Introduction: The General Collections of the Ellsworth Public Library include all collection areas outside of those specified as Special Collections. The General Collections materials consist of various media considered essential or desirable to serve the needs of the library’s community. These items are generally available for circulation and may include, but not be limited to: print, digital, and audiovisual resources of both a fiction and nonfiction nature.
Purpose: The purpose of the General Collections is to serve the information and entertainment needs of Ellsworth Public Library patrons (both on site and remote) with regard to providing accurate information and leisure options in an accessible and organized manner. It will also comply with the Charter of the City of Ellsworth, Article VII: The City Library, and all sections therein.
Subject Areas Collected: Collected areas are regularly reviewed and modified by the Library Director and Board of Trustees. As circumstances change, the collecting areas will be reevaluated and modified as appropriate. Current areas are listed below:
– Adult fiction (Print, digital, and audiovisual materials) – Adult nonfiction (Factual print, digital, and audiovisual research and reference materials)
– Children’s fiction (Including print and digital picture books, easy readers, fiction, and audiovisual materials appropriate for infants through high school age)
– Children’s nonfiction (Including factual print and digital research resources and audiovisual materials appropriate for infants through high school age)
–Periodicals (Print and digital magazines and newspapers) If an item falls outside of these areas, but is considered to be an essential work connected to the local community, it may be considered for inclusion at the discretion of the Library Director and Board of Trustees.
The library makes no attempt to be exhaustive with all of its General Collections, though it is desirous of obtaining a well-rounded selection of useful and relevant materials for the community. Materials are selected based on a variety of factors such as filling in a missing area in the collection, community demand, and others. The following is a list of selection criteria that are considered when assessing both items available for purchase and donated items for addition to the General Collections:
– Community demand: How desirous library patrons are, both in and out of the library, to use a potential resource. This may be determined based on circulation statistics of similar items, requests made for purchase or Inter Library Loan, or noted verbal or written requests and comments made by library patrons to library staff.
– Authority and accuracy: (More important for nonfiction works.) The gravitas and prominence of the author and/or publisher in a given field and their reputation for producing current, reliable, relevant, and accurate information in their field. The library will attempt to acquire items that best meet those areas and are presented in an accessible format for library patrons.
– Literary and artistic merit: The ability of a work to remain relevant through the ages. The library will attempt to collect items of literary and artistic merit, but may also collect ephemeral items as well.
– Condition: An item’s condition has a significant impact on its usefulness and overall value. For this reason, materials in good or fine condition will receive precedence for addition over those in poor condition. However, if a material in poor condition is of such rarity, it may be considered for inclusion at the discretion of the Library Director pending the ability to mend or restore the item and that item’s relevance to the collection at large.
– Rarity: Items of moderate to mass production (low rarity), such as a best-selling work, may be included in the General Collections. Items of unique manufacture (high rarity), should be considered for inclusion under the Special Collections Development Policy. To determine rarity, the library will not only consider how the item was produced or published, but also how widely available it is through an interlibrary loan system. The more challenging it is for the library to obtain a copy to fulfill community demand, the higher the priority should be for the library to add the item to the collection, if feasible.
– Duplicate Copies: The library should attempt to acquire duplicate copies of an item under the following conditions: if there is an excess of five (5) patron requests pending in the Integrated Library System (ILS), at which point, should funds, space, and staff be available, efforts will be made to acquire one (1) additional copy per each increment of five (5) patron requests beyond the original group of five (5). For example, should the ILS display seven (7) requests, the library should own two (2) copies of the item.
o If the Library should receive a duplicate copy as a donation, and space, staff, and funds are available: the item should be checked against the item currently held. If there are more than five (5) requests recorded in the ILS, the donated copy should be added in addition to the existing copy. If there are less than five (5) requests recorded, the donated copy will be checked against the physical condition of the existing copy. If the physical condition of the donated copy is superior to the existing copy, the donated item will be added to the collection and the existing copy will be withdrawn. If the existing copy is in the same or superior condition to the donated copy, the donated copy will not be added to the collection.
– Monetary Value: This is not a factor for inclusion in the General Collections at this time. Value would be assessed according to standards in the antiquarian book world, by other Institutions’ holdings, and is based on factors such as age and condition of the item.
– Local Author Publications: Works produced by local residents will be accepted for the general collections if they are considered appropriate additions and if the person provides the library with a copy of the work. The library attempts to collect monograph works written or illustrated by Maine residents, and may hold a copy in Special Collections if it is of substantial rarity. (See Special Collections Development Policy)
Because it is impossible for the Library’s staff to examine all items being considered for purchase, they utilize reliable selection aids. Staff members depend on the reviews found in standard public library review sources. Other selection aids, such as “Notable Book” lists, National Book Award lists, Pulitzer Prize lists, and published lists of bestsellers may also be used as required.
Scope of Coverage
– Formats: Acceptable formats for acquisition include print and digital items, monographs, maps, and serials, as well as audiovisual materials in an accessible format.
– Language: English will be the predominant language of materials added to the General Collections. However, special consideration will be given to non-English materials where the purpose is to learn another language, image dominates text, or the work is of significant importance to the collection.
– Date of Publication: Materials will be collected across a range of publication dates from early works relevant to the history and development of a topic to works created in the present day.
– Chronological Coverage: (in terms of intellectual content, movements, or schools): Nonfiction materials will be collected which represent the entire span of history of a topic. Efforts will be made to collect contemporary works to keep the collection’s content current and comprehensive. Fiction materials will be collected to complete series, if any, but may not necessarily include every work any author has ever written: prominent works will receive precedence.
– Acquisitions Made Through Purchases: The Ellsworth Public Library may purchase items for inclusion in the General Collections through designated operating budget or donated funds. Purchases must be approved by the Library Director.
– Acquisitions Made Through Gifts: The Ellsworth Public Library may include items in the General Collections that were received as donations or dedicated gifts to the library. Such items may be accompanied by a signed Deed of Gift form dependent on the nature of the gift. The Library also reserves the right to deny gifts or donated items inclusion in the General Collections based on the Selection Criteria above, as well as other considerations such as space available or librarian discretion. It should be noted that separate legal agreements for acquisitions may be entered into between the Library’s Board of Trustees and the donor of the item(s).
In order to maintain quality library collections and to reserve enough free space for the acquisition of new materials, weeding of collections should be done. The library collaborates with the community in determining the usability and relevance of its collections. It is the responsibility of the Library Director to oversee all weeding and inventory activities of the General Collections, which are done on an intermittent basis. Materials that are determined to be irrelevant, outdated, unused, in poor physical condition, or are superseded by newer editions are considered for removal from the collection.
The Ellsworth Public Library attempts to provide open and equal access to materials. While the Library supports the idea that anyone may reject for oneself materials they find distasteful, the Library also affirms the principal that a person may not exercise censorship over another person’s choice in resources. The Library supports the right and the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to supervise material used by dependent children. However, the Library staff may not act in loco parentis with regard to use of library materials by children. The Ellsworth Public Library Board of Trustees endorses the statements of the American Library Association entitled the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View. (See Appendix A) For reconsideration of materials, please see the Reconsideration of Materials
Review and Revisions of the Policy
This statement of policy will be reviewed no less than once every three years and will be revised as times and circumstances require. Approved by the Board of Trustees – April 22, 2013
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 proscribed 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 that 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; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Freedom to Read
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:
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
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.
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.
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