Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

The Ames Free Library/Easton’s Public Library provides materials and services to help the residents of Easton obtain information to meet their personal, educational, professional, and recreational needs. Emphasis is placed upon supporting students of all ages, particularly stimulating younger children’s interest and appreciation for reading and learning. The Library serves as a learning and educational center for all residents of the community.


Philosophy of Selection

To uphold the principles of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement and further support the Library’s mission, selected materials represent diverse viewpoints, experiences, and interests.


Scope of the Collection

The primary responsibility of the Ames Free Library is to serve the citizens and employees of Easton by providing a broad choice of materials to meet their informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs.

The Library is a member of the SAILS Library Network, a group of over 72 libraries and branches throughout 40 communities in southeastern Massachusetts established to promote resource sharing. Ames Free Library patrons may use their library card at any SAILS network library. In addition, the Library is able to request materials not available in its own collection, from other libraries in the network, or other libraries statewide (through the Commonwealth Catalog) and nationwide. Budget and space limitations, as well as local needs, preclude the Library from duplicating the specialized and comprehensive collections that exist elsewhere in the SAILS system.


Responsibility for Selection

In order to facilitate material selection, the Library Director assigns this responsibility to the Library’s Adult and Youth department heads. These staff members regularly evaluate materials based on the selection criteria outlined below. All Library staff members and patrons are encouraged to submit material suggestions for consideration.


Selection Criteria

The following criteria are considered when evaluating materials for selection. These criteria apply to all purchased or donated materials for all age groups served by the Library.

  • Popular interest

  • Contemporary significance or permanent value

  • Currency of information

  • Local emphasis and/or local authors

  • Treatment of the subject for the age of the intended audience

  • Creative, literary, or technical quality

  • Critical assessments in a variety of journals

  • Format and ease of use

  • Circulation as monitored through the automated system

  • Cost and availability

  • Relationship to existing materials in collection

  • Relationship to materials in other libraries within the SAILS library consortium


Recommendations for Purchase

Patron recommendations further the Ames Free Library’s mission to be “a learning and educational center for all residents” by aiding Library staff in developing a collection that meets the needs and interests of the community. Patrons are advised to use the Library’s Purchase Request Form to submit their recommendations. These materials are subject to the selection criteria listed above and the library does not guarantee a recommended item will be added to the collection.


Limitations and Priorities

The Library recognizes that some patrons may find certain materials controversial or offensive. Material selection is undertaken following the principles of this policy and does not take into account anticipated approval or disapproval of a given item. The Library assumes that ultimate responsibility for the use of children’s materials rests with a child’s parent or legal guardian. Material selection will not be restricted due to the possibility that children may view or come into possession of a given item.


Request for Reconsideration

Residents of Easton wishing to suggest the removal of an item from the Library’s collection may submit a written request of reconsideration to the Library at The request must contain the necessary information to identify the item (title, author, edition, etc.), what brought the item to your attention, if you have read/viewed/listened to the item, your specific concerns about why the item should be excluded from the Library’s collection, citing passages from the item and the relevant sections of the Ames Free Library’s Collection Development Policy that including the item in the collection violates.

The Library Director and Assistant Director, in conjunction with additional staff members as needed, will review the request. The Library Director will respond to the request once the review is complete. The item in question will remain accessible in the collection during the review.


Policies by Format and Special Collections


Fiction and nonfiction audiobooks are available from the Library in both compact disc (CD) and downloadable formats. Selection criteria for these titles is the same as above, with preference given to unabridged editions. To access audiobooks in downloadable formats, patrons may use their own devices or borrow equipment available through the Library of Things.



The selection of fiction and nonfiction books for adults, young adults, and children follows the same criteria as noted above.


DVDs and Blu-ray Discs

The selection of feature films, TV series, and nonfiction DVDs or Blu-ray discs follows the same criteria as noted above. 


Electronic Resources

Access to research databases is made available through the SAILS Library Network and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The Ames Free Library also purchases access to electronic resources not available from SAILS and the MBLC.


