Electronic Collection Policy

The North Of Boston Library Exchange purchases and provides access to digital content in the form of ebooks, e-audiobooks, databases and other online resources for direct access by users of member libraries. Decisions regarding these collections are governed by this policy and additional specific instructions of the NOBLE Executive Board. This Electronic Collections Policy is based on and reflects NOBLE’s mission, vision and goals.

Digital content shall be selected and retained on the basis of its value for the interest, education, information, and recreation of the people of the communities served by NOBLE member libraries. We recognize the challenges of purchasing for both public and academic libraries while fulfilling the needs of a diverse population. NOBLE shall consider library user suggestions of titles and subjects to be included in our network collection, and purchase materials based on this policy.
Individual member libraries are responsible for policy and decisions regarding additions to their own digital collections, even where these collections may become shared with the larger NOBLE digital collections.

The following criteria are taken into consideration in selecting materials for the collection:

  • Best sellers and award winners
  • Interest and demand – staff and patron requests, usage data, waiting lists
  • Budget considerations
  • Popularity in other library collections and formats
  • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for intended audience
  • Accuracy and comprehensiveness
  • Currency, where important to the topic
  • Authoritativeness of author, issuing body, and/or publisher
  • Diversity of viewpoint
  • Reviews – in review journals, popular media
  • Format – availability, popularity, suitability to the content, ease of use
  • Hardware, software, licensing, networking and storage requirements
  • Long term availability and perpetual access rights

Retention of Digital Collection Materials

NOBLE will periodically review digital collections using the selection criteria stated above. Content may be removed from the collection at any time at our sole discretion. Expired content may display in the catalog but may not be available or selected to repurchase. Additionally, items in the collection may become unavailable by the publisher or provider at any time. NOBLE does not control certain deselection processes made by the publishers or content carriers.

Reconsideration of Digital Collection Materials

Review Criteria:
Best practices in collection development assert that materials should not be excluded from a collection solely because the content or its creator may be considered offensive or controversial. Refusing to select resources due to potential controversy is considered censorship, as is withdrawing resources for that reason. Libraries have a responsibility to defend against challenges that limit a collection’s diversity of content. Challenges commonly cite content viewed as inappropriate, offensive, or controversial, which may include but is not limited to prejudicial language and ideas, political content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs, scientific research, sexual content, and representation of diverse sexual orientations, expressions, and gender identities.The Executive Board will evaluate whether the material still has significant value to the intended audience according to NOBLE’s selection criteria, and whether it has any material deficiency or error that significantly impairs its value to that audience. If the review fails that test the material may be removed from the collection if the Executive Board concurs.

Requests for Reconsideration:
Patrons residing in a NOBLE community or affiliated with a NOBLE academic member library with concerns about the content of materials in NOBLE’s Digital Collection are invited to document specific concerns using the online Request for Reconsideration of Digital Content form. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

These form submissions will be collected by NOBLE’s Executive Director and relayed to the Executive Board for review and discussion.

It is the responsibility of the Executive Director to communicate the results of the review to the patron submitting the request and to the library directors of NOBLE.

Approved at the Annual Meeting, May 19, 2022