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Collection Development Policy

Montvale Free Public Library 

Collection Development Policy



The Collection Development Policy is designed to support the Library’s Mission statement and serves as a guide for the selection, acquisition, maintenance, and retention of materials by establishing roles, responsibilities, and a process for addressing Library user concerns.



The Montvale Free Public Library serves the residents of the town of Montvale. Decisions regarding collection development are made with an understanding of the dynamic and diverse nature of the community. In order to best meet the needs of a changing population, collection development librarians consider such factors as neighborhood demographics, as well as projected changes for our neighborhood. The Library further serves the residents of our neighboring communities and beyond through the offering of reciprocal borrowing and our substantial collection of electronic resources. Additionally, our interlibrary loan service via BCCLS assures access to the extended resources of public libraries throughout Bergen County and allows access to our collections in turn.



The ultimate responsibility for selecting library materials rests with the Library Director, Adult Program Coordinator and the Youth Services Librarian, who operates within the framework of policies established by the Montvale Public Library Board of Directors. The Director delegates selection responsibilities to staff with the authority to interpret and apply selection policy.


These staff members are responsible for providing continuity in collections through an organized structure for budgeting, selecting, acquiring, and managing library materials.



For a well-rounded collection, librarians select materials based on local and county wide demand, professional and popular media reviews, recommendations from the public and other library staff, and evaluation of review copies from publishers, while also ensuring adequate availability of literary staples. Budget and space limitations require a focus on materials that appeal to a broad range of users, rather than the academic and highly technical works collected by universities and other research institutions.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PURCHASE                                                                                             

The library encourages input from the Montvale community concerning the collection. A suggestion for purchase procedure enables Montvale citizens to request that a particular item be purchased by the library. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection. It is the library's intent that suggestions for purchase be used to help the library in developing collections which serve the interests and needs of the community.

GIFT AND DONATION POLICY                                                                                     

The Montvale Public Library welcomes monetary gifts for the purchase of library materials, as well as gently used books, DVD’s, audiobooks and video games that are in good condition. 

Books, DVDs and audiobooks in good, saleable condition are appreciated, and such donations will be placed in the hands of the Friends of the Montvale Public Library for inclusion in their book sales.  While we are able to provide a receipt indicating the number of items donated, we are unable to determine its value. 

Author donations are welcome, and such gifts will remain on our shelves for circulation while the books remain of interest.  No book donation can be held by the library indefinitely. 

Gifts in Remembrance- If you wish to have us purchase a book in honor or in memory of a person or special occasion, bring your check/ cash to the Library and ask a librarian to assist you.  You may request a subject area for the purchase, and a professional librarian will select material suitable for our collection.  A bookplate will be added to the inside cover of the selection.          


REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION                                                                  

Persons from the Montvale community wishing to recommend the removal of a particular item in the library collection may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, which will be reviewed by the Library Director and the staff in relation to the library's mission statement and the selection criteria of this collection development policy. After reading the material in question, evaluating journal reviews, and reviewing other materials submitted by the patron and the staff, a response will be made by the Library Director within 30 days of receiving the request for reconsideration. The Library Director will attempt to address patrons' concerns.


All materials, whether purchased or donated, are subject to the criteria listed below:

• Current and anticipated needs and interests of the public

• Enduring value

• Treatment of subject for intended audience

• Physical durability

• Creative, literary or technical quality/merit

• Quality of the production

• Cost and availability

• Evaluations in review media

• Professional or literary reputation of the author, publisher or producer

• Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject

• Space and budgetary limits

• Suitability of the format for library use

• Availability in other formats


An item need not meet all of these standards to be included in the Library’s collection. The choice of library materials by users is an individual matter. Responsibility for the reading materials of children and adolescents rests with their parents or guardians.



The Library collects materials in a variety of formats including print, audiovisual, and digital. When choosing a format for a physical item, consideration is given to the condition and durability of the materials used in the item’s construction and how the item will hold up over time. Materials which are delicate or require special handling may not be suitable for our collection.


When selecting audiovisual and digital materials, the most commonly used format is chosen. Formats rendered obsolete due to the prevalence of a new format will not be added to the collection.



Materials published in languages other than English are purchased for the collection in response to local demographics, demonstrated need, and according to popular demand. 



Weeding: Weeding is the systematic removal of resources from a library based on selected criteria. Weeding of material from the circulating collections is a vital part of successful collection maintenance. The same guidelines used for selection of library materials provide the underlying principles for weeding.


Continuous evaluation is necessary to ensure that the Library’s materials are useful and accessible. Items are regularly removed to keep the collection current, accurate, and appealing. Authority of the work and author, quality of the publisher, currency of the material, condition of the item, number of additional copies of the title, relevance to the needs of the community, and format are all considered when removing materials from the collection. 


Preservation: Library materials are expensive to purchase, process, and house. The Montvale Free Public Library acknowledges the necessity of preserving library materials and supports the American Library Association's "Preservation Policy." Damaged items that are found to still have value in our collection will be considered for mending. If mending is untenable due to continued use and wear, every effort will be made to replace those items if in accordance with collection development policies.


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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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


Click here to view/ print a copy of the 

Montvale Free Public Library Request for Reconsideration of Material Form


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