Considerations for Electronic Formats:

  • Ease of use

  • Availability of multiple users simultaneously

  • Enhancement of the print equivalent in terms of speed, flexibility, combinations of search terms, and full text

  • Privacy of patron information

  • Access to retrospective information

  • Reduction of space requirements over print products

  • Availability of the information in electronic and other formats

  • Cost



Downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, comics, music, TV series, and movies are available to Ames Free Library cardholders through hoopla. Patrons can sign up for a free account with hoopla to access the collection. It should be noted that the Library is not responsible for material selection within the hoopla collection.

The Library maintains Downloads and Tutorial pages with up to date information, including supported devices, on how to access hoopla materials.


Library of Things Collection

The Ames Free Library strives to make special equipment and modern technology available to Easton residents. The collection is available for use within the Main Library and Queset House, and some materials are available to borrow. The collection includes a variety of items such as laptops, tablets, video games and consoles, knitting equipment, sewing machines, and more.


Local History Collection

Materials relating to the history of Easton, the Ames family, H.H. Richardson, and F.L. Olmstead are available for use within the Library (non-circulating). Materials include, but are not limited to, books, videos, town reports and lists of residents, and Oliver Ames High School yearbooks.


Local Author Collection

The Library welcomes the increased opportunity for self-expression that self-publishing technologies afford. The Library maintains a “local author” collection for recent works by authors with ties to Easton or the surrounding area. Authors wishing to contribute books to this section must meet the following criteria:

  • Contributed books must include the full title, date of publication, summary, place of publication, and number of pages to ensure acceptable cataloging.

  • Books become the property of the Library and cannot be returned.

  • The collection will be maintained as any other collection in the Library and books will be discarded if they don’t meet the Collection Maintenance criteria detailed below.

As with all materials submitted for consideration, the Library reserves the right to decide not to add an item to the collection.


Magazines and Newspapers

The Ames Free Library maintains a collection of magazines and newspapers. Magazine titles are selected to reflect current issues and popular interests. Subscriptions are reviewed annually. In addition to the physical collection, a number of magazines are also available electronically to Ames Free Library patrons via Overdrive/Libby. This collection is maintained by the SAILS consortium. A variety of local daily and weekly newspapers are available at the Library. Select newspaper articles are also available through subscription databases which are accessible via the Library website.



Patrons can access and download music online through the Library's subscription to Hoopla Digital. To do this, patrons may use their own devices or borrow equipment available through the Library of Things. The Library purchases compact discs (CDs) by request only, due to low demand and the increasingly limited availability of music players accepting the compact disc format.



Downloadable ebooks and audiobooks are available to Ames Free Library patrons through Overdrive. Development of the Overdrive catalog is facilitated by the SAILS Library Network. In addition to the titles purchased by SAILS, the Library can purchase additional copies of popular titles, or of requested titles not purchased by SAILS through an Overdrive Advantage subscription. Patrons can suggest ebooks and audiobooks for the Library to purchase by completing the Purchase Request Form.

The Library maintains Downloads and Tutorial pages with up to date information, including supported devices, on how to access Overdrive materials.


Reference Collection

The Library’s reference collection includes telephone books, local, state, national, and world atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and guides necessary for research. These materials are non-circulating.



The Ames Free Library is grateful for gifts from members of the community. The selection criteria noted above also apply to all donated materials. Donated materials are subject to the following limitations:

  • The donated items become property of the Library

  • The Library reserves the right to decide how donated items will be used

  • The Library reserves the right to set conditions of shelving and access to donated items

Monetary donations may also be made to support the Library’s collection development efforts. The Library reserves the right to determine how such donations will be used.


Duplication of Material

The Library will purchase multiple copies of items when the need arises. The need for additional copies may include patron demand via holds and anticipated popularity. Typically the ratio used for popular fiction titles is one copy for every four holds. This ratio serves as a guideline and the purchasing of multiple copies may not be feasible for all titles.


Collection Maintenance

Library staff will regularly evaluate materials to ensure the Library is offering a usable and appealing collection. Items that are outdated, damaged, or that have not circulated in recent years will be removed from the collection.

Items removed from the collection may be given to the Friends of the Ames Free Library book sale room or donated to one of the Library’s charitable partners. Items in poor condition will be recycled.


Revision of Policy

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.


Approved by the Board of Directors, May 2022