Collection Development Policy

The goal of the library’s collection development process is to develop and maintain a balanced collection that meets the literary, educational, cultural and informational needs of library patrons and is representative of diverse points of view.


The Paul Pratt Memorial Library Board of Trustees upholds the principles espoused by the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Statement, Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements. Under no circumstances is any material excluded on the basis of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political or religious views. The library will provide, whenever possible, materials that represent diverse viewpoints of controversial issues.


Parents, guardians or caretakers have the primary responsibility to guide and direct the reading and viewing of their own minor children. Library staff cannot be expected to act in loco parentis in permitting or denying access to any library materials to a patron based on age.


Due to space limitations and financial constraints, the collection is selective rather than comprehensive in scope. The Board of Library Trustees delegates responsibility for material selection to professional library staff members, with final authority for selection resting with the Library Director. The selection of materials is based on critical reviews in recognized sources such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and the New York Review of Books. Other factors considered are the reputation and authority of the author and the publisher, purchase price and other budgetary factors, contribution to balance of treatment of a controversial subject, timeliness and accuracy of the information, relationship to the existing collection, space requirements, public demand, and interests and needs of the community. Patron requests are welcomed and are evaluated according to the standards as established by this policy.

Withdrawal of Material

Excepting our local history archives (see Archives Policy), the Paul Pratt Memorial Library is not a library of historical record. To ensure a vital collection of continuing value, library materials are regularly withdrawn for a variety of reasons. Duplicate copies of materials are discarded when there is no longer demand for them. Materials in poor physical condition are removed, and may be replaced if deemed still relevant or necessary to the collection. Outdated materials are replaced with updated editions. Discarded materials are disposed of through library books sales or donated to charitable organizations when possible.

Retrospective Purchases

A priority of the Collection Development Policy is to ensure that the collection contains the best and most enduring literary classics that have been published in the English language. Using the Fiction Catalog and other standard bibliographies, the library will add and/or replace historically significant titles to its collection on an ongoing basis.


The library accepts memorial gifts from individuals, organizations or foundations. The donor may specify general subject areas or may leave the choice of purchase to the library. Commemorative bookplates are affixed to all memorial gift materials.


Gifts accepted by the library are evaluated on the same basis as purchased materials. 

Material Type & Format

Media Formats

Titles are often available simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and electronic formats. Format selection considerations include anticipated shelf life or long-term appeal, anticipated public demand and patron format preferences.

In-Print Versus Out-of-Print

To maintain the currency of the collection, selection of materials concentrates on materials that are still in print. Out-of-print dealers may be used for works that are deemed essential for the library collection.


The library does not purchase books intended for use as general textbooks.

Standing Orders

Standing order subscriptions include reference and informational materials that are published on a regular and ongoing basis.


The library subscribes to newspapers and magazines that meet the criteria set forth in this policy.


The library’s audiovisual collection is intended to serve the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of the community. The library’s movie collection includes feature, classic, literature based, and foreign and independent films. Informational, documentary, travel and how-to productions are also selected.


Cohasset’s local newspaper, The Cohasset Mariner, is microfilmed at library expense for permanent preservation and research.

Electronic Resources

The library subscribes to digital resources, including research databases and readers’ advisory resources, that are accessible through our Web site.

Adopted by the Trustees of the Paul Pratt Memorial Library, September 14, 2005