based and diverse collection of resources with a balance in points of view on all subjects in a timely, cost effective manner.

Selection is a discerning and interpretive process. Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own excellence and the audience for whom it is intended.  No single standard can be applied in all cases.  Some materials may be judged primarily in terms of artistic merit, scholarship or value to humanity; others are selected to satisfy the informational, recreational, or educational interests of the community.

Nonfiction selection requires a familiarity with existing library resources; awareness of existing bibliographies of the subject, both off and on-line; and recognition of the needs of the community. Criteria used include:

  • the basis of content and the style of work as a whole
  • social significance
  • importance of subject matter to the community
  • soundness of the author’s attitude and approach
  • cost
  • scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere
  • format quality and suitability.

Fiction selection is based on the basis of positive reviews, anticipated demand or customer request. The library collection includes representative novels of the past and present, notable for literary quality, cultural value, and popularity. Multiple copies are purchased to meet demand. Classics are re-ordered as the need arises.

Electronic resources are made available based on the accessibility of information in areas of high demand by library users. Other criteria used include:

  • quality of data and reputation of the publisher
  • degree of currency of the data
  • user friendly search mechanism
  • compatibility with existing library systems
  • cost effectiveness

Audio books are selected to build a collection of classic and popular titles. Every effort is made to purchase unabridged works, with the exception of those available only in abridged format or specifically requested as abridged. The bulk of audio books will be in CD format to comply with the equipment of most library users. Downloadable audio book services are available through Bibliomation (Overdrive) and through the State’s service iConn. Other criteria used include:

  • quality of production and reading
  • positive reviews
  • library users’ requests

Music CDs are selected to represent a broad spectrum of musical tastes. Criteria used include:

  • excellence of interpretation and technique
  • importance of the artist
  • public requests
  • price and availability

DVDs are selected using the same criteria used for other materials according to cost and availability. Adult DVDs include entertainment and artistic films. Nonfiction DVDs supplement the print collection. VHS format is no longer purchased.

Periodical subscriptions are maintained to keep the library collection up-to-date on current issues, to provide material no available in book form, for reference work, and for general reading. Hard copy periodicals are used mostly for browsing; online databases provide research resources.

Newspapers are selected to meet to meet current reference and research needs.

Standing orders are used for materials updated on a regular basis and necessary to the collection. These include reference books, travel guides, annual literary anthologies and business circulars.

Multiple copies are purchased for items with high reader demand. Bestselling titles are purchased in sufficient quantities to meet anticipated demand. For titles with many demands, one book is purchased for every four reserves.

Areas of particular interest to the community (including but not limited to the following) are considered important and should be part of the permanent collection of the library:

  1. Local history
  2. Local authors and/or illustrators
  3. Samuel Clemens
  4. Open space

The collection management of Children’s and teen materials is the same as for the adult materials.

Maintenance and De-accession of Material
Periodic inventory of the collection is the responsibility of the staff. The “CREW*” and “MUSTI”** systems will be used for identification of unsuitable, worn, damaged and irrelevant material that should be withdrawn. Those items may be sold in the annual book sale sponsored by the Association. Materials that have been damaged, but are still useable, will either be rebound, or mended according to accepted standards for book repair.

  *CREW =



  **MUSTI =





  1. Requests for Reconsideration of Library Material

The library staff will consider all requests for the withdrawal of material from the collection. The Library Director, with the recommendations and proper background on each item, will bring these requests to the Board of Trustees.

Revision adopted by the Library Board of Trustees February 8th 2010
Mark Twain Library