Children’s Services Materials Selection Policy

The Haverhill Public Library’s objective in selecting materials for the Children’s Room is to make available a well-balanced collection to meet the recreational, informational and cultural needs of children from infancy through sixth grade, their parents or caregivers, teachers and other adults working with children.

Selection Criteria

  • Materials for children are to be judged by the same standards as materials for any of the library’s collections.
  • Materials are selected on the basis of accuracy of information, literary merit, quality and quantity of contents, taking into account the suitability of the subject matter, appropriateness of the vocabulary to reader’s age and needs within the library’s collection.
  • Both fiction and nonfiction materials will be purchased in languages representative of the cultures within the City of Haverhill and special consideration will be given to the purchasing of materials about the countries and cultures represented in Haverhill.
  • Since the Haverhill Public Library has declared its primary service responses to be Basic Literacy, Current Topics and Titles, Formal Learning Support and General Information special consideration will be given to materials requested by customers or which support the library’s role in these areas. Books, periodicals, cassettes or electronic media with discriminatory attitudes or with religious or political bias are not to be purchased.

Fiction
Fiction is provided for a wide range of interests and reading abilities, including board books, concept books, picture books, readers, stories for children ad books dealing with special issues. Textbooks intended for reading instruction are not purchased. Occasionally, a work of imaginative or historical fiction that accurately portrays a way of life, period, or incident may be purchased despite the use of an occasional unpleasant word or incident, provided that the total impact of the book meets other criteria. Series fiction will be included within the collection as popular demands dictate.

Nonfiction
Nonfiction materials must be up-to-date, accurate and selected in a wide range of interests and reading levels. Textbooks may be purchased only where other materials on a subject are not available. Nonfiction series materials will be evaluated as individual items and must meet selection criteria.

Reference
Reference Collection will be selected and maintained. Materials selected for the Reference Collection will be judged on currency, scope, format and accuracy. Each Dewey area should be covered with as great a depth as the availability of materials allow.

The Parent-Teacher Collection
A multi-language collection of materials will be purchased for parents and caregivers, teachers and adults working with children. This will include books, periodicals, audiotapes, videotapes and electronic media about pregnancy, parenting activities for children and societal issues relating to families. Consideration will be given to provide materials at all reading levels.

Selection Process
The Head of Youth Services is responsible for the selection of children’s materials for the Main Library. The Head of Youth Services will work in conjunction with the staff member responsible for the selection of Adult materials, to avoid purchasing unnecessary duplicate materials and to collaborate on selecting materials that fit into the scheme of the total library collection.

Wherever possible, materials selection will be made after reading at least two reviews from reputable professional journals, such as School Library Journal, Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Children’s Book Review Magazine, Riverbank Review or Emergency Librarian.

Requests from customers and staff will be given careful consideration and selection or rejection will be made on the basis of the selection criteria.

Gifts will be accepted and judged on the same basis as purchased materials. Please view our Gift Policy. Their inclusion in the collection will be based on the literary merit, condition of the materials, space in the collection, appropriateness of vocabulary to age, and duplication. Gifts that meet the criteria will be added to the collection. Gifts that do not meet the criteria will be place in the library book sale.

Duplicate copies of materials are purchased when demand requires, either by popularity or its place in the school curriculum. However, the Haverhill Public Library cannot purchase multiple copies to satisfy all the needs of the school curriculum.

Titles are replaced when materials are lost or in poor condition, only when the title is needed because of quality, demand or content.

Weeding
The Children’s Room participates in systematic weeding and withdrawal from the collection. In an attempt to keep the collection relevant and accurate, materials may be withdrawn because of unnecessary duplication, poor conditiion, biased content, obsolete content or disuse. Materials on science, technology and geography may not be held longer that 5 years unless of historical interest. Annually the collection is evaluated and weeded.

Controversial Materials
The Haverhill Public Library does not exclude titles, other than by budgetary limitations or failure to meet selection criteria. In selecting materials, the Haverhill Public Library upholds the American Library Association’s (ALA) Bill of Rights. Library staff believe that the parent or guardian holds the final responsibility for the materials their children borrow from the library.

The library makes an attempt to judge materials on the whole, not on an isolated part. Any patron who feels that an item is inappropriate may feel free to ask for a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form from a staff member. The item will be reviewed by a staff committee that will take into consideration professional reviews. The committee will submit its recommendation to the Library Director. It is the responsibility of the Library Director to determine the library’s official response.