Memorial Hall Library

Collection Development Manual 2014

Purpose of the Manual

  • To support the mission, vision and core values of Memorial Hall Library
  • To document the current collection management policies and procedures of Memorial Hall Library
  • To serve as a staff training document for policies and procedures related to collection development and management
  • To establish a framework for continuous collection evaluation and improvement

Goals of the Manual

  • To insure that the Memorial Hall Library collection fulfills the information and materials related recreational needs of all segments of the population
  • To strive for a collection that is balanced, comprehensive, and of adequate size, quality, and diversity to meet the needs of its users
  • To insure that all parts of the collection are up-to-date, attractive, and well maintained
  • To increase the involvement and knowledge of the entire staff in collection development and management
  • To utilize collection usage statistics to insure an optimal allocation of the materials budget
  • To continually evaluate present formats and to identify new formats that will make the collection more valuable to our patrons
  • To cooperate with Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) to insure that our collections meet our consortium responsibilities

Collection Overview

The Changing Public Library

The public library of 2014 offers a diverse array of library services, including, but not limited to, access to fully functional computer workstations, wireless access points throughout the building, areas for quiet study and group work, lifelong learning programs, author talks, concerts, lectures and art displays. These services can be as important to our library patrons as our print and audiovisual collections.

The print collection size of Memorial Hall Library is smaller than in years past. The smaller size is the result of many factors, chief among which is the changing ways the public prefers information, for both recreation and research. It is also the result of the heavy demand for a small range of popular titles, the short shelf life of information in a rapidly changing world, and the proliferation of different formats.

  1. Importance of other information sources: As a library, we provide many different kinds of information for our patrons. Over the years, that has meant many new formats and many new ways of delivery, including e-books, electronic resources, our website, and our online catalog. Books are still essential to what we do, but they are no longer the only game in town.
  2. Multiple copies: Because of popular demand we buy multiple copies of more titles than we used to. All the "To-Go" Collections are duplicates of high demand items. After demand is over, these titles are culled because of shelf space issues and low circulation. We generally keep only one copy of any particular title on the shelf, occasionally two copies. We do keep multiple copies of items considered "classics" or ones used for book clubs or group study.
  3. Reference: So many reference sources are now online we are simply not spending as much on books, but rather spending much more for online services. As print sources become out of date, they are often replaced with online sources of information, both free and by subscription. As a result, we have far less print reference volumes than we did in the past.
  4. Purchase of nonprint formats (audiobooks, e-books, electronic resources, DVDs, CDs, streaming media): As we buy more and more of these formats to meet demand, we spend less on traditional paper books. Budgets are finite.
  5. Deferred weeding: Weeding is very time consuming and most libraries only do it when they have to because they run out of space. We moved into a new building 25 years ago, and proceeded to fill it up, with very little weeding occurring for the first 13 years or so. The renovation project begun in 2011 really motivated us to go at it seriously, creating more room for people, less room for books.
  6. Importance of better data collection methods and tools: Not only does the public have access to more information sources, but we do also. That means we can do a better job of material selection and deselection. Our collections better meet the needs of our users. Our patrons tell us what they want by checking out materials. We study usage statistics and make selection and deselection choices based on actual patron use data, not our gut feelings. This has led to a better collection, one that may be somewhat smaller in terms of number of book items, but one that is more suited to the demonstrated needs of our patrons.

The State of the Collection

Memorial Hall Library began an interior renovation project in 2011 to better reflect our vision of the 21st century public library (please see About Memorial Hall Library, Three Year Strategic Plan FY2011-FY2014). Generally, we defined the 21st century library as a vibrant, attractive and busy public space functioning as a civic hub connecting people to a variety of library services. In order to create this community meeting and gathering place, we needed to find space for our library patrons.

In 2011 our library reflected the traditional view of libraries as primarily storage facilities housing physical materials. Floor to ceiling shelving blocked beautiful, large windows in the main reading room and on the Ground Floor, obscuring natural light and lovely views of the downtown. Paperback collections were housed haphazardly all over the Ground Floor, taking up valuable square footage. The entire Ground Floor was dark, gloomy and uninviting, basically a warehouse for books with no room for people.

Besides making room for people to read and study we wanted to create a more "retail" feel to the library for better merchandising and promoting of our collections. Due to space constraints in the main reading room we mostly shelved our brand new materials spine out, hiding attractive cover art and making it difficult for patrons to browse comfortably. On the Ground Floor we had no room at all for new book displays.

It was clear to us that difficult choices needed to be made and priorities reexamined. As a first step we undertook a collection analysis, generating shelf lists and weeding reports of all our collections. Our goal was to weed about a third of the print collection. We began in nonfiction on the Ground Floor, dividing up the Dewey Decimal classifications among the professional staff. We purchased colorful new book carts, and went at it vigorously working together in a spirit of camaraderie, excited that we could improve the collection by weeding out titles seldom used and in poor condition. We also used the data from the reports to determine the library collections that were the most popular, reallocating space accordingly as we progressed through the building.

On the first floor we replaced the high periodical shelving with short, attractive custom made display gondolas, eliminating almost one third of the subscriptions. Fiction was weeded heavily, removing most duplicates and items not circulating well. Print reference, which inhabited four full ranges in the fiction stacks, was weeded and moved to a wall in the Reference reading room. Thus, we were able to incorporate paperbacks, large print and audiobooks into the fiction stacks, and to create room in the main reading room and on the Ground Floor for a variety of tables and chairs, and new display shelving.

