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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Collection Development Policies

Mass General Laws on Collection Development Policies

Mass General Law Chapter 78 Section 33 

Section 33: Policy for selection and use of library materials and facilities

Section 33. The board of trustees of a free public library in any city or town, or in the absence of such board, the city or town official possessing the appointive powers of such board, shall establish a written policy for the selection of library materials and the use of materials and facilities in accordance with standards adopted by the American Library Association. No employee shall be dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with the approved policy adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section.


Standards adopted by the American Library Association

What are the standards adopted by the American Library Association referenced in MGL Chapter 78 Section 33? 

  • The Library Bill of Rights and Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights
    Adopted by ALA Council, the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries

  • Freedom to Read Statement 
    A collaborative statement by literary, publishing, and censorship organizations declaring the importance of our constitutionally protected right to access information and affirming the need for our professions to oppose censorship.

  • Guidelines for Library Policies

    The American Library Association has adopted the Library Bill of Rights and interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights to provide library governing authorities, library workers, and library users with guidelines on how constitutional principles apply to U.S. libraries.


Access to Collection Development Policies

MBLC recommends posting collection development policies and reconsideration policies and forms on library websites.

A collection development policy is a core operational document that supports the library's mission in providing access to materials. In a time of heightened public institution mistrust, providing clear access to the documents creates transparency. Similarly, MBLC recommends making reconsideration forms available on the library website for accessibility. Library users may not be able to visit the library to request the form. Some libraries have created online forms that can be submitted online.