Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

Collection Mission Statement

The Charlotte and William Bloomberg Medford Public Library develops and maintains collections in a variety of formats for all ages to fill the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community.

Collection Access

Medford Public Library provides free access to information and resources through physical collections, digital collections, and interlibrary loan. The Medford Library does not restrict use or borrowing of any materials according to age. The borrowing and online privileges of patrons whose library cards have fines, fees, or outstanding materials over certain amounts will be restricted until materials are returned or fines are paid.  Access to some digital resources is limited to Medford residents only.  Use of materials within the library is unrestricted although patrons with charges on their cards may not be able to access public computers.

Collection Scope

Recognizing that library users use a variety of formats, the Library provides access to content through print, media, and technology.  As of 2020, the primary collection formats are as follows:

  • Print: Hardcover, trade and mass market paperback, large print, magazines and newspapers
  • Non-print: DVDs, Audiobooks, Music CDs
  • Digital:  eBook/audiobook platforms, streaming services, educational, informational, and recreational databases and services
  • Microfilm: some local history sources are available on microfilm

Due to budgetary and space limitations, the Library does not purchase items in all available formats.  When several similar formats exist, such as DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, or audiobooks on CD, MP-3, and Playaway, the Medford Library will choose the most popular format.  Interlibrary loan is available for those patrons who prefer formats that Medford does not carry.  When new formats are introduced, the Library will create a collection if there is sufficient demand and funding.

Criteria for Selection

The main points considered in the selection of materials are:

  • popular appeal and public demand
  • subject or genre
  • quality of reviews
  • local interest
  • existing library and network holdings
  • accuracy, timeliness, format durability and ease of use
  • cultural significance and critical acclaim
  • current or historical significance of author or subject
  • diversity of viewpoint
  • price and availability

Collection Procedure

All materials are selected by professional staff using a variety of selection tools.  Reviews are a major source of information about new materials. During selection, the library staff use such library and publishing industry publications as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates, Booklist, and the New York Times Review of Books.  Librarians also consult publishers’ catalogs, genre selection lists, bestseller lists, lists of upcoming releases, and independent book review websites.

Standing orders may be maintained for popular fiction authors, popular series, and for titles, such as travel guides, that are published annually or at regular intervals. 

Collection Evaluation and Deselection

Library collections need regular evaluation and weeding to ensure currency and accuracy of information, to provide space for new materials, and to encourage use.  The MPL routinely evaluates and weeds areas of the collection using circulation statistics, condition reports, and other industry standards.  The withdrawal of an item from the collection is never an arbitrary decision.  Withdrawal is based on statistical information and condition.  As a general guideline, items are identified for withdrawal when:

  • Items are worn, stained or damaged beyond repair
  • Items are out of date or contain inaccurate information
  • The item has been replaced by a newer edition
  • The Library owns duplicate copies
  • Items demonstrate low circulation over an extended period of time

When items are withdrawn for reason of condition, loss, or damage they will be considered for replacement if they are still current and in demand.  Items removed from the collection are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.

Purchase Requests and Donations

Requests to Purchase

If a patron requests that the library purchase a particular item not available in the collection, library staff will consult the selection criteria listed above. Not all requested items will be purchased.


The MPL accepts donations of print and AV materials.  Items not added to the Library collections may be passed to the Friends of the Library book sale.  Donated items may be discarded or passed on to other organizations.  Once items are donated to the Library they become the property of the Library and will handled according to library policy.  The MPL cannot guarantee that donated items will be added to the collection.

  • Local Authors: Exceptions to the above donation policy will be made for local authors.  The Library will accept donation of self-published or professionally published items by authors who are Medford residents. These items will be added to the permanent Medford Author collection. If preferred by the author, works will be included in the circulating collections if they meet the selection criteria.  We encourage local authors to donate to the permanent collection as circulating copies are not maintained indefinitely.

Controversial Materials and Request for Reconsideration

The Medford Public Library does not exclude titles, other than by budgetary constraints or failure to meet selection criteria. The Medford Public Library upholds the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. Library staff believes that the parent or guardian holds the final responsibility for the material that their children borrow from the library and adults can self-select which materials suit their needs.

The Medford Public Library judges materials as a whole, not as isolated excerpt(s). Any patron who feels that an item is inappropriate may 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.