The reorganization of the reference room and computer area is now underway. The circulating collections generally, are in their final homes, although we continue to tweak various collections as issues arise and needs change.

The first year after we undertook this project we saw an unprecedented surge in circulation statistics and patron foot traffic. Although circulation has since leveled off, we have not lost the gains we made, and the library has received accolades and increased town funding for other building projects. Our library patrons love the new space, filled with light and bursting with the hum of activity.

Here is a summary of our accomplishments as they affect our various print collections:

Adult Fiction (includes general fiction, mystery, science fiction, short story, paperbacks, book club)

  • Weeded approximately a third of the collection, removing most duplicates
  • Weeded and moved reference books to the wall in the reference reading room
  • Added A-frame display shelving for new fiction in the main reading room
  • Shifted all fiction collections so that genres are in the following order: fiction, mystery, science fiction, short stories
  • Moved the Book Club Collection to the stairway wall near the fiction stacks
  • Moved the paperbacks to a shelving range in fiction stacks

Large Print

  • Moved to a shelving range in the fiction stacks
  • Allocated more space for growth of the collection
  • Created a small display area for new titles
  • Shifted the collection so that mystery titles are separate from general fiction


  • Moved to a shelving range in the fiction stacks
  • Allocated more space for growth of the collection
  • Discarded the MP3 collection due to low usage
  • Shifted the collection so that all nonfiction titles are shelved together and follow fiction
  • Interfiled the science fiction and short story titles with general fiction

Adult Nonfiction

  • Weeded approximately a third of the collection
  • Removed approximately a third of the shelving units and added display shelving
  • Created subject specific displays for A-frame shelving in the following subject areas: Business, Health, Self-help, Cooking, House and Garden, Arts and Crafts, and People.
  • Created a general nonfiction collection for new nonfiction books in the main reading room, covering a variety of subjects such as history, science and social issues
  • Moved the travel guides to a wall in the nonfiction stacks
  • Moved the documentary DVDs to the Ground Floor
  • Interfiled the foreign language audiobooks with the foreign language books
  • Moved the English as a Second Language Collection to a back wall on the ground floor
  • Improved artificial light and increased natural light for improved visibility of the collections

Adult Periodicals / Newspapers

  • Canceled almost one third of the magazine subscriptions
  • Added high demand, popular magazine subscriptions in an array of subjects, and canceled more scholarly, lower circulating subscriptions
  • Replaced the tall magazine shelving unit with shorter gondola display shelving
  • Decreased floor storage space for past issues of popular magazines.
  • Changed magazine policy to permit patrons to borrow the most recent issue
  • Added a Mags-To-Stay collection for in-library users only, buying duplicate copies of our most popular magazines
  • Added duplicate newspaper subscriptions for the Ground Floor
  • Increased natural light for improved visibility of materials

Materials Selection

Materials Selection Policy

I. Philosophy and Goals

The mission of Memorial Hall Library is to be an exceptional and innovative public library for the Andover community. The library provides materials in a wide variety of formats, as well as the space, technology, programs and staffing essential to providing 21st century public library service.

Because library materials and information come in wide variety of formats, the library fulfills its mission by buying materials in both print and non-print form. DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, e-books and streaming media are examples of some additional formats being purchased.

The community which Memorial Hall Library serves focuses on the town of Andover. We also participate actively in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, a group of 36 libraries in neighboring cities and towns covering a wide geographical area with diverse populations.

Memorial Hall Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement, two documents issued by the American Library Association. Included in these statements is the commitment to honor the rights of an individual to use the library regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, or social or political views. Accordingly, the staff of the library provides equal service to all library users.

Patron usage is the most powerful influence on the library's collection. Circulation, patron requests and patron reserves are all closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items. Inherent in our collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each and every library patron of Memorial Hall Library. Thus, we enthusiastically attempt to provide the library materials that they need and request.

II. Selection Process

Library materials are selected by members of the staff after consulting professional review media, as well as various online web sites. Staff members consult with each other to review the needs of the community as documented in circulation statistics and requests. Final responsibility for the purchase of materials resides with the director of the library.

III. Standards of Selection

When selecting nonfiction material, the staff librarians consider the author's popularity, competency, the information presented, and the potential usefulness to the library's collection. First, staff members attempt to meet the patrons' demands, purchasing materials with wide appeal. Second, material is bought that is both pertinent and timely. The Library makes a special effort to obtain material representing all sides of controversial issues. Third, staff members look to see that the author presents his or her material accurately, clearly, and in a readable manner.

The library continuously updates materials in the areas of education, health, government, technology, science, and current events to meet the informational needs of our patrons.

The library attempts to purchase new nonfiction in a variety of popular subject areas, e.g., cooking, house and garden, self-help, business, crafts, and people, which are prominently displayed on display shelving on the Ground Floor of the library. We also maintain a new nonfiction display in the main reading room on the first floor, which encompasses a variety of popular subject matter.

Local history and genealogical materials relating to Andover are particularly sought for the collection. Histories, local newspapers, vital records, town reports, pamphlets about Andover, books by local authors, and books about the Merrimack Valley are collected. Local newspapers are microfilmed for permanent preservation (please see Andover Room Collection Policy).

