The Willett Free Library was established in 1885 as a circle for mutual improvement. The library is dedicated to providing residents of Saunderstown and surrounding communities with a path to lifelong learning and literacy. The Willett Free Library distinguishes itself as a comfortable, intimate, and neighborly setting, with personal attention to every patron.
Board of Trustees
The Willett Free Library is a private library operated by the Saunderstown Free Library Association, a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
The Association is managed by the Board of Trustees, which operates the library for the benefit of the surrounding community. Among other duties, the Board is responsible for setting annual dues for membership, appointing the library director, determining employee salaries, and providing maintenance for the building and grounds.
The Board meets quarterly and holds its annual meeting in August. Board meetings are open to the public.
Collection Development Policy
The Collection Development Policy provides a framework for decision making in management of materials which anticipate and meet the general educational and recreational needs of the public, and reflects the diversity of the Saunderstown community. This policy reinforces the library’s mission and the principles set forth by the American Library Association in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement, and Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors.
Scope of the Collection: The collection of the Willett Free Library includes a wide range of circulating print and non-print materials selected to accommodate the diversity of tastes, reading levels, languages and interests of users of all ages.
Responsibility: The Library Director is responsible for the entire collection and is accountable to the Library Board of Trustees.
Access: All patrons have access to all collections and each patron makes their own determination as to the suitability of their selections. Parents are responsible for what their children select. The library does not act in loco parentis or in place of a parent.
Guidelines for Selection: The Director uses knowledge of the overall collection, physical space limitations, and the following main points for consideration in the selection of materials:
- individual merit of each item
- popular appeal/demand
- existing library holdings and contribution to the diversity and scope of the collection
- local, historical, or cultural significance
- availability of the material in the Ocean State Libraries consortium
An item need not meet all criteria to be added to the collection. Resources consulted in the selection process may include: reviews in professionally recognized publications, popular book review publications, social media, popular magazines, television, and radio, news media, literary awards, and patron requests. Items that may be controversial will be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints in the collection as a whole, and the effectiveness of the library’s ability to serve the community. The same guidelines for selection of traditionally published materials are used for self published and independently published items. Materials of local interest, content not addressed by major publishers, titles by authors with proven credentials in their subject area, and materials with high demand by Saunderstown/Rhode Island residents may be considered for addition to the collection. Individuals who would like to forward a recommendation for purchase can do so through an online form provided by OSL.
Gifts and Donations: The library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, condition, or dated information the director can dispose of them as he/she sees fit. The same criteria of selection which are applied to purchased materials are applied to gifts. It is desirable for gifts of or for specific titles to be offered after consultation with the library director.
By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials, though it can provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the items if requested by the donor.
Reconsideration of Materials: Those asking for the removal or reclassification of any material in the collection must submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The request will be reviewed by the Director, who will respond within 30 days. Written appeals to the Director’s decision may be made to the Library Board of Trustees. The material will remain a part of the circulating collection during the reconsideration process. The Willett Free Library reports materials challenges to public and professional offices including the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Collection Maintenance: Library collections grow and change constantly. Discarding, replacing, or repairing materials is an ongoing and essential process. These practices keep the collection current, vital, in good condition, and accessible.