Purpose of Policy
The Hoboken Public Library is a community institution dedicated to the concept of fair and equal service for all. This Collection Development Policy provides guidelines for the library staff in their role as selectors of library materials. It also serves as a method of communicating the Library’s principles to the public, the Library’s funders, and other libraries.
Community and Library Profile
Hoboken, a city in Hudson County New Jersey, is a vibrant private community, home to The Stevens Institute of Technology, and the center of a busy transportation hub. The city was fully incorporated on March 28, 1855. In 1889 a Board of Trustees was appointed to organize and start a public library, the first public library was opened on October 2, 1890. The current library was built in 1896.
Hoboken serves as a major connecting point between New Jersey and New York via New Jersey transit trains, buses, and the PATH system. It is also a lively private community which is home (according to the 2000 U.S. Census) to more than 38,577 residents. For more information on Hoboken statistical information, follow this link to www.census.gov
The Hoboken Public Library is managed by a Board of Trustees who are appointed by the Mayor, the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools are ex-oficio members of the Board. A Director, who reports to the Board, is responsible for the administration of the library.
The Library consists of a single branch which is located at 500 Park Avenue. In 2007 the Library housed 84,750 books. The Library’s Special Collections include historical information on the City of Hoboken.
The Library receives it’s funding from the City of Hoboken, State aid and grants, as well as from fines, fees, interest, miscellaneous income, and donations.
The Library’s collection consists of books, books on CD, compact discs, CD-ROMs, computer software, DVD’s, microfilm, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, pictures, and Playaways. In addition to providing services to Hoboken residents, the Library is also part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), a consortium of 74 libraries throughout Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties, providing cardholders access to these collections either in person or through interlibrary loan. Similarly, the Library is also a participating member of Jerseycat, the New Jersey Statewide library catalog allowing Hoboken Public Library cardholders to request items from libraries throughout New Jersey, as well as Open Borrowing allowing in person borrowing at over 150+ public libraries, follow the link above for more details. Hoboken Public Library is a proud member of INFOLINK (the Eastern New Jersey Regional Library Cooperative).
Library Mission Statement
As a vital contributor to the quality of life of Hoboken citizens, the Hoboken Public Library will connect people with the books and information they want by providing a broad and diverse collection of books and other library materials, innovative programs, a competent staff, timely service, appropriate technologies and an inviting facility.
Goals of the Hoboken Public Library
* The Hoboken Public Library’s services and programs will respond to community needs.
* The Library will expand and develop a collection of library materials which reflect community interests and needs.
* Hoboken residents will be made aware of the Library and its service program.
* The Library will have adequate, functional, safe and inviting space for public and staff use.
* The efficiency and effectiveness of Library services will be improved through increased use of technology.
Endorsement of the American Library Association policy statements
The Board of Trustees hereby adopts and declares that it will adhere to and support the attached American Library Association documents and that the principles therein espoused will guide the development of the Library’s collections.
For this Collection Development Policy, the selection of material includes the decision to add to, and retain materials in, the Library’s collection. All library acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered and evaluated using the same standards. Using the following criteria, materials are evaluated and selected by the Library staff. Ultimate responsibility for selection rests with The Library Board.
The Library selects material on a variety of criteria including:
* demonstrated or perceived interest, need, or demand by Library users or potential users
* contemporary significance, popular interest, or permanent value
* relevance to the experiences and contributions of diverse populations
* quality, including accuracy, clarity, and usability
* review sources including but not limited to:
• Book Page
• The Horn Book Magazine
• Kirkus Reviews
• Library Journal
• New York Review of Books
• The New York Times Book Review
• Publishers Weekly
• School Library Journal
* significance and/or reputation of the author and/or other contributors
* importance as a document of the times
* relation to existing collections
* format, durability, and ease of use
* value of resource in relation to its cost
The Library acquires materials in a variety of formats including audiocassettes, books (hardcover and paperback), compact discs, electronic databases and networks, microfilm, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, and videotapes. In some circumstances, the same work may be acquired in more than one format. Paperback editions of popular titles are often purchased as multiple copies to meet patron demand. The Library seeks to serve and reflect the Hoboken community in the development of its collections. While most materials are acquired in English, the Library also acquires materials in other languages, principle among them is Spanish.
Hoboken Historical Collection
The Hoboken Historical Collection is a collection of printed source material, both published and archival, as well as micro-formatted printed material. Published materials include: monographs, periodicals, newspapers, as well as government materials from all levels of administration — Federal, State and Municipal. The scope of the collection is defined as all items of pertinence to Hoboken: in terms of physical space and structure, persons, activities and events. Archival material documenting individuals, institutions, and organizations will be proactively and selectively collected and will include primarily printed matter and photographs. Appraisal considerations regarding archival acquisitions will be made contingent upon ability to house the material in terms of accessibility, conservation and preservation protocols, and other factors in accord with the overall Mission Statement.