The library attempts to purchase a wide variety of fiction to satisfy the needs of all of our borrowers. Library staff members choose titles on the basis of reviews that consider, among other things, the popularity of the author, the appeal of a book for a specific audience, the writing skill evident in its rendering, and the literary reputation of the author. Genres collected include general fiction, mysteries, science fiction, short stories and graphic novels. The library maintains a Book Club collection, comprising popular authors and titles in trade paperback format.

The library maintains several "To Go" collections (Books-to-Go, CDs-to-Go, and Quick Flicks). Because these very popular items cannot be renewed or requested and therefore tend to be more available to our library patrons, they serve our community well.

Mass market paperbacks selected for the adult paperback collection serve three main purposes. First, some paperbacks are added to meet the demand for popular, easily portable, inexpensive reading material. Second, duplicate copies of popular hardcover titles are purchased to meet heavy demand. Third, duplicate copies of some titles on school reading lists are purchased to make these titles readily available as they are needed.

Because paperbacks are inexpensive, relative to hardcover books, and because they are easily damaged, their cataloging and processing are kept to a minimum. A balanced paperback collection is not a primary goal, and books are frequently weeded. These considerations result in a paperback collection that is constantly changing and useful mainly for browsing.

Gift books in good condition may be donated to the Friends of the Library. Once accepted, the donated materials will be checked to see if they are in good condition, and if they are needed by the library. The Friends of the Library reserve the right to either sell them at their library book sales or to otherwise dispose of them.

The library welcomes suggestions for the purchase of materials. Suggestions will be subject to the same standards of selection as other considered materials.

Due to the varied demands made upon the library's resources, the number of duplicate copies bought for reserves will by necessity be limited, although we make every attempt to purchase as many duplicate copies as resources allow.

IV. Young Adult Materials

The young adult user of the library has access to the entire collection. Any limitations placed upon the reading materials of the young adult are left to the discretion of parents.

A young adult collection has been developed for the purpose of meeting the recreational reading and informational needs of the middle school and high school age population (grades 6-12). Materials are chosen from reviews in journals or through book lists from established sources. The fiction collection consists primarily of young adult fiction. Some adult titles of special interest to young adults are also included.

V. Children's Materials

Materials selected for the Children's Collection meet similar standards as all other materials selected for the library's collection. Special effort is made to continuously update the collection and to weed worn and outdated materials.

The Children's Room strives to provide children with the library materials necessary to aid both their educational and personal development.

Some items may be included that might not be considered appropriate by all adults for all children. While some books are too mature for one child, other children may be ready for them. Only each child and his or her parents can decide what material is suitable for that child to read.

Elementary and high school libraries serve the curriculum needs of the students. While not duplicating these resources or attempting to follow all the changes in curriculum, Memorial Hall Library does recognize the need to provide a wide variety of cultural and recreational reading matter for students, and to provide some basic curriculum related materials for students seeking to complete their assignments outside school hours.

VI. Objections to Library Materials

Any individual may express his or her objections to particular library materials by completing a Statement of Concern about Library Materials form. After the form is completed the library director will evaluate the original reasons for the purchase of the material and respond to the person making the objection. Any remaining objections will be addressed by the Board of Library Trustees.

VII. Confidentiality of Patron Records

Memorial Hall Library recognizes each patron's right to confidentiality. No information regarding any patron record will be divulged.

Responsibility for Selection

The assistant director has operational responsibility for collection development. The director allocates the materials budget, and insures that the collection is in conformity with the Materials Selection Policy. The entire professional staff is involved with selection. The reference staff reads reviews and recommends book titles for purchase. Individual librarians have responsibility for parts of the collection, as outlined below. Additionally, professional staff members have been assigned responsibility for weeding, replacement and augmentation.

Collection or Format Collection Manager / Collection Selectors
Adult Collections Assistant Director / Professional Staff
Fiction (includes mysteries, science fiction, short stories, book club, paperbacks) Assistant Director / Coordinator of Circulation and Technical Services / Reference Librarians
Nonfiction Assistant Director / Reference Librarians
To Go (includes books, CDs, DVDs) Manager of specific format
Foreign Language Specialization Reference Librarians
Periodicals and Newspapers Reference Librarian / Periodicals Committee
Reference Books Coordinator of Reference Services/Reference Librarians
Andover Room Collection (local history) Reference Librarian
Gift Books Assistant Director / Coordinator of Circulation and Technical Services / Reference Librarians
Audiobooks/ESL Reference Librarian / Assistant Director
Recorded Music (CDs) Reference Librarians
DVDs Coordinator of Circulation and Technical Services
E-Books / eAudio Coordinator of Circulation and Technical Services / Assistant Director / Reference Librarians
Electronic Resources Coordinator of Reference Services / Reference Librarians
Streaming Media Senior Staff
Other Gift Formats Manager of Collection
Young Adult Collection (includes print and other formats) Teen / Reference Librarians
Children's Collection (includes print and other formats) Coordinator of Children's Services / Children's Librarians

Selection Sources


  • Andover Townsman
  • Audiofile
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Booklist
  • Boston Globe
  • Eagle Tribune
  • Horn Book
  • Ingram Advance
  • Ingram Select
  • Kirkus
  • Library Journal
  • New York Review of Books
  • New York Times Book Review
  • Publishers' Weekly
  • School Library Journal
  • Video Librarian
  • VOYA


  • B&T Link
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Bob Tolleni's Forecast of Major Video Titles
  • CD Hotlist
  • The Hub
  • Ingram iPage
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Library Journal
  • Moscowbooks
  • New York Times
  • OverDrive
  • Publishers' Weekly
  • RottenTomatoes
  • Russian Mega Store
  • Teenreads
  • Yalit

Patron Title Requests / Staff Recommendations

All patron requests are considered for purchase, or referred to interlibrary loan. Patron title requests come in on online materials suggestion forms, reserve slips for titles not in the collection, or interlibrary loan requests that the reference or interlibrary loan librarian feels should be considered for local purchase.

