The Board of the Stowe Free Library recognizes the diverse nature of the greater Stowe community and the varied backgrounds and needs of its citizens. Books and other library materials, exhibits, and programs of the Stowe Free Library shall be selected based on the interests and needs of the people in the community.
The Stowe Free Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement. (See Appendices.) 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 Stowe Free Library provides equal service to all users. All registered patrons are equally free to use and borrow from the entire library collection.
1. The authority for the choice, cataloging, and placement of materials rests with the Director, and, in the case of children's materials, with the Children's Librarian.
2. The Director and the Children's Librarian exercise professional judgment and expertise, based on an understanding of community needs and knowledge of authors and publishers, in the process of selecting materials, and are aided by authoritative professional reviews, standard lists of basic works, recommendations of professional journals, and bibliographic essays prepared by subject specialists.
3. Recommendations from the public are welcome and will be given careful consideration in terms of overall objectives and the existing book collection.
4. The Director and the Children's Librarian will review the collection regularly to assess its continued relevance to the audience and the public it serves, judging its strengths and weaknesses, adding to it or subtracting from it according to general principles given under "Criteria."
Criteria for Selection of Library Materials
Library Materials include books, audio-visual materials, and periodicals. Materials are chosen for the collection on the basis of:
- Accuracy of information
- Current usefulness or permanent value
- Importance as record of the times
- Patron demand
- Relation to the existing collection and usefulness in presenting a diversity of information on issues
- Relative importance in comparison with other works on the subject
- Sufficient standards of quality in content, format, and binding
Materials, both fiction and non-fiction in all formats, should be favorably reviewed in several established professional journals. Careful consideration should be made when adding books and other library materials that do not have a lasting collection value and are readily available through Inter-Library Loan.
Children's materials will account for at least one quarter of the annual collection development budget. Children's material will be selected under the same criteria as the adult collection.
Vermont and Stowe Local History Materials
The library acknowledges its responsibility to preserve local material of historical, genealogical, or literary nature. Books by local authors and other materials of local interest will be given special consideration. Permission from the director is required for use of the books in the locked glass cases in the periodical room. These items may not be circulated or loaned. The library will keep one print copy of all issues of the Stowe Reporter and the Stowe Guide. The library will keep in its collection copies of the annual reports for the Town of Stowe.
The library may receive materials or funds as gift donations. Gifts are subject to the same selection criteria as purchased materials.
The library accepts these gifts on the condition that their use is at the complete discretion of the Director. Stipulations as to the type, condition, or timing of materials accepted may be made by the Director and the Board of Trustees, and any conditional gifts, such as the acceptance of a gift of a large specialized collection, must be approved by the Board of Trustees and accompanied by a Collection Development policy for that collection.
All donations become the property of the Stowe Free Library, to be used at its discretion.
Weeding of Library Material
The deliberate, measured, regular evaluation of library materials in relation to the collection, as a whole and the community at large is part of the library's normal procedure.
The same criteria used in selecting materials apply to the systematic removal or replacement of outdated, inaccurate, no longer useful, seldom used, or worn items. Each withdrawal or replacement is judged by standard library tools to determine its retention value as a "classic," as part of the overall collection, or its current usefulness.
The authority for the final withdrawal of materials rests with the Library Director and the Children's Librarian.
Materials no longer useful to the library may be given to other libraries, sold for the benefit of the library, or discarded.
Freedom and rights
The Stowe Free Library adheres to the tenets as set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association. (See attached appendices.)
All patrons have free and open access to all library materials. It is deemed the responsibility of parents to determine what their children, and only their children, may read, view, listen to, or access electronically. Materials should not be removed from the collection because of concerns of groups or individuals expressing disapproval.
The Stowe Free Library maintains the confidentiality of its circulation records.
Challenges of Library Materials
In the event of a challenge, the procedure will be:
- The Director will discuss the challenge and the selection procedure with the complainant.
- If the complainant wishes further consideration of her or her objection to the library material under reconsideration, he or she will be requested to fill out a form titled "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" and submit it to the Director.
- The Director will inform the staff members and the Board of Trustees of the complaint.
- The challenged material will remain on the shelf during the reconsideration process.
- Upon receipt of the completed form, the Director presents it to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees so that the request may be incorporated into the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The complainant will be notified of this meeting.
- Prior to the next Board meeting, the Director and the members of the Board who have read, viewed, or listened to the material in its entirety, checked general acceptance of the material by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists, will determine the value of the material to the collection.
- The Director and the Board of Trustees present a written recommendation to the complainant. The recommendation will be based on their knowledge of the material as well as their understanding of the library's selection policy and Library Bill of Rights.
Reviewed and approved by the Stowe Free Library Board of Trustees in January 2009. Revised March 2015.
Some books are so familiar that reading them is like being home again.Louisa May Alcott