I. The Policy

The Williamsburg Libraries Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of collections in support of the Library’s mission:

The Williamsburg Libraries are the public learning center of our community and the place people turn to for the discovery of ideas, the joy of reading, and the power of free access to information for all. Community needs drive our services and we take a personal interest in ensuring that they are delivered in a welcoming and responsive manner. Meekins serves as the elementary school library, guiding young people in the joy of reading and learning the value of libraries.

It is the Library’s goal to provide a diverse Williamsburg community with library materials that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may include items that may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression.

The Library provides free access to materials in a number of formats (print, media and electronic) to all patrons. Library users make their own choices as to what they will use based on individual interests and concerns. The Library supports the right of each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by their children. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian. The Williamsburg Libraries adhere to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements.

II. The Collection

Our collection provides a wide range of literary, cultural, educational, informational and recreational materials for people of all ages. Collections include popular and in-demand materials as well as special formats, such as large print books, foreign language materials, school and career information, consumer, health and medical information. In addition, the Local History Collection preserves and documents the history of Williamsburg and Hampshire County and provides a broad scope of information of local interest.

The variety of formats collected include but are not limited to:

  • Print: books, large print books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, and maps.
  • Audiovisual Media: DVDs, books on CD and MP3players, music on CD.
  • Electronic Media: databases, software, electronic books, downloadable audio books, and DVDs. The library also provides access to the Internet.

III. Criteria for Selection

General criteria for selecting library materials are listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • public demand, interest or need,
  • contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • attention of critics, trusted sources such as Booklist and Library Journal and reviewers
  • prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator or publisher
  • timeliness of material
  • relation to existing collections
  • statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • authenticity of historical, regional or social setting
  • local author/artist
  • accessibility in a variety of electronic formats

IV. Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for the initial selection of library resources rests with the Library’s professional staff, based on the criteria cited above. The responsibility for selection ultimately rests with the Library Director operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Library Trustees.

V. Suggestions for Additions to the Collection

To assure the acquisition of resources desired by Library users, patron suggestions are always considered for their addition to the collection. Patrons can request that specific items be purchased.

VI. Collection Maintenance, Replacement, and Weeding

Library collections should be fresh, exciting, uncluttered, and attractive. A systematic removal of materials no longer useful to the library is essential. Collection analysis is the continuous examination and thorough analysis of library materials for the purpose of maintaining and strengthening the collections. Discarding of these materials requires judgements as important as those used in original selections. With the exceptions of the Local History collection, the Library does not serve an archival function. Materials which are no longer appropriate for the collection because of outdated or incorrect content, poor condition, irrelevancy to the needs and interests of the community, or lack of use will be identified by appropriate staff members and discarded from the collection according to current, accepted professional practices, and in accordance with the Town of Williamsburg.

Materials discarded due to vandalism, poor condition, or outdated content will be considered for replacement, as will lost or stolen items. The Library has the sole discretion regarding disposition of deaccessioned materials in accordance with the Town of Williamsburg.

VII. Gifts

The Williamsburg Libraries accepts gifts of new or gently-used books, DVDs, or books on compact disc. Decisions on whether and how donated items will be added to the Library’s collections are based on the same evaluative criteria that are applied to purchased materials. We do not return items that are given to us to the donor. Items that are not added to the collections are given to the Friends of the Williamsburg Libraries for their book sale or are donated to Better World Books.

VIII. Surplus

According to the Town of Williamsburg Procedure for the Disposal of Town Property, at the end of each fiscal year, the Board of Library Trustees will fill out the details of the following statement and submit the information to the Board of Selectmen. The Board will fill in details and vote each year on the motion below:

"I move that the Board of Trustees of the Williamsburg Libraries declare as surplus ___ books and other items weeded during FY__ at the discretion of the Library Director, as per Massachusetts General Law Chapter 30 B, Section 15(g), and donate part of the surplussed items to the Friends of the Meekins Library (501 (c) 3), another part to Better World Books (an organization that has donated over 10 million books to charitable partner programs around the world, such as Books for Africa, Room to Read, and the National Center for Families Learning), and all large-print surplussed books to the Williamsburg Senior Center.

"These books and other items have no value to the Library, as every year it is required by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to purchase new materials at a value of 19.5% of its total budget awarded at Town Meeting to meet the Materials Expenditure Requirement of the State Aid to Public Libraries statute MGL, c.78, s.198: 650 CMR 4.01(5). Because of the amount of new material coming into the Library each year, the Library must reduce the existing collection to make room for the new material. Weeding is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: condition, relevance, outdated material, super-ceded material, and items with no circulation in 5 or more years.”


Approved by the Board 3/20/2017