The reference librarian in charge of patron book suggestions obtains reviews and refers the suggestions to the assistant director. Requests for other formats are referred to the appropriate selector. Staff recommendations follow the same procedures as patron requests, and must meet the same selection criteria.

Publishers' Catalogs

Since the majority of titles are not professionally reviewed, publishers' catalogs are an important source of information. Crucial to buying decisions is the reputation of the publisher in general, and the series or type of book in particular. New catalogs are received by or routed to the appropriate selector and to reference librarians, who check the database for holdings of desired titles, and make suggestions for ordering. Publishers' catalogs are particularly useful for new editions of standard titles, and to fill subject needs. New fiction is rarely bought from publishers' catalogs, unless the author is a known quantity and demand is certain.

Subject Needs List / Missing Titles

Reference librarians note subjects that cannot be filled from the library's collection, or standard titles that should be in the collection but are not (or are not in sufficient quantity). The assistant director identifies and purchases titles to meet these needs.

Weeding / Mending

Books in poor condition are referred by the mending technician and by shelvers to the selector for possible replacement. Examination of the circulation history of potential weeds due to condition identifies heavily used materials that should be replaced with the same or similar titles.

Reserve Lists / Purchase Alert Reports / Other Reports

All reserves are monitored by the selector to identify frequently requested materials that are not in the collection in adequate numbers. Also, purchase alert reports from the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) are regularly checked to identify heavily reserved titles. Generally, we purchase one reservable copy and one "To-Go" copy for every four holds. Due to limited resources we cannot always purchase enough copies to meet local or consortium demand. Other reports identify possible titles for replacement.

Bookstores / Other Retail Outlets

Selectors may go to retail outlets and bookstores to view and purchase specialized books and the kinds of books that are not generally reviewed.

Vendors / Sales Representatives

Some titles are brought to the attention of selectors during sales visits from publisher's representatives. We do not purchase items from sales representatives for multiple publishers who visit the library because of problems related to invoicing and back order management.

Selection Criteria


Since it is impossible to examine and evaluate each item available for selection, librarians depend on reviews to help in the selection process. The selectors are knowledgeable about review sources and their particular strengths, weaknesses, and biases. At least one favorable review is necessary for selection. If the first review is not definitive, the selector usually waits for more reviews, or bases the selection decision on some of the other selection criteria outlined here.


Adult fiction titles in considerable demand because of author popularity, extensive publicity, local interest, or other factors are almost always purchased, even if the title did not receive good reviews. Adult nonfiction titles in demand are also usually purchased, unless there are serious questions about the accuracy of their information or the qualifications of the author.

Authors / Performers

The author's qualifications and previous publications are important in selecting both fiction and nonfiction. For audiovisual materials, the expertise of the performer (reader, conductor, actor, director, musician, etc.) is paramount.


The format should be appropriate for library use. Ideally, this means that books must have durable bindings, clear print and good paper. Workbooks and books with perforated pages are generally avoided. Book club and some reprint editions are frequently of inferior quality and may be added to the collection if higher quality editions are not available. Audiovisual items should be tough enough to stand up to the heavy demands of library circulation.

Visual Appeal / Examination

Some items are selected because of the quality and attractiveness of the cover art, photographs, artistic renderings and general visual appeal. In particular subject areas, such as, the fine arts, architecture graphic design, landscape design etc., evaluating the actual items in retail outlets may prove useful.


The date of publication is not a factor in recreational reading and in titles of literary merit and wide audience appeal. Many nonfiction genres do not require recent publication dates such as cooking, house and garden, crafts, and spirituality. However, informational publications in fields such as health and law must be timely, and titles even 2 years old may not be selected because they will not remain accurate long enough to justify their cost.


Although series are selected on a title by title basis, if the library has purchased previous titles in a series, and those titles have been popular, the selector will be inclined to buy others in the series. Consortium sharing is depended on to fill gaps in our series holdings.


Purchase decisions are based on the type and quality of the edition. The following are the basic types of editions available:

  • New: printed from new plates, or one in which changes have been made to the original content.
  • Reprint or reissue: a new printing from unchanged plates, sometimes of a quality inferior to the original.
  • Trade: a hardcover edition printed for and supplied to the book trade.
  • Text: published for classroom use (contains questions, annotations, etc.). Generally, the library prefers trade editions to text editions.
  • Trade paperback: better quality paper and binding than mass market editions. Often printed with the same plates as the hardcover edition.
  • Mass market paperback: designed to appeal to a large market, usually lower priced and of poorer quality than trade paperbacks.
  • Book club: Usually of inferior quality than a trade edition, and suitable for personal not library ownership.
  • Limited: a special edition signed by the author, or otherwise designed to attract collectors. Generally, not of interest to the library.
  • Library: a specially bound edition, that is of superior quality and will last longer. Suitable for children's books and classics.
  • Abridged: some part of the book has been deleted -- to lower costs, censor material, or simplify the text for a different audience. The library avoids abridgements, regardless of intention. An exception to this "rule" is audiobooks (please see section on audiobooks).
  • Print on Demand: generally a paperback edition that is printed and bound when someone needs a copy. Can be a specialized book, midlist or backlist title, or self-published "vanity" title. Production quality can be from poor to archival quality.

