Collection Development Policy


The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library was established in 1880 as the public library for the town of West Brookfield, Massachusetts, thanks to a donation from Charles Merriam. The Library was eventually renamed the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library in 1960, when the Library received a bequest from West Brookfield native Elizabeth Gilbert.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library is to empower and enrich the lives of its users by providing free and equal access to information, promoting lifelong learning, and inspiring people to come together for educational, cultural, and community activities.

Collection Statement

The Library staff selects a variety of library materials that will meet the needs of the community of West Brookfield. In addition to these materials the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library also regularly hosts programming that is intended to be interesting and helpful to the community.


The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library is overseen by a 6-member Board of Library Trustees. The Board has delegated the responsibility of implementing Collection Development policies to the Library Director. The Library Director may delegate to specific staff members the responsibility for selection and removal of materials in certain specific areas. These recommendations are subject to review by the Director.

Collection Development

The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library strives to provide a wide variety of materials that are in keeping with its mission and goals, and that meet the diverse needs of the community of West Brookfield. To that end, the Library staff utilizes a number of tools to aid in the selection of these materials. When selecting materials, the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library consults reviews published in sources including but not limited to Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and popular reading lists such as The New York Times Bestseller List. The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library also takes into consideration suggestions from its patrons.

The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library is a member of the Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing network (C/W MARS), a network of over one hundred public, academic, and special libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts.

Gift policy

The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library accepts gifts and donations from the community. These gifts and donations become the property of the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library and undergo the same selection criteria that other items in the collection do. In cases in which the donor wishes to receive an acknowledgement of the donated materials, s/he will be asked to fill out a Donated Items Receipt Form (available at the front desk). The donor will then receive a receipt from the Library.

The Library is unable to provide values for items donated, but donors are encouraged to consult a tax advisor and/or the IRS publication 526.

Intellectual Freedom

The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library advocates for the rights of its patrons to express their intellectual freedom, and is supported by the American Library Association in statements such as the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, the Freedom to View, and Free Access to Libraries for Minors.

Limitations placed on the borrowing practices of minors are at the sole discretion of their parents or guardians.

Users who wish to comment on a resource may fill out a Request for Reconsideration Form, available as an appendix to this document, and turn it in to the Library Director. The receipt of the form will be acknowledged via email within 10 business days. The request will be brought before the Board at their next regular meeting. The individual who submitted the request will be notified by mail within 10 business days of the Board’s decision regarding the resource in question.

Approved: 10/15/2015