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New Hampshire Downloadable Books

The New Hampshire State Library manages The New Hampshire Downloadable Books service on behalf of the state's participating public libraries.

Please direct questions about the service to Bobbi Lee Slossar, Technology Resources Librarian. 


The New Hampshire State Library supports the New Hampshire Downloadable Books service through the following activity in its 5 Year Plan goals: 

  • Goal 1.3: Facilitate and manage the NH Downloadable Books Consortium (NHDB) on behalf of the state’s public libraries and their patrons. 



The collection includes:

  • 17,000 eBook titles
  • 12,000 audiobook titles 
  • 3000 always available magazines. 

New Hampshire Downloadable Books (NHDB) Consortium Collection Development Policy  

I. Mission & Vision  

II. Purpose  

III. Collection Development  

a. Collection Responsibilities  

b. Scope of Collection  

c. Selection Criteria  

d. Selection Tools  

e. Gift Policy  

f. Weeding  

IV. Intellectual Freedom  

a. Access to Collections  

b. Reconsideration of Materials  

V. Review of Policy  

I. Mission & Vision  

The New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium (NHDB) is a membership organization of New Hampshire  libraries that provides New Hampshire residents with access to a collection of electronically published materials in a wide  range of subjects and formats. It also maintains a decision-making and fiscal model for public library cooperation that will  allow libraries to collaborate, to explore and to implement new information technologies and issues, sharing the costs as  well as the knowledge and resources. Member libraries are encouraged to participate in the annual meeting and the  ongoing maintenance of the consortium collections.  

II. Purpose  

This policy acts as a guide for selectors in order to ensure comparability of collection depth and breadth between  collection areas and similarity of selection criteria among selectors. This policy intends to assist selectors in building  collections that are responsive to the community’s informational and recreational reading needs, while still meeting the  mission and goals of both the NHDB consortium and its member public libraries.  

This policy also informs the public of the principles upon which collection development and management decisions are  based. This policy describes the role of selection and management in the mission of NHDB consortium to serve a  statewide community of library users. It defines the scope of the collection, provides a plan for continual and strategic  development, and identifies strengths in the collection. It connects selection decisions and collection management to  intellectual freedom principles.  

III. Collection Development  

A. Selector Responsibilities  

Selectors for the NHDB are volunteers from member libraries who can make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to select  materials to be added to the collection. Selectors are also required to attend an initial training meeting, and subsequent  selector meetings during each year. Ideally, there are approximately 8 to 10 active selectors at any one time. If that  number falls below 8, an effort will be made to recruit selectors from member libraries in geographic areas of New  Hampshire not already represented by current selectors, or from libraries of a size not already represented by current  selectors. Selectors for specific areas/publishers will be allocated by interest, knowledgeable expertise, and qualification.  

The Selector Coordinator is a volunteer from an NHDB member library who creates the weekly NHDB order by  reviewing the selections made by Selectors. The Selector Coordinator works closely with the New Hampshire State  Library (NHSL) Technology Resources Librarian, who serves as liaison with the digital vendors for the NHDB service,  and has responsibility for staying within the current budget parameters determined by the annual dues collected by the  consortium. The NHSL Technology Resources Librarian places the weekly order on behalf of the NHDB consortium. 

B. Scope of Collection  

The NHDB consortium is funded by its member public libraries. Member libraries have access to the digital collaborative  collection and as such, their library card-holders are authorized users. The community served by this collection is diverse  and as such, the collection must reflect the needs, interests, and viewpoints of this large community in its entirety, taking  into consideration access needs in a digital environment.  

The collection is broad, current, and popular. This collection is not concerned with being completely comprehensive and  some subject areas are collected in greater depth than others, as a reflection of their current popularity. The NHDB  consortium aims for a balance of popular materials and provides a supplemental format to the materials already in the  possession of member public libraries. The materials chosen support general interest in a broad range of categories. This  collection is intended to serve the general patron instead of the researcher. Titles selected reflect contemporary  significance instead of long-term enduring value.  

The current focus of the collection is on popular genres in fiction. Non-fiction materials consist of a mixture of titles  covering popular subject areas which include, but are not limited to; biographies, business, health, and historical materials.  The collection intends to portray different viewpoints, values, philosophies, cultures, and religions in order to serve the  varied statewide community. A variety of reading and comprehension levels are also represented in the collection, based  on community need.  