Audiovisual Issues

In popular music, the recreational interests of library users are a primary consideration. For classical music, the quality of the recording as determined from reviews, and the need to adequately represent certain classical genres are important selection issues. For audiobooks, the expertise of the reader and the sturdiness of the media and packaging is paramount. For feature films, recreation is the primary consideration. For "nonfiction" DVDs, reviews are important to identify quality titles.


Publishers tend to establish expertise in certain fields, and this is taken into consideration in evaluating a title, especially one for which reviews are not available. Selectors try to be familiar with publishers and their specialties, but this is harder and harder to do in an age of mergers and takeovers. Some publishers in each field produce titles of such quality that selection decisions can be made solely on the basis of the publisher. Conversely, some publishers who produce marginal works are avoided, unless a certain item receives excellent reviews. The library generally avoids vanity presses, where the authors pay publication costs and do their own distribution. Self-published and desktop publishers produce works of varying quality and are seldom reviewed by independent reviewers. These items are generally not purchased, unless the subject is local, and the book is examined and found to be of merit.


Price plays a role in selection. Price decisions are generally not made in the abstract, but in relation to the value of the item to the collection. However, to protect the patron, who is required to pay the cost of lost items, circulating items that cost over $75 are generally avoided. This means that expensive DVDs and CDs on popular subjects such as sales and marketing are generally not purchased. With books, price limits mainly the selection of very expensive art and interior design books and some specialized professional texts. Often, the library will purchase a less expensive trade paperback, rather than a very expensive trade hardcover. Purchasing decisions are also affected by the discount the library will receive from our jobbers. Publications that are not heavily discounted (for example, university presses and textbooks) and are also expensive are bought more sparingly than publications that are heavily discounted.


Each title considered for purchase is evaluated in terms of the library's present holdings. For example, if the library has sufficient titles in a certain area, the selector may not choose to add a new title, even though it has received good reviews. Alternately, the library may buy titles that are of somewhat marginal quality if nothing else is available on the subject.

Academic Titles

Many books are published that are too specialized, too narrowly focused, or too academic for our collection. These books may have received excellent reviews, but do not meet the needs of the general audience that frequents a public library. Unless the content of the book is of local interest and generates significant local demand we generally do not purchase and add these titles to our collection.

Local Authors / Andover Writers

Every attempt is made to acquire titles by local authors (Andover and the towns in the Merrimack Valley) that are published by mainstream publishers and fit the selection criteria. Titles by local writers that are self-published are generally not added to the collection unless there is a compelling reason to do so (valuable local content, high local interest).

Local authors often donate their self-published books to the library. If the donated book does not otherwise meet our collection development criteria, we will add the donated title to our collection with the call number Andover Writer. However, we will not purchase such titles, but will only add them if they are donated.

Print on Demand Self Published

Print on demand titles that are self-published, even though available via mainstream distributors, will not be added unless they meet the library's collection criteria.

Gifts (please see Gifts and Donations Policy)

Donations are made to the Friends of Memorial Hall Library. Donated material is accepted with the understanding that the items are donated to the Friends, and may or may not be added to the collection. We strongly discourage the donation of old textbooks, magazines, or items in poor condition. We will receipt donations, but will not place a value on the items. Items not added to the collection remain with the Friends for inclusion in their book sales. Gifts must meet the same standards for inclusion in the collection as items that we select and purchase.


The Coordinator of Circulation and Technical Services or the Assistant Director determines whether the item should be added to the collection. The following items are prime candidates for inclusion:

  • Popular titles, usually fiction, still on reserve or otherwise in demand
  • Newer editions of titles already in the collection
  • Replacements for lost, missing, long overdue, or ragged items
  • Paperbacks in excellent condition, both as first copies and as added copies
  • Out-of-print titles still in demand
  • Nonfiction titles to add to popular subject areas or subject areas that need strengthening


The librarian who manages each of these formats is responsible for evaluating items for inclusion.

Children's and Young Adult Materials

The Coordinator of Children's Services and the young adult librarian respectively evaluate these materials for inclusion.

Gifts from Local Authors and Local Organizations

These titles are evaluated for inclusion in the collection by the assistant director. Gifts from local authors of their own titles which fall outside of our collection development criteria are generally added to the collection with the call number of Andover Writer.

Memorial Gifts

Monetary gifts are frequently made to the library in memory of, or in honor of, an individual. While the subject matter of a memorial gift generally is suggested by the donor, the library staff selects and purchases the book. A memorial plaque is placed in the book.

Standing Orders

Standing orders are placed on certain materials that are seldom reviewed and/or materials that are important enough that receiving them automatically and in a timely manner is better than missing them. Standing orders are usually placed for important annual publications such as test preparation guides, college guides, almanacs, audiobooks, travel series, and some reference titles. Titles on the standing order list are evaluated on an annual basis.

Travel Guides

Our current standing order vendor for travel guides is Baker and Taylor. Currently, we have a selection of travel guides published by Fodor and Frommer on standing order.

Reference Books

We receive some reference titles as standing orders directly from the publishers. 

