Mission Statement

The mission of the Framingham Public Library, as a community resource, is to provide free access to informational materials necessary for the exchange of ideas and independent decision making, to stimulate the growth of the individual through all stages of life and to make available recreational materials and programs for all community members.

The Community

The Framingham community, as more fully described in the Building for the Future, Framingham Public Library’s Long Range Plan 2010-2013, is characterized by a large number of organizations, a vibrant business community, a long tradition of interest in art and culture, and a state college and community college. The individuals in the community reflect varying economic, racial, ethnic, and educational background. Knowledge of the community enables the library to better serve its users by developing collections that reflect the changing interests and composition of Framingham.

Philosophy of Selection

In support of its mission "to preserve and encourage the free expression of ideas essential to an informed citizenry," the Framingham Public Library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. The Library upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others. Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.

The Freedom to Read*

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights. We therefore affirm these propositions:


  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

Approved by the Board of Trustees of the Framingham Public Library, April 10, 2023.

*This is an abbreviated version of the American Library Association Freedom to Read Statement; the complete text of which is located here.


Scope of the Collection

The primary responsibility of the Framingham Public Library is to serve the citizens and employees of Framingham by providing a broad choice of materials to meet their informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs. Materials are selected to help individuals, groups, and organizations attain practical solutions to daily problems, and to enrich the quality of life for all community members.

The Library is a member of the Minuteman Library Network, a group of over 40 public and academic libraries established to promote resource sharing. Framingham patrons may use their library card at any Minuteman library. In addition, the Library is able to request materials not available in Framingham from the other libraries in the network. There is also a mechanism to borrow materials not available in the network from other libraries nationwide. Budget and space limitations, as well as local needs, preclude the library from duplicating the specialized and comprehensive collections that exist elsewhere in the Minuteman System.

Role of the Main Library

The Framingham Public Library strives to meet the informational and recreational needs of a diverse population. Its books and materials collection provides scope in subject matter, more duplication of both essential and popular titles, and an extensive reference collection. The non-fiction collection at the Main Library includes some specialized material within subject disciplines which allows a greater degree of educational and vocational research. Staff members qualified by education and experience are involved in the continual evaluation and long-range planning of the non-fiction collection to insure that the Main Library serves research as well as popular interests.

Role of the Branch Library

Selection of the Branch Library’s collection is governed by the profile and use patterns of its community, stressing the more popular circulating materials in various formats, and basic research materials.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the Library Director. The Director assigns the responsibility for the selection of materials to the library staff. Staff regularly evaluate and select material on the basis of published reviews, special bibliographies and personal examination. Department Heads are responsible for the selection of materials and expenditure of their assigned budgets. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to recommend materials for consideration.

Selection Criteria

All materials, whether for adults or children, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all of these standards in order to be added to the collection.

  • Popular interest
  • Contemporary significance or permanent value
  • Literary classics
  • Currency of information
  • Local emphasis/Local Authors
  • Treatment of subject to age of intended audience
  • Creative, literary or technical quality
  • Critical assessments in a variety of journals
  • Format and ease of use
  • Circulation as monitored through the automated system
  • Cost and availability
  • Relationship to existing materials in collection
  • Relationship to materials in other area libraries

Suggestions for Purchase

The library strongly encourages input from the Framingham community concerning the collection. A suggestion for purchase procedure enables Framingham citizens to request that a particular item or subject be purchased by the library. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection. It is the library's intent that suggestions for purchase be used to help the library in developing collections which serve the interests and needs of the community.  Suggestions from the public are welcome.  Please fill out our Recommend an Item for Purchase Form.

Request for Reconsideration

Persons from the Framingham community wishing to recommend the removal of a particular item in the Library collection may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, which will be reviewed by the Library Director and the staff in relation to the Library's mission statement and the selection criteria of this collection development policy. After evaluating the item, journal reviews and other materials submitted by the patron and the staff, a timely response will be made by the Library Director.

Policies by Format and Special Collections

Magazines and Newspapers
Magazines and newspapers are purchased to keep the library collection up to date on current issues and to provide material not yet in book form, both for reference work and popular reading. Subscriptions are reviewed and new titles are considered annually. Some articles are also available through subscription databases.

The library subscribes to local, daily and weekly papers, as well as Boston and Worcester area papers. A selection of national and international newspapers are also available. Microfilm of The Metrowest Daily News is maintained because of the newspaper’s local importance. Newspaper articles are also available through subscription databases.


