Materials Selection Policy



The purpose of the Lebanon Public Libraries Selection Policy is twofold:

To provide guidelines for the staff in their roles as selectors.

To acquaint the general public with the principles of selection which are used to acquire library materials, and also to acquaint them with the scope of the library collection.


To select print and non-print materials within the limitations of space and budget which help the citizens of the community to improve their minds, broaden their lives, and fulfill their educational, intellectual, cultural and recreational needs.

To develop a general overall collection to provide the necessary information for people living in the library service area. The library recognizes its responsibility to provide a representative selection of materials on subjects of interest to its clients, including materials on various sides of controversial questions.

In its selection of books and other materials, the Lebanon Public Libraries subscribe fully to the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights, and endorses its stand that freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is the function and duty of the public library to provide means, whenever possible, through which all persons may have free access to thinking on all sides of all issues.


The responsibility for selection rests with the designated staff of the Lebanon Public Libraries. Other staff members and the general public may also recommend materials for consideration. The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rest with the Director of the library, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.


Contemporary significance or permanent value

Authority of author

Reputation and relation of work to existing collection

Accuracy of work

Price, format, and ease of use

Scarcity of information in subject area

Availability of material elsewhere in the community

Popular demand

Technical quality of audio and video format

Winners of recognized awards

Local authors and illustrators

Enhances a specific collection within the libraries


Participation in the local area library consortium’s rotating video and audio collections will be re-evaluated on an annual basis. The Lebanon Public Libraries will participate in the state-wide Interlibrary Loan lending program for all residents of Lebanon and West Lebanon.


A. Local History

The libraries serve to attain a fair degree of comprehensiveness in printed materials related to Lebanon history. Materials are collected which contribute to a knowledge of Lebanon social, cultural, religious, economic, and political life past and present.

Kinds of materials collected include: books, newspapers, (pamphlets), periodicals, public documents, maps, atlases, diaries, correspondence, business and organization records, photographs, calendars, scrapbooks, family histories, school annuals, cemetery records, and other primary research materials.

Non-media items such as furniture, personal possessions, art objects, household objects, and natural history specimens are not collected.

B. Fiction

The libraries recognize the importance of fiction and the need to satisfy differing tastes, purposes, interests and reading levels. The libraries choose not only distinguished novels but competent writers and successful books in all categories of fiction writing: humor, satire, mystery, adventure, romance, science fiction, and other genres as well as important and cultural fiction.

C. Non-fiction

Non-fiction purchases shall be based upon a representative selection of non-fiction materials with an emphasis on current titles on subjects of interest to the community.

 Religion: Standard works of the world’s religions shall be acquired. In the book collection an attempt is made to represent the doctrine and history of all denominations and faiths. Other religious materials, including devotional materials, will be purchased in roughly the same proportion that the group is represented in the local population.

Medicine: The library provides standard medical dictionaries and reference materials. Current, authoritative materials for the lay person are acquired.

Law: Materials on all aspects of law written for the lay person are acquired. The New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated are maintained.

Computer: Because of the vast number of titles, the specialized nature of the materials, and how quickly these materials become obsolete, purchases will be limited to titles of interest to the general public.


A. Microfilms

Microfilms are acquired to augment the newspaper collection, to save space, to provide specialized materials not otherwise available, and to make most cost effective use of library resources.

B. Audiovisual

Videos, audio cassettes, CDs, and other media The libraries attempt to supplement rather than duplicate the selections available at the local video store. The video collection includes travel, documentaries, instructional and feature film videos. Feature film videos are selected according to the same standards as print materials.

The audio book collection includes fiction, poetry, self-help, instructional and classic radio programs. Unabridged versions of fiction titles are generally preferred. CD collection includes a wide variety of music as well as recorded books. Unabridged versions are generally preferred.

Electronic databases and the Internet: A variety of electronic databases will be subscribed to in accordance with budgetary limitations. Preference will be given to those databases offering full-text articles. Internet access will be provided to the public from both libraries.

C. Pamphlets

Pamphlets that can be used for ready-reference (IRS tax booklets, current local information, etc) will be collected.

D. Periodicals

Periodicals are purchased to provide materials not yet available in books, to provide recreational reading, to aid in library material selection and provide professional reading for the staff.Titles selected are those considered authoritative, indexed in standard periodical indexes, of interest and frequently in demand.

E. Textbooks and curriculum guides

Textbooks will be added to the collection only when they supply information in areas which they may be the best or only source information such as the natural sciences. Curriculum guides are not collected.

