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Fac/Staff: Library Policies

Collection Development Policy

Note to colleagues:  A Collection Development Policy governs the professional standards used by Catlin Gabel's librarians in managing the collection and interacting with library users.  Please let your division librarian know if you have any questions about it.  The document was developed and approved several years ago by all three of Catlin's librarians in accordance with American Library Association standards.

Catlin Gabel Libraries


Position Statement

The Catlin Gabel School libraries promote intellectual freedom through thoughtful access to information and ideas. The libraries serve as learning laboratories for students as they acquire the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed in a pluralistic society. The principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights provide a foundation for our selection policy and services. The Catlin Gabel School board has adopted this collection development policy to support free and open access to information, as well as provide procedures for a timely and fair review of any resource about which concerns have been raised.

The librarians cooperate and collaborate with others to build collections appropriate to the development and maturity levels of students in each division. These collections provide resources that support school curriculum and are consistent with the philosophy, goals, and objectives of the Catlin Gabel School. Materials are selected to represent diverse points of view for current as well as historical issues.

The collection development process employs educational criteria to select resources unfettered by personal, political, social or religious views. Students and educators served by the school library have access to resources and services free of constraints resulting from personal, partisan, or doctrinal disapproval. Librarians resist efforts by individuals to define what is appropriate for all students or adults to read, view, or hear.

The librarians assume a leadership role in promoting the principles of intellectual freedom within the school by providing resources and services that create and sustain an atmosphere of free inquiry. Librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to integrate instructional activities and to equip students with the skills to effectively locate, evaluate, and use a broad range of materials. Through resources, programming, and educational processes, students and teachers experience the free and robust debate characteristic of a democratic society.

Selection principles

The library collections are developed to support the School’s mission statement:

The Catlin Gabel School supports inspired learning, leading to responsible action through dedicated teaching, caring relationships, a challenging curriculum, and community service. We value each person’s effort, imagination, and positive contributions to the community. We celebrate being inclusive and the partnership between family and school."

The mission of the Libraries is to provide academic resources including books, magazines, newspapers, films and research databases in support of the curricular themes of each division. In addition, each library actively promotes and encourages reading for pleasure and general knowledge. In keeping with the Standards for the 21st Century Learner, the libraries seek to promote equal access to technology resources and skills crucial for today’s learner.

In keeping with the principles outlined in the position statement and the Library Bill of Rights, the school library is seeking to open access to information and provide information to all of its students, regardless of origin, background, or views.

The librarians maintain a collaborative relationship with faculty in all grade levels and departments, and also consult with administrators and students regarding appropriate purchases. Input is solicited via email, memos, discussions at faculty meetings, and informal conversations.  Departments are encouraged to make specific requests for materials needed for research. In the Beginning and Lower School, the collection includes materials in a wide range of reading levels to support emergent to skilled readers, as well as read aloud materials for families to use at home.

Established professional resources (both print and various electronic selection tools) are used by librarians in selecting materials.  Examples of print resources include Booklist, Horn Book, School Library Journal, and Multicultural Review.

Final decisions on materials to be purchased reside with the librarian.

Challenges and Request for Reconsideration

Informal Statement of Concern

At any point if the library receives a question or concern about specific library materials held in any of the collections, the concern may be addressed and resolved through conversation with the librarian and/or the division head explaining the Catlin Gabel School's collection development policy.

Formal Request for Reconsideration

Any library user may request reconsideration of an item in the library collection. A formal request for reconsideration must be presented in writing using a standard form provided at the library, requiring an explanation of the nature of the concern and the content of the item. A committee composed in each division will reconsider inclusion of the item in the library collection. Each challenge form will receive evaluation and feedback from the committee. The committee will be required to identify where in the collection policy the purchase of the item is supported.

Donations and gifts

The librarians welcome gifts that are consistent with the mission and selection principles, and for which the library has sufficient space and appropriate resources to maintain. Proposed gifts should be discussed with the Beginning/Lower, Middle, or Upper School Librarian responsible for selecting materials.  Books and other materials not added to the collection will be returned to the donor by arrangement, or will be disposed of at the discretion of the librarian. 

Major gifts that involve an endowed fund or substantial amount of money are discussed with the donor(s), the development staff and the appropriate librarian. 


To promote high quality in the collection and to allow space for acquiring new works, the librarians oversee ongoing weeding, bearing in mind the MUSTIE technique:

Misleading—factually inaccurate information should be discarded from the collection

Ugly—books that are worn out beyond repair should be discarded

Superseded—by a new edition or a better book on the same subject.  These books should be discarded as well.

Trivial—if there is no discernible literary, historical, or scientific merit, and it does not circulate, it should be discarded.

Irrelevant—if it does not meet the needs of the library and the community, it would better to be discarded where someone would make use of the book.

Elsewhere—if the material is easily attained in another library or another/ preferable format in the library, the material may be discarded.

The library's main focus is in providing up-to-date and relevant material to support the curriculum, in order to inspire learning that leads to responsible action.  The school library does not serve as an archive, and the efforts of the library staff lean more toward replacement than preservation. 

Select Bibliography

American Association of School Libraries (AASL). “21st Century Learning Standards.”  Available online at

American Library Association (ALA). “Library Bill of Rights.” available online at .>

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  “The Students' Right to Read.”  Available online at

Request for Reconsideration of Library Material

Title ________________________________________________________________

Author ______________________________________________________________

Publisher _____________________________________________________________

Which format? Book | Magazine | Audio/Visual | Other

Request initiated by____________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________

City ________________   State _____   Zip ________ Phone _________________

1. Have you read or viewed this item in its entirety?

2. Is this title in more than one divisional library at The Catlin Gabel School?  If so are you suggesting reconsideration for all copies held?

3.What is your concern about this book?

Please review the library’s collection development policy (available on the library webpage). How do you believe this item violates the policy?

Do you have any suggestions for proposed action to be taken by library staff? If so please include your suggestions below:

Do you have suggestions for additions to the collection that would complement or balance this title?