Introductory Information


The purpose of this document is to describe how materials for the Maine State Library are selected, maintained and evaluated, and to inform the public about the principles of material selection. The approval and adoption of the Materials Selection & Collection Development Policy is the responsibility of the State Librarian. Implementation of the policy is the responsibility of the Director of Reader & Information Services Division or his/her designee. The policy will be reviewed for possible revision every three years.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Maine State Library is to lead in efforts that will provide, broaden, and improve access to information and library services regardless of location of residency. To accomplish this effort the Maine State Library is divided into two divisions: Reader and Information Services and Library Development. The Reader and Information Services Division provides for the delivery of quality information, reference and loan services to state agency personnel and to the general public. This includes supporting and complementing the collections of all types of libraries throughout the state.

Mandates and Goals

The purchase of books, periodicals, audio books, DVDs, emerging technology and allied materials in the public services area of the Maine State Library supports the following mandates and goals:

  1. To serve as the premier library on the history, resources and publications of Maine;
  2. To serve as the major depository for state government publications;
  3. To serve as a resource for state government (except legal and regulatory information, and except when an agency has its own library collection);
  4. To supplement the library resources of the Central Maine Library District;
  5. To serve the subject needs of Maine citizens not served by a local library; and
  6. To provide free and open access to materials as defined in the American Library Association policies on Intellectual Freedom.

Responsibility for the Selection of Material

The ultimate responsibility for materials selection lies with the State Librarian.  The State Librarian may delegate the authority to interpret, define and implement this responsibility to the Director of Reader and Information Services and/or the Section Supervisor of Collection Services. Staff members involved with identifying potential items to collect include: the Outreach Services Section Supervisor, the Coordinator of Reference and Research Services and librarians reporting to these areas. These staff members will know the goals, objectives and guidelines of selection and will combine this knowledge with their professional skills and expertise in making recommendations.

Selection Priorities

Priorities are determined primarily by statute and secondarily by the above stated goals. 

Relevant statutory language from Statute.

Library Contents: The State Librarian shall procure and keep in the State Library the following:

  1. Histories of this State, its counties and its towns;
  2. Histories of all countries;
  3. Family histories;
  4. Works on the arts and sciences, with special reference to agriculture, forestry, fishing, manufacturing, shipbuilding and road making;
  5. Maps, charts, plans, manuscripts and statistical and other publications relating to the financial, social, religious and educational condition of this State and then of the world as fast as the State furnishes the necessary means;
  6. Full and complete sets of all the documents printed by the State; and
  7. Full and complete sets of the reports of the towns, cities and counties of this State.

State Library Discretion Categories: Any or all of the following will guide acquisition of materials of contemporary or timely significance:

  1. Current and projected demand for the item;
  2. The presence or absence of strong library collections in Maine on the particular subject;
  3. Quality as reflected in professional reviews of the item;
  4. The uniqueness of approach, or a subject point of view not already covered in the collection;
  5. The adequacy of current coverage of a topic;
  6. Cost in light of conflicting demands on the book budget;
  7. The long term value of the item to the collection;
  8. The reputation of the author/publisher of the item; and
  9. The presence of multiple copies of a specific title within the libraries of Maine as represented by MaineCat holdings.


Selection will generally concentrate on non-fiction, with a few exceptions noted below. Reading level will be sixth grade students or higher. Highly technical or advanced academic research presentations will be restricted to items needed by state government.

Next: Maine Author Collection