F. Large Print

Large print titles will be purchased according to the same guidelines as fiction and non-fiction titles intended for the general collection.Popular fiction and selected non-fiction in large print format is purchased for the main library as well as the branch 

G. Adult Basic Education

Adult basic education materials are not generally purchased because the Grafton County Tutorial program provides such materials. However, hi/lo titles (high interest, low reading level) suitable for the general collection will be considered.

H. Vocational materials

College catalogs are not generally collected as they are available through the Lebanon Schools and via the Internet. The following materials will be collected:

Occupational Outlook Handbook

College and Degree program directories

Non-degree guides

Exam preparation guides: SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, MAT, GMAT, ASVAB, GED

Vocational guides will be collected according to demand and budgetary considerations.

VIII. Children’s Collection

The Children’s areas at both the Main library and the branch aim to instill in children an enjoyment of reading for pleasure and information by selecting materials to meet their particular and potential needs, interests and abilities from infancy through grade 8.

Selections are based upon the following general criteria:

Usefulness and appeal to children

Literary quality

Quality of illustrations and graphics

Appropriateness of format, content, and style

Suitability of subject matter or story for the intended users

Value of materials in relation to the whole collection

A. Audio-visual materials:

AV materials selection emphasizes titles and items not readily available elsewhere in the community and includes entertainment, poetry, children’s music, storytelling and instructional materials. AV materials include but are not limited to videos, books on tape, CDs, and computer software. 

B. Series books:

Series books such as “Babysitters Club” etc are included in the collection. They are extremely popular with children and will interest even reluctant readers.

C. School Curriculum Support:

Curriculum demands are considered insofar as they do not obscure the public library’s general contribution to the community or attempt to substitute for the development and use of the school library resources.

D. Human Physical Development and Sex:

Materials in this area are carefully selected by review and professional recommendation to offer a variety of presentations from which parents and children may choose.


A collection of fiction and non-fiction is separately organized for young adults in grades 7-12. The specific aims of this collection are to recognize the needs and interests of young adults and to provide materials in concert with their intellectual and recreational needs and interests on a recreational level.


Professional materials (books, periodicals, databases, etc) are purchased for staff use and are non-circulating. Materials are selected for staff development and the continuing education of library personnel in all areas of library services, technology, and management.


A. Selection aids

It is not possible to view/read personally the large number of books and audiovisual materials published annually. Reviews found in professional library, general periodicals, and regional newspapers and in standard bibliographies are used to determine the degree to which a particular title meets the selection criteria. Selection aids include some/all of the following:

Library Journal


School Library Journal

New York Times Book Review

Horn Book

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Voice of Youth Advocates

Kirkus Reviews

B. Recommendations

Recommendations for materials to add to the collection are always welcome. Suggestions are evaluated by the criteria listed in Sections IV and V of this document. A request log will be maintained by the library staff, and selectors will make a decision regarding the purchase of materials within one month of the date of the request.

C. Previewing Materials

In general, the library does not accept materials to be previewed prior to purchase from vendors, publishers, or individuals.


A. Library Materials Gifts

The library is pleased to accept gifts of materials which contribute to its mission. The following conditions are attached to all gifts:

All gifts will be evaluated by the criteria listed in Section IV and V. The library reserves the right to refuse to accept and/or dispose of in any way it chooses items which do not meet these criteria.

The library will determine classification, housing, and circulation policies for all gift materials. Materials to which special housing or other restrictions are attached will not be accepted.

The library retains the right to dispose of gift materials in the same manner and by the same criteria as it disposes of no longer needed purchased materials.

Effective after the February 24, 2009 revision of this document, the library does not accept monetary gifts that are designated for specific titles chosen by the donor. The library will not accept any of the following items:

Cassettes of any kind – VCR tapes, music or audiobook cassettes

Discards from other libraries

Reader’s Digest abridged editions


Old magazines (donations must be from past three months)

Musty or damaged books

Any other items the librarian on duty deems to be unacceptable

B. Non-Library Materials Gifts

The Library does not accept items of a non-library nature such as furniture, clothing, artifacts, personal hobby collections, tools or household items. Gifts of equipment or furniture, which the library may need, may be accepted only if it can be determined that a conflict of interest is not produced by the acceptance. The Library Board of Trustees must approve all gifts.


The collection is systematically weeded to eliminate unnecessary items such as outdated or superseded materials, items no longer of interest or demand, duplicates and worn or damaged materials. Items of marginal value may also be weeded due to space considerations.

Criteria used to remove materials from the collection are the same as those used to select materials, i.e. items which no longer meet the selection criteria are removed.


Due to space limitations, all periodicals with the exception of Consumer Reports and regional periodicals of local history interest will be discarded after 2 years at the longest.

Basic restoration of historical materials will be performed when necessary.


Adopted by Board of Trustees: August 22, 2000

Revised: February 24, 2009; December 22, 2009