Replacement Copies

Format Identify Titles for Replacement Replace if:
Books Printouts for long overdue or lost items are checked in database to determine number of copies, number of circulations, publication date

Mending shelf is checked for candidates for discard and repurchase

Reserve lists and ILL requests are checked for replacement candidates

Reference librarians make suggestions for replacement for items that "should be" available but aren't

New or updated edition is available

Book is still in demand and is in print, and we don't have adequate copies of the title, or sufficient subject information in other books

Try hard to replace "classic" titles

Be sure to keep adequate number of titles of items continually in demand

New edition has substantially updated information

Audiobooks Long overdue or lost items

Visual inspection of collection

Patron identified items that are in poor condition

Periodic checks of circulations on high circulating / shabby looking items.

Title is still in demand

Replace single CDs where appropriate

Repurchase entire title, either from same vendor or another vendor if entire set is past its useful life

Most titles are not replaced

DVDs Long overdue or lost items

Staff or patron identified items that are in poor condition

DVD is still in demand and not dated
Music CDs Long overdue or lost items

Damaged items

Title is still in demand

Replace "classic" titles 

Patron Suggestions / Reserve Requests / Interlibrary Loan Requests

Guidelines for when to borrow, when to purchase

Requested Title Borrow or Purchase
Title was published over two years ago and is on the shelf at other MVLC libraries Borrow
Title was published in the last year and is on the shelf at other MVLC libraries Borrow or buy
Title was published in the last year and is generally out at most MVLC libraries Buy one or more copies
Title is brand new with decent reviews, and hasn't circulated yet in most libraries Buy
Title is available at MVLC libraries, fits our selection criteria, but the patron needs it in a hurry Borrow, but also buy
Title is not owned by MVLC libraries, but has good or excellent reviews and fits our selection criteria Buy
Title is not owned by MVLC libraries, has middling reviews, but is the kind of book we buy Borrow from Virtual Catalog if we can, otherwise buy
Title is not owned by MVLC libraries nor other area consortia, got good reviews and is too specialized or academic for our collection Borrow via OCLC
We can't find any reviews or information on the title of the item, and the author is an unknown Borrow if we can
We can't find reviews, is not owned in MVLC, but the author is known, or we have purchased similar books from the same publisher, and they have been of decent quality Buy
Title is well reviewed, but too academic/expensive/specialized for our collection Borrow if we can
Title is of marginal quality, but of local interest Buy

Special Considerations

Curriculum Materials / Textbooks

The library does not collect textbooks or other curriculum related materials produced specifically for schools, except as these materials also serve the needs of the general public. Thus, the library may purchase or add donations of a textbook that covers a broad area of knowledge that is not covered in more general publications. This includes a few high school level and undergraduate level texts, especially in the sciences and technology.

Duplicate Copies / Bestseller Demand / "To Go" Collections

In general, the library purchases one copy for every four unfilled reserves placed on a title. With the exception of extremely popular authors, duplicate copies are generally withdrawn from the collection due to space limitations. We purchase copies of popular titles for a "Books to Go" collection, a browsing collection on which no patron reserves can be placed. We also have browsing collections of DVDs ("Quick Flicks"), CDs ("CDs to Go"), notable books ("Notable Books") and book club titles ("Book Club").


The library maintains a "storage" area, primarily for reference books, microfilm and older copies of magazines.  


Books Mend if: Discard if: Repurchase if:
Books Book is still in demand

Book is in decent shape and is mendable

We do not rebind

Book is no longer in demand

We have adequate copies of title

We have sufficient information in other titles

Book has out of date information

Book is in poor shape-missing, pages, damaged cover, binding

Book is still in demand and is in print, and we don't have adequate copies of the title, or sufficient info in other books

Try hard to replace "classic" titles

Replace with paperbacks if available

Audiobooks CDs are not repairable but can be cleaned and renewed by special machine CDs are old or in poor condition

Too many disks are damaged

Individual disks or entire title is past its useful life
DVDs DVDs are not repairable but can be cleaned and renewed DVD is cracked or otherwise unrepairable Title is still in demand
Music CDs Clean CD in machine if possible CD is not repairable or is cracked Title is still in demand or a classic

General Weeding Policy

Reasons for Weeding

  • To identify and withdraw incorrect or outdated materials. Users are dependent on us to provide up-to-date information. Outdated medical, legal, travel, tax and educational information especially can cause serious problems for our users.
  • To remove from the collection those materials no longer being used. If the collection is full of materials that are not being used, our users cannot find the materials that they do want. Last year we added approximately 18,500 items and withdrew 12,000 items. Optimally, shelves should not be more than 3/4 full, with the top and bottom shelves empty as they are hard to reach.
  • To remove worn or damaged materials. Attractive, clean materials are preferred by users and give the message that the library is a modern, up-to-date source of information. A well maintained collection sends the message that we expect users to treat our materials with respect and return them in the good condition in which they were borrowed. Users appreciate a well maintained collection and are more likely to support it with their tax dollars than they would support a library collection that looks like someone's old attic. Popular worn titles should be withdrawn and replaced with attractive newer editions. Classics will circulate well if they are clean and inviting.
  • To increase circulation. Paradoxically, decreasing the size of the collection often results in increasing circulation. Users find it difficult to find useful materials when the collection is overcrowded with outdated, unattractive, irrelevant materials. Weeding makes the "good stuff" more accessible. Death from overcrowding is a common result of collections that are not properly and regularly weeded.

