Book and Material Selection Policy

Policy regarding selection of materials for inclusion in collection


The Manchester Public Library aims to provide a robust collection of materials representing different points of view for the information, enrichment, and entertainment of its patrons.

The primary objective of this Policy is to establish the guidelines by which the Library develops and manages its collections, with the goal to provide accessible materials for people of all ages while making available materials selected to meet the needs and interests of the community.  Including wide-ranging viewpoints creates a valuable and successful collection. The selection of a given item is not an endorsement of a particular viewpoint. 


  • To provide resources and materials that inform, educate, entertain, and enrich our community
  • To include materials of enduring value as well as current topics
  • To select materials based on community needs and interests
  • To advance equity, diversity, and inclusion through our resources
  • To improve a wide range of literacies
  • To supplement resources in the buildings through the use of electronic access and loans from other libraries
  • To preserve and encourage the free expression of ideas essential to an informed citizenry

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

This Public Library is committed to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.  We recognize and embrace the strengths of our differences and celebrate the varied experiences and viewpoints that make up our global and local community. To ensure a collection that is reflective of these ideals, the library will be flexible and conscientious in the selection and evaluation of materials. This work is a continuous process and a crucial part of the overall mission.

Collection Philosophy

Decisions about the Manchester Public Library's collection are made in conjunction with the Library’s mission and vision, as well as the town's strategic plan. The Library acquires materials and services that reflect the diverse information, educational, and recreational needs of its patrons. In doing so, the Library provides access to content through print, multimedia, and digital resources while also recognizing different learning styles and preferences for receiving information. Collection materials are not included or excluded based solely on subject matter or on political, religious, or ideological grounds.

Standards of Selection

All or some of the following criteria are considered when adding new items to the collection:

  • Accuracy, timeliness, accessibility, durability, and ease of use
  • Cultural significance and critical acclaim
  • Contemporary or historical significance of author or subject, as well as materials created by local residents
  • Diversity of viewpoints and experiences
  • Literary merit
  • Price and format
  • Public demand, appeal, and local interest
  • Relevance to the present and potential needs of the community

Gifts of physical library materials, including those from local authors, shall meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials and will have no condition imposed on their use, location, or disposal. 

Roles and Responsibilities

While the selection of library materials is typically the ongoing responsibility of library management, the Manchester Town Charter, Chapter 16, Section 16-1 states "The Library Board shall from time to time confer with the Library Director with respect to .... the selection and acquisition of materials..... The ultimate authority with respect to the acquisition and selection of library materials and the composition of collections shall reside with the Library Board."

Collection Maintenance

To keep the collection fresh and relevant, the library performs ongoing evaluations.

Withdrawal from the collection is based on the following criteria:

  • Items are worn, stained, or damaged beyond repair
  • Items are out of date, contain inaccurate data, or are not historically significant
  • Newly updated or more comprehensive resources are available
  • A more desirable format is available
  • Duplication
  • Low circulation

Items removed from the collection will be disposed of properly in alignment with Disposal of Town Property procedures.

Concerns about Library Materials

The Manchester  Public Library supports an individual’s right to have access to ideas and information representing all points of view. The Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement included at the end of this policy.

A patron’s choice of library materials for personal use shall be an individual matter. The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Materials are selected solely on the principles stated in this policy and not on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval.

Responsibility for the use of materials by children shall rest with parents or legal guardians. Selection of materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that items may come into the possession of children.

Any Manchester resident who objects to the presence of a work may do so by completing the Request for Reconsideration form, available at public service desks at both Library buildings. The Director will review the request, make the decision to retain, move, or remove the material in question, and notify the resident in writing.  If the resident is not satisfied with the Director’s decision, the Library Board shall review the Reconsideration request. While an item is under review, it shall remain in the collection. The resident shall be informed in writing of the Board's decision regarding the challenged item(s).

Items previously Reconsidered for which a decision has been made to retain them in the collection will not be Reconsidered again for 5 years from the date of the last reconsideration process decision.

Adopted January 22, 2024

Manchester Public Library's Request for Reconsideration Form(PDF, 50KB)