Philosophy/Mission of library
Meeting’s library will be intended as a small collection of books of ongoing or current interest primarily. This is because of limitations of space but also because of limitations of finances to acquire materials and time to monitor and maintain a collection. It is not intended to be an archival or research level collection. Some materials will be collected for their enduring value and retained permanently, other materials may be purchased for their topical value and will be kept only as long as they are of interest to members and attenders of the meeting.
Type of Materials that will be collected
Quaker procedures and practice
These are materials that are written for individuals, meeting committees, and Monthly Meetings to explain or describe the responsibilities, purposes, business procedures, and expectations of members and Monthly Meetings. This category represents a primary purpose of our library and books in this category will be retained for an indefinite length of time, as long as they remain useful references.
Introductory materials on Quakers
These are materials that are addressed primarily to people new to Friends who want to know more about the history and beliefs of Quakers. This includes biographies on Quakers. Although most interest would be from newcomers some of our members/attenders also may enjoy reading these materials. Books in this category will be retained indefinitely as space allows.
Instructional materials for first day school
It is important for our members who become involved in first day school to have the materials they need. Meeting will purchase those materials specifically for its education program.
Because the spiritual development of the Meeting’s members and attenders can be enhanced by an infinitely large and diverse program of reading, it is beyond the Meeting’s capability to answer to all, or even a significant amount, of members’ spiritual reading needs. Instead members are encouraged to look to many sources for appropriate reading including bookstores, libraries, and friends. Also the Meeting’s library committee will encourage the sharing of books and information about books through the development of a virtual library. Therefore the Meeting’s library will only collect classic works on Quaker spiritually. These materials will be kept indefinitely.
Current issues and concerns
When Meeting is drawn into a concern (social, environmental, or other) and several of our members/attenders are interested in reading a specific work that is informative on that concern, Meeting may consider purchasing that work. These materials will be retained for as long as Meeting holds that concern and there are members who want to read the work.
Meeting will not generally consider buying novels or other recreational materials. Novels, literature, poetry, or other recreational materials that have Quaker or spiritual elements may be acquired if there is a strong feeling among many members that they will want to read that book. These materials will be retained only as long as there is someone in Meeting who wants to read it. As soon as interest is over, these materials will be removed from the collection unless it is felt that they fall within the category of introductory materials on Quakers.
Journals and magazines
Some members of meeting who subscribe to Friends Bulletin or Friends Journal may wish to make their issues available to others once they have finished reading them. These issues can be left in the library on a leave and take basis. No issues more than two years old will be kept in the library—the library committee will throw out old issues.
Formats that will be collected
Primarily Meeting will collect materials for reading: books and pamphlets. However, materials that are videocassettes or DVDs, or any other format, are not necessarily excluded if there is a reason to obtain that item.
Type of materials that will not be collected
Of course, meeting will purchase any item that it decides is important to have access to. However, there are some categories of materials that are not likely to be added to the collection.
Research level materials on the Society of Friends
Because the Meeting’s library is intended to be materials of interest or use by the majority of our members/attenders we will not purchase materials with very limited appeal.
Because the collection will mostly likely be housed in an open, unmonitored location and because circulation will be on the honor system, Meeting might expect some loss from its collection. Therefore, we will not purchase very expensive items, such as rare books or large reference volumes whose loss could be considered financially significant.
Materials readily available elsewhere
The library should not duplicate materials easily available through the local public libraries as this would not be an effective use of our funds.
Adding materials to the collection
Items for the Meeting’s library can be suggested by any member or attender. The member should provide the title and author of the work and other publication information, and a brief description explaining why he or she thinks it would be appropriate for Meeting’s collection to the library committee, or to the clerk of meeting, who will pass it on to the library committee.
The library committee will consider all suggestions in light of how the book fits into the categories of collection, its cost, its availability, its quality (based on a recommendation, a published book review, the publisher’s reputation, etc.)
The library committee will bring its proposals to meeting for business for the consideration by the meeting as a whole.
Books given to our meeting, whether by one of our members or by someone or some organization outside our meeting, will undergo the same selection scrutiny as the materials we purchase and, as with any book, it will be retained or withdrawn according to the library’s collection retention policy.
Removing materials from the collection
At no time will the meeting’s collection be allowed to outgrow the space allotted to it. Materials will be selected for withdrawal by the library committee based on whether an item still fills a need and is being read, as evidenced by its circulation record. The library committee will present their list of materials for removal from the collection to the meeting for a decision.
Materials that meeting considers no longer essential, will be offered to our members for adding to their personal libraries. Materials that are not wanted by any of our members will be disposed of by the library committee. The committee may sell these materials to a secondhand bookstore. Money from these sales will be given to the treasurer. The committee may choose to donate our withdrawn books to one of the public libraries, who will either add them to their collection or will sell them at their fund-raising public book sales.
When an item is lost from the collection, whether because it has disappeared, not been returned, or because it was damaged beyond use, it will not automatically be replaced. Instead its value to the collection will be reassessed as any new addition would be.
The Virtual library
The reading needs and interests of our members are extremely diverse and personalized, and our library space is limited. Through the public and academic libraries in our communities and their interlibrary loan services our members have access to a large universe of materials. It would not be a good use of our limited space and funds to duplicate materials easily available. Rather we would encourage members to consider these libraries as an extension of our own library.
Much of the difficulty in using these libraries is in knowing what to read from the numerous titles to choose from. For this reason, the library committee would encourage members to compile annotated reading lists of books—a virtual library—that they have found to be very satisfying. Copies of these lists will be kept with the library and may be taken by members.
Also, many of our members own books that they are willing to share. The library committee will encourage those members to compile lists of the books they would be willing to lend to a Friend. These materials also represent an extension of our meeting’s library and these lists will be kept with the library.
 References to meeting’s members throughout this document should be understood to include attenders as well.