Policies related to Donations and Gifts

Materials Selection Policy

A. Purpose of materials selection policy

The purpose of the Scarborough Public Library materials selection policy is twofold:

  1. To provide guidelines for the staff in their roles as selectors. 
  2. To acquaint the general public with the scope of the collection and with the principles of selection used to acquire library materials.

A. Purpose of materials selection policy

The purpose of the Scarborough Public Library materials selection policy is twofold:

  1. To provide guidelines for the staff in their roles as selectors. 
  2. To acquaint the general public with the scope of the collection and with the principles of selection used to acquire library materials.

B.  Selection objectives

Materials selection is carried out to support the Library’s mission “to provide access to a broad and deep collection and high-quality services that promote lifelong learning in a welcoming, community-centered facility.”  Scarborough Public Library recognizes the diversity of its users and potential users, and makes materials selections accordingly, striving, in general, for breadth rather than depth. In addition to providing information on a wide variety of subjects, the Library makes an effort to collect material which represents varied points of view on topics which are open to interpretation. While students at all levels are an important part of the Library’s clientele, and many of the materials acquired may be useful to them in their courses of study, it is not the aim of the Library to meet all of their research needs or to serve as a substitute for the libraries at local academic institutions. Likewise, library materials are not intended to support professional activity or take the place of a professional library but rather to provide information adequate for the interested layperson.

C.  Responsibility for selection

The Board has delegated the responsibility for material selection to the professional staff, who are responsible for the day-to-day development of the collection.

D.  Selection criteria

Materials in all formats are selected according to the following general criteria:

  1. Patron demand or interest.
  2. Need/relationship to other material in the collection.
  3. Quality (including accuracy, authority, and currency, in the case of non-fiction; production quality, in the case of audiovisual material; quality of illustration and reproduction in the case of picture books and art books, etc.)
  4. Appropriateness of format
  5. Cost
  6. Access, including quality and availability of indexing, especially for periodicals
  7. Licensing restrictions
  8. Professional judgment

E.  Selection aids

Because it is not possible to personally view/listen to/read the large number of books and audiovisual materials published annually, selectors rely on reviews, lists of award winners, and standard bibliographies to guide them in their selections. Reviews found in professional and general periodicals and in regional newspapers are the primary tools used to determine the degree to which a particular title meets the selection criteria. While every reasonable effort is made to find one or more reviews of all titles added to the collection, items for which no review is available may be acquired if there is significant public demand or a strong need due to scarcity of material in the subject area.

F.  Controversial materials

Materials on controversial issues that present only one side of a question or are written in a violent, sensational, or inflammatory manner will ordinarily not be selected. Obscene books and periodicals, which are lewd with deliberate intent, shall not be selected for the Library. However, no book shall be judged for exclusion by taking single passages out of context and basing exclusion of that book on such passages. The Library Director stands ready to review individual decisions upon written request.

G.  Affirmation of Intellectual Freedom

The Scarborough Public Library values a free and inquiring society, and affirms its support of the Library Bill of Rights, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, the Freedom to Read Statement, and M.S.R.A. 27 § 121 Confidentiality of library records.  Parents or legal guardians have sole responsibility for the use of materials by their minor children.

The selection of materials for the Library’s collection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

H.  Procedure for handling objections to material

When a patron objects to a particular item, the objection shall be made in writing using the “Request for Reconsideration of Material” form. The request will be reviewed in keeping with the Appeal of Library Action or Administrative Decision Policy.

I.  Gifts of materials

Gifts of library materials are subject to the same selection criteria as material which is being considered for purchase (see above). The Library’s professional staff reserves the right to refuse to accept and/or to dispose of, in any way it chooses, items which do not meet these criteria.  Likewise, gifts will be shelved, classified, and circulated using the same criteria applied to purchased materials. In keeping with the Library’s general policy on gifts, any special stipulations on the part of the donor must be acceptable to the Board of Trustees.

Gifts of money for memorial books or other library material are also administered at the discretion of the professional staff. While donors are welcome to specify subject areas for their donations to be spent on, the selection of specific titles remains the responsibility of staff members. An effort is made to purchase books of lasting value as memorials; however, the Library retains the right to remove memorials from the collection when deemed appropriate due to poor condition, lack of patron interest, inaccuracy of the information contained in them, or any other standard rationales for de-acquisition.

J.  Patron recommendations

Every effort is made to accommodate patron recommendations, especially those which reflect popular interests or a gap in our collections. However, the decision to acquire material is at the discretion of the professional staff, who retain the right to not purchase requested material if it does not meet the selection criteria outlined in this policy. Availability in the Minerva consortium or other Maine libraries may also be considered.

K.  Collection maintenance: weeding, replacement and bindery decisions

Weeding (de-acquisition) and replacement activities, like selection decisions, are based on the overall goals and mission of the Library, and are intended to keep the collection vibrant and useful. Weeding should be ongoing and based on multiple considerations, including condition, accuracy, past use, and perceived current or future interest. Weeding decisions will not be based on controversy about the material in question or its creators. Retention commitments from other Maine libraries will also factor into the decision to weed materials.



