Materials Selection Policy

The Sherburne Memorial Library recognizes, as implied by the First Amendment to the Constitution, that free, equal access to the marketplace of ideas is a prerequisite for a thriving democratic society.  Current and significant materials are available to the entire community.  Only by representing the widest diversity of views and expressions can the library remain neutral.



  • To provide materials and information in a variety of formats that entertain, inform and enlighten all people of the community.
  • To provide materials and information presenting current issues and problems of our times, representing opposing sides of controversial issues so citizens can make informed decisions.
  • To provide a wide spectrum of ideas, cultures and philosophies which expose patrons to the larger world community without prejudice.
  • To provide materials appropriate for all ages and reading levels to achieve full literacy.
  • To provide the community’s youngest members with free equal access to the world of learning through materials to help them understand the world they live in.
  • To provide all patrons with a rich variety of literature to foster a life long love of reading.
  • To ensure the inherent rights of free speech and expression by providing free access to materials that have been proscribed or removed by other libraries and booksellers due to partisan or doctrinal disapproval.


The elected Library Board shall delegate to Library Director the authority and responsibility for selection of all print and non-print materials.  Responsibilities for

actual selection shall rest with appropriate professionally trained personnel who discharge the obligation consistent with the Board’s adopted selection criteria and procedures. 



Materials considered for the collection are judged by weighing faults against virtues for each item, and are selected because of the content and value of each work as a whole.  First consideration is given to the needs implied by the stated objectives and the existing collection.  The overall purpose of the material is the deciding factor when adding any title.  Materials for the library are considered based on:

  • Overall purpose
  • Timeliness or permanence
  • Importance of subject matter
  • Readability and popular appeal such as best sellers
  • Artistic and literary excellence
  • Reputation of the author, publisher, artist
  • Format
  • Price
  • Technical materials are considered based on quality such as sound, clarity of narration, clarity of picture


In selecting materials the professional staff evaluates the existing collection and considers

recommendations for the following sources: Professional selections aids including: Public Library Catalog, Children’s catalog, book reviews and journalsincluding but not limited to: Booklist, Hornbook, Library Journal,  New York Times Book Review, Bibliographies and recommended lists, materials review sessions sponsored by the Department of Libraries and Vermont Library Association. Specific title requests from the community.


Unsolicited gifts will be accepted when offered on an unrestricted basis. The library director will add items that meet the selection criteria for the collection and dispose of unwanted items as deemed best. (See Donation Policy)



The Board of Trustees recognizes that the collection must be active to serve the needs of the community. The Criteria for Selection applies to the systematic removal or replacement of materials.



The public library is the embodiment of the principles of intellectual freedom that is the embodiment of the First Amendment protecting free expression of ideas:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. “


The Sherburne Memorial Library incorporates into its policy the interpretations as stated in the ALA INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM MANUAL on library philosophy as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records. Copies of which are appended to and made an integral part of this policy.


Children have free access to all library materials. The library does not operate in loco parentis. It is the parents and/or guardians responsibility to determine what their children and only their children may read. The library staff may not be used as means for censorship by restricting access in any way.



Occasional objections regarding materials may occur despite the care taken to select materials. The Board of Trustees support the principles of intellectual freedom. The established procedure listed below will follow an individual’s or group’s request for reconsideration of materials. All complainants shall be provided with a copy of the Materials Selection Policy selection policy and referred to the Director.  The Library Director will discuss, without commitment, the policy and procedure with the complainant. If the complainant is not satisfied:

  • The complainant will be invited to file his/her objections in writing on the  “Request for Reconsideration of Materials” (attached). Only written complaints will receive further consideration. This is to assure clarity of the nature of the complaint.
  • The challenged materials will remain on the shelves and in circulation during the reconsideration process.
  • The Library Director will inform the Board of Trustees.
  •  After receiving a formal written complaint, the Director will review the challenged material and make a recommendation to the Library Board within 5 (five) working days.
  • The Board may appoint of an ad hoc committee to review the challenged material within 15 (fifteen) working days. the review committee shall take the following steps after receiving the challenged material:
  • Reads, views or listens to the materials in its entirety.
  • Checks general acceptance of the material by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists.
  • Determines the value of the materials to the library, vis- a-vis the adopted policy and judges it for its strength as a whole and not in part.
  • The written recommendation will be submitted to the library board within 10 (ten) days.

 The Board shall act upon the recommendation at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

  • The complainant shall be notified in writing by the Library Director of the Board of Trustee’s decision.
  • The complainant may request an appeal within 30 (thirty) days of notification that will be heard at an open meeting in accordance with Open Meeting Law.
  • The library board will announce its decision concerning the appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

  Request for Reconsideration of Materials

 Library Bill of Rights

Freedom To Read

Adopted 12/93, Revised 12/94, Revised 2/01  Revised and Readopted  5/05, Readopted 2/06, 3/2013