In accordance with the Mission Statement, the provision for inclusiveness mandates the compilation of a Hoboken Bibliography. A computerized (stand alone PC database) bibliographic listing of all sources providing reference to Hoboken material will be compiled and maintained. The Hoboken Bibliography will contain both items held by the Library as well as material the Library does not own. An active acquisition program will endeavor to acquire Hoboken material, both contemporaneously and retrospectively. Archival finding aids to collections housed in other institutions will be collected
Non-archival material will be identified through traditional pathways: searching the catalogs on-line of other institutions, published booklists, indexes, as well the antiquarian press. Archival material may be identified in similar fashion. Book locator services can be used when a candidate for acquisition has been identified. Material available in microfilm format, typically newspapers, periodicals, and perhaps archival materials, will be considered for acquisition.
The Library continuously reviews its collections and removes materials that are worn, obsolete, or in unnecessary duplication. This act is also known as “weeding” and is an on-going process. When sources become dated and misrepresentative of current knowledge, they are marked for removal from the collection. These materials are then reviewed by the librarian to determine if they should be permanently discarded. The decision to retain the last copy of a title rests with the Library professional charged with overseeing that portion of the Library’s collection.
Dealing with Challenged Materials
The Library welcomes expressions of opinions from the public concerning materials selected or not selected for inclusion in its collections. Requests to add or remove Library materials will be considered within the contexts of the principles affirmed in this document.
Patrons or staff members who wish to request the reconsideration of Library materials must complete and sign a “Request for Reconsideration” form, which is available at the Library’s circulation desk. The form must be completely filled out thus assuring the patron that his/her concern will be addressed by the appropriate library staff. Anonymous phone calls, rumors, or voiced concern will not be honored. Action will only occur after the signed “Request for Reconsideration” form is returned to the Library.
Once a completed “Request for Reconsideration” form is returned to the Library, the Board is notified and a formal investigation begins–during this process, the material in question remains in the Library’s collection.
* The staff member who initially selected the item evaluates the original reason for purchase and prepares a written response to the “Request for Reconsideration.” If that staff member is no longer working at the Library, their replacement will perform this duty.
* The Library Director reviews both the objection and the response.
* The Director submits his/her written recommendation to the Board.
* The Board forwards a written response to the complainant.
If the complainant is unhappy with the response, he/she is advised that further discussion is welcome and that a final appeal to the Board can be made. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentations and number of speakers at the hearing.
Attachments: American Library Association Documents
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, June 27, 1967, and January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.
Expurgation of Library Materials:
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Expurgating library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights. Expurgation as defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its parent institution (if any). By such expurgation, the library is in effect denying access to the complete work and the entire spectrum of ideas that the work intended to express. Such action stands in violation of Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Library Bill of Rights, which state that “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation,” that “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” and that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”
The act of expurgation has serious implications. It involves a determination that it is necessary to restrict access to the complete work. This is censorship. When a work is expurgated, under the assumption that certain portions of that work would be harmful to minors, the situation is no less serious.
Expurgation of any books or other library resources imposes a restriction, without regard to the rights and desires of all library users, by limiting access to ideas and information. Further, expurgation without written permission from the holder of the copyright on the material may violate the copyright provisions of the United States Code. Adopted February 2, 1973; amended July 1, 1981; amended January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association declares as a matter of firm principle that it is the responsibility of every library to have a clearly defined materials selection policy in written form which reflects the Library Bill of Rights, and which is approved by the appropriate governing authority.
Challenged materials which meet the criteria for selection in the materials selection policy of the library should not be removed under any legal or extra-legal pressure. The Library Bill of Rights states in Article I that “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation,” and in Article II, that “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” Freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution of the United States, but constitutionally protected expression is often separated from unprotected expression only by a dim and uncertain line. The Constitution requires a procedure designed to focus searchingly on challenged expression before it can be suppressed. An adversary hearing is a part of this procedure.
Therefore, any attempt, be it legal or extra-legal, to regulate or suppress materials in libraries must be closely scrutinized to the end that protected expression is not abridged. Adopted June 25, 1971; amended July 1, 1981; amended January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.
Diversity in Collection Development:
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Throughout history, the focus of censorship has fluctuated from generation to generation. Books and other materials have not been selected or have been removed from library collections for many reasons, among which are prejudicial language and ideas, political content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs, sexual forms of expression, and other topics of a potentially controversial nature.
Some examples of censorship may include removing or not selecting materials because they are considered by some as racist or sexist; not purchasing conservative religious materials; not selecting materials about or by minorities because it is thought these groups or interests are not represented in a community; or not providing information on or materials from non-mainstream political entities.