  1. Intellectual Freedom Statement
  2. Library Bill of Rights
  3. Freedom to Read Statement
  4. Free Access to Libraries for Minors
  5. M.S.R.A. 27 § 121 Confidentiality of library records
  6. Request for Reconsideration of Materials form


Adopted 2/20/97
Revised 6/15/17

Policy on Receiving Donations

The Scarborough Public Library welcomes gifts of library materials, money or real property. These gifts help enrich and improve public library resources.

Gifts and donations may be made to the Library in a number of ways: through the Annual Fund; to the Gifts and Memorials Fund; the Building Expansion Fund; to the Library Endowment Fund; or, through the gift of tangible objects and ephemera.

The Scarborough Public Library Corporation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code. Donations to the Library are generally tax deductible. 

Types of Acceptable Gifts


Cash is acceptable in the form of currency, money orders, checks or electronic transfer (either through a wire transfer to the Library’s bank account or by a verified credit card transaction.) Checks should be made payable to “Scarborough Public Library.”

Tangible Objects

Books or non-book materials, specialized collections, paintings, prints, maps, clipping files and ephemera may be given to the library provided the stipulations about such gifts are acceptable to the Library Board.

Individual donations to the collection are accepted with the understanding that the library applies the same criteria for evaluating gift material as it applies to purchased material.  Gifts will be withdrawn in the same manner as purchased material.  The library does not accept responsibility for notifying donors of withdrawal or replacement of gift items.

The library staff will review all gifts prior to their receipt to determine their usefulness and suitability. Any expenses that might be incurred by accepting the donation will also be noted.  With the exception of individual or accumulations of collection materials, a decision to accept a tangible gift will be made on an individual basis by the Library Board based on the recommendation of the Library Director.

The donor is advised to see professional financial counsel on the tax consequences of the donation. If IRS rules require an appraisal, it will be at the donor’s expense.


The Library accepts publicly traded securities. It is preferred that donors electronically transfer marketable securities directly to the Library’s local brokerage account. It is the Library’s policy to sell all securities on receipt. The value of the gift will be calculated based on the mean share price between the high and low selling prices quoted on the day the stock is transferred to the Library or consistent with most recent IRS regulations.

Life Insurance

Donors are encouraged to name the Scarborough Public Library as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Donors may also apply for a policy that would be issued with the Library as owner and beneficiary; the donor pays premiums to the Library which pays them to the insurer.

Other Gift Types

Gifts of real estate, gifts in-kind, non-marketable securities or other gifts requiring appraisals or special processing are subject to the review of the Board of Trustees before acceptance. Deferred gifts subject to income interest, such as trusts annuities, pooled income funds, etc. are also subject to Board review.

Library Accounts

Any unrestricted gift may be deposited in any of the following funds at the discretion of the Library Board.

Annual Fund

The Library Board and Library Director will raise money for the Annual Fund through community-wide appeals and through direct solicitation of individuals, corporations, and foundations. Donations to this fund shall be unrestricted unless a specific condition is stated by the donor. Acknowledgement of gifts to the Annual Fund shall be published in the Library newsletter.

Donations may be made to the Fund at any time during the year with the understanding that these donations may be carried over to the next fiscal year.

Library Building Fund

Monies from this fund shall be expended for planning, feasibility studies, fundraising, construction or other related costs as determined by the Library Board except where funds carry donor restrictions.

Gifts and Memorials

The Library accepts monetary donations, bequests, annuities, and stocks and bonds for the purchase of collection materials, furnishings and fixtures, special programming, or area of interest of the donor or grant maker.  Funds may be given as an outright gift, in memory of, or in honor of individuals. Memorial books or other library materials are designated by a special bookplate.  Gifts of furnishings and equipment may be identified with a small plaque.

Any “gifts and memorials” received by the Library that are not restricted by the donor may be designated for a specific fund or purpose by the Library Board. Donations may be made to this fund at any time. Expenditures from these funds do not require prior approval of the Library Board if they meet the donor’s designated purpose.  Donations to this fund are not intended to replace regularly budgeted library expenditures.

Library Endowment Fund

Donations directed by the donor to the “Endowment” will be added to the Centennial Endowment Fund unless another sub-account is specified.  The Centennial Endowment is permanently restricted and no invasion of principal is permitted.  Earnings from this account will be reinvested until a $1 million goal is reached.  Upon reaching that goal, the earnings may be made available as deemed appropriate by the Library Board in the Endowment Fund policy.

Discretionary Investment Fund

The Discretionary Investment Fund is a “board designated unrestricted fund.”  This means the Board has designated these funds to be an investment account, which can be utilized, as the Board sees fit.


Related documents:

Endowment Fund Policy
Building Expansion Fund Policy
Discretionary Investment Fund Policy
Investment Policy

Adopted April 20, 2000
Revised July 18, 2002, April 24, 2007