The library collects music on compact discs. Every effort is made to select recordings that will satisfy a wide range of musical preferences.


The library collects fiction and non-fiction audiobooks on compact disc and Playaways and downloadable formats. Unabridged editions are preferred. Audiobooks are chosen by the same criteria as described above.


Downloadable ebooks are also available to Framingham patrons through the link to Overdrive on the Minuteman Library Network.



The library purchases feature films, tv-series, and non-fiction DVDs. The library purchases multiple copies of the most popular feature films to meet the demand for these titles. Feature films are rented for a fee and these funds are used to purchase all of the audiovisual materials. DVDs are chosen by the same criteria as described above.


International Collection
The library actively collects books, audiobooks, magazines and DVDs in Spanish and Portuguese. To a lesser extent the library also purchases materials in Russian and Chinese. The library attempts to provide a sampling of fiction and non-fiction materials.  The library owns small collections in other languages. Donations are often added to supplement these collections. Materials in other languages requested by patrons, but not available in Framingham, may be obtained through interlibrary loan. The library will periodically evaluate its selection policy for particular languages based on the percent of languages represented in the current population.


Electronic Resources

The Library has access to numerous research databases through the Minuteman Library Network in addition to those purchased only for the Framingham Public Library.


Framingham Room

The Framingham Room contains non-circulating local history materials, primarily consisting of books, maps, booklets, and videos on Framingham history. It is stored in locked cases, on open shelves and in storage.

Irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind materials relating to the City of Framingham are kept in a locked case or vertical file but may be used in the library. Additional copies are kept in storage. This collection includes book on Framingham’s history, high school yearbooks, telephone books, the Dennison collection, the Wallace Nutting collection, and books from the original Framingham Memorial Library. It also includes other media such as historic maps, local history videos, historic photographs and paper files relating to Framingham history.

Vital records and histories of nearby Massachusetts towns and cities are available on open shelves in the Framingham Room, as are other geneological resources, town meeting reports, lists of residents, and City committee meeting minutes for a period of seven (7) years (Article I, s. 6.10.3).
Works by Framingham authors and local cookbooks, donated to the library, may be part of a non-circulating collection housed in the Framingham Room Storage area. Books by Framingham authors are never purchase for this collection.

Removal of material from the building requires the approval of the Framingham Room Librarian, or Reference Supervisor, and the holding of identification. This short-term loan is occasionally made in the case that there are multiple copies of an item or that a patron wishes to have an oversized map or photo reproduced.


Institutional Archives

The library will collect and preserve all Trustee Meeting agenda and minutes, library newsletters, program flyers and posters, newspaper articles and other material related to the history of the library. This collection will be made available to the public as part of the Framingham Room local history collection.


  • The Framingham Public Library accepts gifts (including publisher's gift copies) for the library's collection that fall within needed subject categories, as determined by the Library Director and the staff. Gift additions must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials and are subject to the following limitations:
  • The library retains unconditional ownership of the gift.
  • The library makes the final decision on the use or other disposition of the gift.
  • The library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing and access to the materials.
  • Monetary gifts to the collection are welcome and may be designated as memorials.
  • Donations of money designated for the periodicals and newspapers collection are accepted in lieu of actual subscriptions. These contributions offset the high cost of periodical subscriptions and maintain the continuity of subscriptions from year to year.

Donors of the funds may suggest subjects or titles to be acquired with their donation, but the library reserves the right of final decision.

Duplication of Material

Multiple copies of materials are purchased in response to user demand as evidenced by number of reserves, anticipated popularity, repeated requests and monitoring of the collection. For popular fiction titles, the Framingham libraries generally use a ratio of approximately one copy for every six reserves as a purchasing guideline. However, this is merely a guideline, and does not apply to every class of material.

Collection Maintenance

A regular program of evaluation is essential to maintaining a useable and attractive collection. Materials will be discarded if they are outdated in content, duplicates of titles that are no longer circulating, no longer of current use or are in poor physical condition.

Discarded books might be given to the Friends of the Framingham Public Library to sell for the library’s benefit, or sold to book vendors. Discards in poor condition will be destroyed.

Revision of Policy

This collection development policy will periodically be evaluated and revised as times and circumstances require.


Approved by Framingham Public Library Board of Trustees

June 13, 2011