Librarians may seek to increase user awareness of materials on various social concerns by many means, including, but not limited to, issuing bibliographies and presenting exhibits and programs.
Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection development and in the provision of interlibrary loan. Access to all materials legally obtainable should be assured to the user, and policies should not unjustly exclude materials even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user. Collection development should reflect the philosophy inherent in Article II of the Library Bill of Rights: “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not an equality of numbers. Collection development responsibilities include selecting materials in the languages in common use in the community which the library serves. Collection development and the selection of materials should be done according to professional standards and established selection and review procedures.
There are many complex facets to any issue, and variations of context in which issues may be expressed, discussed, or interpreted. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be fair, just, and equitable and to give all library users equal protection in guarding against violation of the library patron’s right to read, view, or listen to materials and resources protected by the First Amendment, no matter what the viewpoint of the author, creator, or selector. Librarians have an obligation to protect library collections from removal of materials based on personal bias or prejudice, and to select and support the access to materials on all subjects that meet, as closely as possible, the needs and interests of all persons in the community which the library serves. This includes materials that reflect political, economic, religious, social, minority, and sexual issues.
Intellectual freedom, the essence of equitable library services, provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable. Librarians cannot justly permit their own preferences to limit their degree of tolerance in collection development, because freedom is indivisible.
Adopted July 14, 1982; amended January 10,1990, by the ALA Council
Free Access to Libraries for Minors:
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Library policies and procedures which effectively deny minors equal access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.
Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” The “right to use a library” includes free access to, and unrestricted use of, all the services, materials, and facilities the library has to offer. Every restriction on access to, and use of, library resources, based solely on the chronological age, educational level, or legal emancipation of users violates Article V.
Libraries are charged with the mission of developing resources to meet the diverse information needs and interests of the communities they serve. Services, materials, and facilities which fulfill the needs and interests of library users at different stages in their personal development are a necessary part of library resources. The needs and interests of each library user, and resources appropriate to meet those needs and interests, must be determined on an individual basis. Librarians cannot predict what resources will best fulfill the needs and interests of any individual user based on a single criterion such as chronological age, level of education, or legal emancipation.
The selection and development of library resources should not be diluted because of minors having the same access to library resources as adult users. Institutional self-censorship diminishes the credibility of the library in the community, and restricts access for all library users.
Librarians and governing bodies should not resort to age restrictions on access to library resources in an effort to avoid actual or anticipated objections from parents or anyone else. The mission, goals, and objectives of libraries do not authorize librarians or governing bodies to assume, abrogate, or overrule the rights and responsibilities of parents or legal guardians. Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents – and only parents – have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children – and only their children – to library resources. Parents or legal guardians who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials or facilities, should so advise their children. Librarians and governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child. Librarians and governing bodies have a public and professional obligation to provide equal access to all library resources for all library users.
Librarians have a professional commitment to ensure that all members of the community they serve have free and equal access to the entire range of library resources regardless of content, approach, format, or amount of detail. This principle of library service applies equally to all users, minors as well as adults. Librarians and governing bodies must uphold this principle in order to provide adequate and effective service to minors.
Adopted June 30, 1972; amended July 1, 1981; July 3, 1991, by the ALA Council.
Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove books from sale, to censor textbooks, to label “controversial” books, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to the use of books and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating them, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
We are deeply concerned about these attempts at suppression. Most such attempts rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary citizen, by exercising critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad. The censors, public and private, assume that they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow-citizens.
We trust Americans to recognize propaganda, and to reject it. We do not believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
We are aware, of course, that books are not alone in being subjected to efforts at suppression. We are aware that these efforts are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, films, radio and television. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of uneasy change and pervading fear. Especially when so many of our apprehensions are directed against an ideology, the expression of a dissident idea becomes a thing feared in itself, and we tend to move against it as against a hostile deed, with suppression.
And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with stress.
Now as always in our history, books are among our greatest instruments of freedom. They are almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. They are the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. They are essential to the extended discussion which serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures towards conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept which challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
A book should be judged as a book. No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish which draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern literature is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters taste differs, and taste cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised which will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.
The idea of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for the citizen. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one, the answer to a bad idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when expended on the trivial; it is frustrated when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of their freedom and integrity, and the enlargement of their service to society, requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all citizens the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of books. We do so because we believe that they are good, possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.
Freedom to View Statement
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Confidentiality of Library Users’ Records in the New Jersey State Statutes
18A:73-43.2. Confidentiality; exceptions
Library records which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:
a. The records are necessary for the proper operation of the library;
b. Disclosure is requested by the user; or
c. Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpena issued by a court or court order.
L. 1985, c. 172, s. 2, eff. May 31, 1985.