The Weeding Process

  1. Identify items that are candidates for weeding:
    • Library pages and aides remove shabby, outdated materials for consideration by the professional librarian.
    • Menders set aside poor candidates for mending for consideration by the professional librarian. Replace if appropriate.
    • Library pages and aides use printouts of items not circulated in a certain amount of time (generally one to three years, depending upon subject, genre, collection or format) to remove items for consideration by the professional librarian. Where appropriate, aides and pages will note if there are other copies of the book, or other books on the subject on the shelf.
    • Examine (as per the weeding guidelines outlined in this manual) specific date sensitive areas, e.g., travel guides, science, medicine, law, and technology, and weed those items whose information is not current.
    • Weed subject areas where currency is less urgent, less often, but still on a regular basis, based on computer generated usage statistics and condition.
    • Encourage all professional staff to be on the alert for dated and superfluous materials. Expect staff to make suggestions for weeding and replacement on a continuing basis, for all areas of the collection, both print and nonprint.
  2. Physically prepare items to be withdrawn.
  3. Remove items from the database.
  4. Order replacement titles as necessary.

Collection Formats - Adult Collection

All Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
  Consider selecting library materials in all formats available for adults

Buy bestsellers, works by popular authors and high demand items

Buy multiple copies as budget allows of popular materials and items in demand

Continuously weed using last activity date and number of circulations since date of acquisition

Identify worn items still in demand and mend or discard

Print Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
All Print Collections Generally, buy one copy per four reserves of items in demand

Consider buying multiple copies of classics still in demand

Buy heavily for new book displays

Buy multiple copies for school assignments, if needed

Generally weed materials that have not circulated in one to three years

Weed classics by condition and replace with new, attractive editions

Fiction Buy general fiction, mysteries, science fiction, short stories and graphic novels

Buy hardcover editions for general fiction and consider buying duplicate copies of trade paperback editions for popular titles/authors (if available)

Buy series titles we own if still circulating and do not buy series titles we don't own, unless in high demand

Weed multiple copies when demand ebbs
Large Print Buy multiple copies of bestsellers if budget allows  
Books-to-Go Buy multiple copies of bestsellers

Buy hardcover editions for Books-To-Go, trade paperbacks for Notable Books-To-Go

Weed duplicates once demand ebbs
Paperbacks Buy mass market copies of popular books Weed by condition and generally do not replace or mend
Book Club Buy trade paperbacks of popular books Weed frequently by condition
Notable Books Buy trade paperbacks of prizewinners Weed by condition and space limitations
Nonfiction Buy a broad range of nonfiction subjects, especially in the most popular subjects, i.e. cooking, health, self-help, house and garden, crafts, personal finance and biography

Be careful not to buy well reviewed titles that may be too academic for library patrons

Buy textbooks only in math and science

Use standing order plans for annual publications, such as test preps, travel, and popular tax and legal publications

Weed more frequently books that date quickly
Periodicals and Newspapers Buy a wide variety of subjects and viewpoints for adults of all ages

Consider whether available online in full text

Continuously check for new publications as titles come and go, asking staff for suggestions

Consider multiple copies of popular subscriptions

Buy duplicate copies of the highest circulating titles for our Mags-to-Stay collection

Consider patron requests

Check circulation statistics for last few years for titles up for renewal and renew based on usage

Consider price per potential usage

Ask circulation staff and pages about usage in the library

Audiovisual Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
Audiobooks Buy fiction, mysteries, science fiction, short stories, biographies and general nonfiction

Buy popular authors, bestsellers and high demand titles

Select based on demand, quality of writing, narrative voice and style, appropriateness for audio format, and enhancement of text

Buy unabridged fiction

Buy mostly unabridged versions of nonfiction unless book is overlong or only abridged version is available

Weed by condition and use

Replace individual tapes if feasible

Foreign Language CDs Buy language CDs for beginners and advance speakers

Buy multiple copies of in demand languages

Replace dated language CDs with newer materials
Playaways Use standing order plan for popular authors/bestsellers  
DVDs, Quick Flicks Buy feature films, television series / shows, foreign films, independent films, music/opera, how-to videos and documentaries

Buy feature films at release date

Buy new, well-reviewed and/or popular films

Add classics as budget allows

Buy up-to-date travel DVDs for popular destinations

Buy multiple copies of new titles (Quick Flicks) that can't be requested or renewed

Weed by condition as DVDs have a tough time holding up to library circulation

Keep one copy of Quick Flick title for replacement

Music CDs, CDs-To-Go Buy classical and nonclassical music

Buy in all genres, styles, time periods, composers and performers

Buy duplicates of in-demand items

Buy new, popular titles for CDs-To-Go collection

Weed by condition and use

Replace high demand items

May add CDs-To-Go to our regular collection

CD-ROMs Buy for genealogy and local history Weed by condition
Mixed Media Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
Chinese and Russian Materials Buy books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs

Buy popular, in-demand items

Buy music classics, folk songs and popular artists

Weed by condition and usage

Analyze usage of magazines

English as a Second Language (ESL) Buy materials for new readers and persons speaking English as a second language

Buy language programs in DVD and CD formats

Buy high interest / low vocabulary materials

Weed by condition and usage
Digital Media Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
E-Books / eAudio Buy best sellers and high demand items, same as print media

