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Collection Development Policy


           The mission of The Montvale Free Public Library is to provide modern library resources and services necessary to meet the evolving educational, recreational and informational needs of the public, thus enhancing individual and community life.



      To provide a collection in various media that reflects the Library’s Mission Statement

      To provide said collection in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible that are in compliance with State and municipal laws and approved local government accounting practices

      To maintain this collection through an organized and continual evaluation of the individual components and through subsequent additions to and deletions from the collection

      To provide a collection that examines different viewpoints on a broad range of subjects

      To impose no restrictions on access to all materials in the collection



           The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for the creation and maintenance of a collection of resources that reflects the Montvale Free Public Library’s Mission Statement and collection development goals.  The term “resources” should include not only print/non-print materials available in/by the Montvale Free Public Library but also those materials in other libraries or locations to which the Library may achieve access through reciprocal borrowing, inter-library loan, or other resource-sharing process.



          The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials is delegated to the Library Director by the Board of Trustees and, under his/her direction, to designated staff who are qualified for this activity by reason of education, training and experience.  Suggestions from other staff members and from Montvale residents are encouraged and seriously considered in the selection processes.



           The allocation of funding for collection development is determined by the adoption of the annual budget by the Library Board.  The Library Director prepares a suggested budged based on a projection of available funds.



           Expanding areas of knowledge, changing social values, technological advances, and cultural differences require flexibility, open-mindedness and responsiveness in the selection, evaluation and re-evaluation of all library resources.  Selection of the appropriate format of materials is often as important as the basic decision to acquire or not to acquire.

          A vital library in a functioning democracy has collections that contain a variety of views on controversial topics.  The Library does not promote any views or beliefs nor does it guarantee the accuracy of the material contained within an item; rather it is a repository for opinions as well as fact.

          No item will be excluded from the Library’s collection solely because of potential controversy concerning its contents, nor will the selection process be inhibited by the fact that a child may have access to resources considered inappropriate by his/her parent(s) or guardian(s).



           Within limitations imposed by the available space and approved budget, materials may be acquired or not, based on any of the following criteria:

     Relevance to community needs

     Potential or known demand for the material

     Relative importance in comparison with existing materials in the collection on the same subject

     Quality of writing, design, illustrations, or production

     Timeliness and/or permanence of material

     Suitability of subject, style, format and reading or interest level to the intended audience

     Reputation of the publisher or producer; expertise or significance of the author, composer, film-maker, etc.

     Reviews—primary sources to include, but not be limited to, Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, The New York Times, The Record, American Record Guide

     Availability and accessibility of the same or similar material through inter-library loan or reciprocal borrowing

     Availability and accessibility of the same or similar material at the school media centers.  The Library’s collection should complement collections at the school media centers rather than provide complete curriculum support.

These criteria also apply to donated materials.



           Gifts of books or other materials are accepted with the understanding that they may be used or disposed of at the Library’s discretion.

          The Library does not provide evaluations of gifts for tax deductions or other purposes.  The Library will provide a receipt stating the quantity and type of items donated, should the donor request it.



           To meet the high demand for popular titles in a timely manner, it may be necessary to purchase multiple copies of a work.  Typically, the number of copies purchased is based upon a ration of copies available to the number of people waiting on reserve.  The ratio is determined by the Director or designated staff and may be revised at any time.



          The Internet allows users to connect to vast networks of information, resources, commentary, and ideas outside the Library.  Providing unrestricted access to the Internet is in keeping with the Library’s Mission Statement.

           Unlike a book—in which the contents remain unchanged until the publisher produces a revised edition, and for which a review of the work remains valid until the new edition—the Internet is an unregulated, global medium that is always changing.  Like a book, however, it is legally entitled to the same free-speech protection.

             The Library has no control over the accuracy and reliability of Internet resources nor can the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet.  Generally accepted Library practices are followed in choosing sources to which links are provided from the Library’s website.  Beyond this, the Library neither monitors nor controls information accessible through the Internet and does not accept responsibility for its content.  Although the Library strives to keep all of its links up-to-date, the Library is not responsible for changes in the content of the sources to which links have been provided nor for the content of sources accessed through secondary links.



           The Montvale Free Public Library incorporates as part of this policy the “Library Bill of Rights,” the “Freedom to Read Statement,” and the “Freedom to View Statement” as adopted by the American Library Association.

           It is neither the responsibility nor the policy of this Library to monitor a child’s selection or use of materials.  Parents/guardians have the right and responsibility to restrict their children’s—and only their children’s—access to materials.



          Outdated, seldom-used, damaged, or shabby items remaining in the collection can weaken a library as surely as insufficient or inappropriate acquisitions.  Responsibility for collection maintenance and for the disposition of withdrawn materials rests with the Library Director and designated staff.  They are also responsible for the development of a collection maintenance schedule and of specific withdrawal guidelines.

           A.  Withdrawal of library materials

                             Any work may be withdrawn from the collection because it no longer meets selection criteria.  Other considerations include available shelving space and the physical condition of the work.  Withdrawn items may be sold, offered to other libraries, discarded, or disposed of according to local practice.

         B.  Replacement

                             It is not the Library’s policy to replace automatically any item that has been withdrawn or lost.  General selection criteria must be considered before any material is replaced.

          C.  Preservation

                             Badly worn materials which still meet selection criteria may be preserved through current technology.  Library staff members are encouraged to consult outside professionals whenever the decision to preserve may require knowledge or information beyond the staff’s level of expertise.  Badly worn materials that are of significant value to the collection and/or to Montvale residents may be preserved.



           The Montvale Free Public Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some borough residents.  Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no item will be sequestered except for the express purpose of protecting it from damage or theft.

           Any library user requesting that material be removed from the collection (or moved to a different area of the collection) must be a Montvale resident, must complete the “Request for Reconsideration,” and must submit the form to the Library Director.  The Director shall make a recommendation to the Board for action.  The Board will consider the issue and will render a final decision.

           The resident must be assured that the matter will be given serious attention and that a written response will be forthcoming in a reasonable time.



           This collection development policy should be available to the public and should be re-evaluated by the Library Director and the Board of Trustees every five years.

           Approved:  7/26/2007

  Revised:  4/25/2013
   Reviewed and revised:  9/28/2017  

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.


I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.


II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be prescribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.


III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.


IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.


V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.


VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; amended June 27, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.


The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.


Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.

  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.

  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.

  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council



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