Purpose of the Collection within the Context of Library Mission

The Teen Services Department acts to fulfill the library mission by selecting, acquiring,
organizing, preserving, and maintaining access to a collection of materials (print and nonprint) that address the interests and needs of the teen members of the community.

This formal policy serves to:

  • Guide Teen Services staff in the selection, management, and preservation of library
    materials for teens.
  • Present an official statement of the Library’s commitment to a collection that attempts
    to meet the needs of its teen clientele.
  • Inform the public about the principles upon which selections for the Teen Services
    Department are made.

General Principles of Collection Development

The Haverhill Public Library selects materials for the library collection on the merits of a particular work in relationship to the needs, interests, and demands of the community, and follows the principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. The Haverhill Public Library Board of Trustees endorses the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights.

Intellectual Freedom
The Library considers the value of each item in its entirety and within the context of the collection, not on specific passages. Materials are not marked or labeled to show judgments as to suitability of content. Selections will be made on the basis of whether the material presents life in its true proportions, whether characters and situations are realistically portrayed, and whether the material has literary merit.

The Library makes its collections available to all. The responsibility for the reading of teens and children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection should not be inhibited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into the possession of children.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Collection development decisions regarding the Teen Services collections are made by the Teen Services Librarian under the guidance of the Head of Youth Services, the Assistant Director, and the Library Director. The Teen Services Librarian will work in conjunction with the Head of Youth Services and the selectors for the adult collections to avoid any unnecessary duplication. The Teen Services Librarian also provides selection guidance to the selectors of DVDs and music CDs so that the needs and interests of the teen community are met in these materials formats.

Audience and Collection Overview

The Teen Services Department is intended to serve Haverhill youths from sixth through twelfth grades as well as their parents/caregivers and teachers. The community has a diverse background in terms of race, faith, sexual orientation, and ethnicity which shall be reflected within the Teen Services collection.

The Teen Services collection includes fiction (in hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback formats), graphic novels (including traditional graphic novels in paperback or hardcover and manga), magazines, audio materials (available in a variety of medias to stay current with technological trends), video games, and non-fiction materials.

Collection Management

Selection Sources
Sources for selection decisions include user requests or recommendations, publisher or vendor catalogs, advertisements, and published reviews in journals such as VOYA, Kliatt, School Library Journal, Booklist, and Advance.

Selection Criteria
The Teen Services Librarian uses their knowledge and expertise in combination with the Haverhill Public Library’s Material Selection Policy and the standards listed below to select and evaluate collection items. Gifts and purchases are selected using the same criteria. Patron requests are considered a priority and are given careful consideration; selection or rejection will be made on the basis of the selection criteria. An item need not meet all criteria to be selected.

General Criteria

  • Price, suitability of format for library use, ease of use
  • Accuracy
  • The extent to which the item supplements, expands on, or supports the existing collection, rather than duplicates it
  • Relevance to observed and anticipated community needs and desires
  • Reputation and qualifications of the author, creator, or publisher of the work
  • Local significance of the author or creator of the work
  • Popular demand
  • Contemporary significance or permanent value

The fiction collection is comprised of titles meeting the recreational and educational needs of students in sixth through twelfth grades. Books are selected to meet the varying reading interests and reading abilities of the diverse community. Series and genre fiction are included as well as novels about the problems of contemporary teens that cover a wide range of subjects, themes, and life situations. Selection of fiction is made with reference to one or more of these criteria:

  • It should provide pleasant reading for recreational and creative use of leisure time.
  • It should contribute positively to the individual’s awareness of self, community, and social heritage.
  • It should contribute to the value of the library’s collection as a whole by representing all types and styles of literature.

Duplicate copies are purchased when demand requires, either by popularity or its place in the school curriculum. Popular titles or authors may also be purchased in paperback when available. Award-winning titles published for sixth through twelfth graders are added to the collection whenever possible.
A work of fiction may be purchased despite the use of an occasional unpleasant word or incident, provided that the total impact of the book meets other selection criteria.

Chief points considered in the selection of non-fiction titles include readability, authenticity, existing library holdings, and community interest. Non-fiction titles should provide a balance between popular, high interest titles and those that supplement the curriculum of the Haverhill Public Schools.

Graphic Novels and Comics
Manga, graphic novels, and comics are selected based upon the age appropriateness of the text and illustrations. The collection will include titles for older teens; however, no rated M or mature titles will be selected. The collection may also include non-fiction and classics in graphic format. Selections are based upon professional reviews, customer requests, and the popularity of styles, authors, characters, and series.

Audio Materials
Audio materials that meet the selection criteria for fiction and non-fiction materials are purchased in a variety of formats to meet the listening needs of the teen community. Preference is given to popular titles and titles that appear on the summer reading lists of Haverhill Schools.

Basic popular and general informational magazines of interest to teens are selected to supplement the book collection and meet the recreational reading needs of teens.

Video Games
Video games are selected based upon popularity, rating, and format to meet the recreational needs of teens. No game will be purchased with a rating higher than T (Teen 13+).

Gifts will be accepted and judged on the same basis as purchased materials. The inclusion in the collection will be based upon the condition of the material, literary merit, duplication, and available space. Gifts not added to the collection will be placed in the library’s book sale or disposed of as the library sees fit.


The Teen Services Collection undergoes systematic weeding and withdrawal in an attempt to keep the collection relevant and accurate. Materials may be withdrawn because of unnecessary duplication, poor condition, biased content, obsolete content, or disuse. Evaluation techniques are used to measure collection usefulness in terms of scope and depth, as well as strengths and weaknesses. Materials are evaluated for deletion based upon:

  • Age and condition of item
  • Comparison of the collection with accepted core collection lists
  • Circulation
  • Relevance to observed and anticipated community needs and desires,
  • Long-term or historical significance or interest

Controversial Materials and Request for Reconsideration

The Haverhill Public Library does not exclude titles, other than by budgetary constraints or failure to meet selection criteria. The Haverhill Public Library upholds the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. Library staff believes that the parent or guardian holds the final responsibility for the material that their children borrow from the library.

The Library makes an attempt to judge materials on the whole, not as an isolated part. Any patron who feels that an item is inappropriate may ask for a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form from a staff member. The item will be reviewed by a staff committee that will take into consideration professional reviews. The committee will submit its recommendation to the Library Director. It is the responsibility of the Library Director to determine the Library’s official response.

The Haverhill Public Library wishes to acknowledge the inspiration and contributions to the development of our Teen Services Collection Development Policy provided by the Minneapolis Public Library Collection Development Policy and the Morton Grove IL Public Library Collection Development Policy.

Approved by Board of Trustees: May 15, 2008; Amended January 19, 2012