For fiction buy general fiction, mysteries and science fiction

For nonfiction buy popular subjects, such as biographies and self-help

Use same selection criteria as audiobooks

Buy multiple copies of popular items

Electronic Resources / Streaming Media Considerations include: authoritativeness, timeliness and accuracy, quality and uniqueness of information, target audience, depth of coverage, easy to use interface, price, vendor reputation, customer support, and advantage over comparable print resource  

Collection Formats - Young Adult Collection

All Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
  Buy in most formats for middle school and high school audience (grades 6-12)

Buy popular, in-demand items

Consider buying all works by bestselling authors/artists

Continuously weed

Replace worn items still in demand

Print Collection
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
Fiction Limit collection to popular authors and those books that are highly recommended Weed heavily in the fall
Nonfiction Buy recreational , informational and educational books

Buy heavily in areas for student research, i.e. countries, social issues

Watch for additions to series

Add revised editions when available.

Paperbacks Primarily a browsing collection of contemporary and classic fiction and recreational nonfiction

Buy additional copies for summer reading titles and popular authors

Weed and replace often
Graphic Novels and Manga Select well-reviewed novels that appeal to teens

Watch for new additions to series

Magazines Subscribe to a wide variety of magazines, both general interest and specialized Discard after 1 year
Audiovisual Collection
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
Audiobooks Buy recordings of well-reviewed young adult books

Occasionally purchase classic titles

Music CDs Buy mostly music that's in demand with frequent air play, both popular and alternative Important to check for last activity date
Video Games Buy video games for a variety of current consoles  
Digital Media
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
E-books - Overdrive Select popular titles using same selection criteria as other formats  

Collection Formats - Children's Collection

All Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
  Buy through grade 6

Buy materials to support homeschoolers

Buy popular, in-demand items

Consider buying all works by bestselling authors/artists

Continuously weed all sections for condition and shelving space

Replace worn items still in demand

Add revised editions of popular items, when available

Print Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
Board Books Heavily used by infants and toddlers  
Picture Books Buy broadly

Buy multiple copies for standard and popular titles

Buy multiple copies in paperback for titles in demand

Buy books on a variety of cultures

Beginning Readers: Buy heavily and in multiples

Replace old editions with reissues in color

Continue to build leveled collections as they become available

Buy "hot" titles for kids (characters, such as, Batman, Scooby Doo, Disney, etc.)

Younger Fiction Commonly called "Bridge Books," these beginning chapter books for transitional readers are in demand

Buy multiple copies of popular authors and series

Buy backup paperbacks in quantity

Buy additional titles on summer reading lists and MCBA (MA Children's Book Awards)

General Fiction Retain and replace classics and "modern" classics

Buy genres such as mysteries, fantasy, science fiction and ghost stories

In general, buy one copy with backups of popular titles in paperback

Buy additional titles on summer reading lists and MCBA

Graphic Novels Buy more titles  
Nonfiction all nonfiction Use the Core Curriculum to buy well-reviewed trade titles and multiple copies of high demand topics

Watch for additions to well established series

300s Buy fairy tales and folklore, especially from other countries and cultures Weed Christmas books
400s Build foreign language holdings (both instructional materials and materials in other languages), especially Spanish, French, Russian and Asian languages  
500s Maintain currency of science titles on a variety of levels

Many good science experiment books only available in paperback

Buy books on space, planets, and the solar system to update and support summer reading

Use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) guidelines

Weed astronomy, planets and solar system
600s Buy health material appropriate to various age levels through 6th grade

Buy other applied sciences as available

Use STEM guidelines

Weed space travel and technology
700s Buy heavily for arts, crafts, sports

Buy for wide variety of ages and interests

800s Buy short story and poetry collections as available

Buy plays and skits

Buy multiple copies of popular titles

900s Maintain current information on countries and states

Maintain backup reference material

Buy heavily: early civilizations, American history, medieval and modern history

Buy three copies each of well-used series

Biography Buy heavily for readers in all grades

Buy for various grade levels: explorers, artists, scientists, athletes
African-American biographies are in great demand

Buy paperbacks as well as hardcovers

Useful for less well-known figures

Collective Biography Use Collective Biography Index for possible titles

Buy when good series are available

Paperbacks In general buy for both popular and serious readers

Buy additional copies for Summer Reading titles and some fiction not available in hardcover

Buy titles on sports and athletics

Add donations or purchase duplicate copies of Andover Summer Reading lists and MA Children's Book Award lists

Parent's Shelf Buy primarily books on reading, literacy, preschool, homeschool, teacher resources, child development and materials for children with disabilities Weed continuously
Reference Maintain print ready reference collection  
Magazines Buy wide variety of subjects of interest to children, and some for parents

Watch for new titles that are indexed

Audiovisual Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
DVDs Maintain balance of educational and entertainment titles Weed and replace continuously with new titles
Music CDs / Audiobooks / Playaways / puzzles Maintain as a browsing collection

Important to keep in good working order and add to as appropriate material becomes available

Weed continuously for condition and replace with new titles
Litkits Developed for day care and preschool use

Develop kits on new topics as budget allows

Refurbish as needed
Audiovisual Collections
Collection/Format/Class Acquisition Guidelines Weeding Guidelines
E-Books Select popular children's titles through Overdrive using same selection criteria as other formats Check circulation statistics after 6 months and decide whether or not to continue buying this format
Electronic Resources Continuously evaluate online resources for purchase