Currently, the collection is comprised of e-books and audiobooks. Materials are selected to support a variety of computer  systems and e-reader hardware in multiple prevailing formats in order to serve the differing needs of individual users.  

C. Selection Criteria  

The following criteria are taken into consideration when selectors are choosing materials. An item need not meet all of the  criteria to be selected.  

• Identified, expressed, or anticipated need in the general community  

• Availability of titles from vendors  

• Contemporary significance or popular interest  

• Attention of critics and reviewers  

• Prominence, authority, significance, and/or competence of author or creator  

• Timeliness and accuracy of material including new editions of existing materials.  

• Relation to existing collections, such as titles in a series.  

• Statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view  

• Production quality  

Public demand for an author, title or subject is an important criterion. User satisfaction and demand in similar  subject/genre areas will also be given consideration. All requests from patrons for specific authors, titles or subjects will  be considered. Member libraries are responsible for forwarding patron requests to the selection group. Member libraries  are encouraged to review the request prior to submitting the title in order to provide more context and information to the  selectors.  

Title availability is another important consideration. Given the volatile world of digital rights and publishers, it is  important to note that although titles may be available for purchase to consumers from various outlets, they may not be  available to NHDB consortium users because some publishers and copyright holders do not allow public libraries to  purchase digital editions of titles, and/or place embargos on new titles for a designated time period. In addition, titles may  be pulled from the NHDB consortium collection at any time by publishers without prior notice.  

In addition to content and availability criteria for selection, given the digital nature of this collection, selectors must also  take into consideration format factors. The following criteria will be considered.  

• Affordability  

• Appropriateness of format  

• Illustration rendering in books for youth or in graphic novels 

NHDB Collection Development Policy – Approved 21 April 2014 2  

• Narrator’s qualifications for audiobooks  

• Stability of content  

• Titles with simultaneous use rights  

As a rule, we do not purchase abridged versions of titles. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis, if a high  demand title is only available in an abridged format or if the title is a patron request.  

D. Selection Tools  

Standard selection tools that may be used to identify items for selection are as follows:  

Standard collection lists, recommended lists, award lists, recommended/notable titles, and professional journal reviews.  Professional journals are given preference, along with any other nationally recognized library-oriented journals are as  follows:  

• Kirkus  

• Booklist  

• School Library Journal  

• Library Journal  

• New York Times Book Review  

• Publisher’s Weekly  

• Horn Book  

Non-standard selection tools, such as online user reviews from,, and may be  consulted to determine popular demand.  

Given the digital format of all materials in this collection, selectors must consider both content and form. Traditional  library review sources, such as those listed above, are more than sufficient for the content of the material, though standard  professional reviews for format of materials are, at times, lacking. Since well-written books do not necessarily transfer  well to either audiobook or e-book format, selectors will make use of these format reviews as they become more readily  available, though at times, selectors must rely on content reviews alone because of the lack of format reviews. Selectors  will keep in mind ease of use and accessibility of selections.  

E. Gift Policy  

Given technical and licensing limitations as they stand today, the NHDB consortium is unable to accept gifts of personally  purchased e-books. Donated money ear-marked for specific e-books or audiobooks is accepted, though items designated  for purchase must meet the selection criteria outlined above.  

F. Weeding  

Although a digital collection does not have the same space constraints of a physical collection, weeding is necessary to  upgrade the collection in terms of usefulness and accuracy. Weeding also allows for greater review of the collection,  helping to determine gaps and deficiencies, assisting selectors in creating a collection that is more responsive to patron  demand and need. The NHDB consortium digital collection also has the constraints of metered access by certain  publishers, whereby their titles are restricted to a set number of checkouts or a specific time period, after which the item is  automatically inaccessible from use unless another copy is purchased. The selectors will determine if the metered access  titles merit repurchase. The single-license titles will be periodically reviewed for continued inclusion.  

Since weeding a shared collection will affect a large number of libraries, the process will be carefully coordinated and  member libraries will be notified to remove the affected records through the NHDB MARC distribution list. The New  Hampshire State Library Technology Resources Librarian will be responsible for facilitating the review of the NHDB  consortium digital collection periodically, and make recommendations to the NHDB Selector Coordinator and Selectors  

on further actions to be taken.  

IV. Intellectual Freedom 

The NHDB consortium aims to provide a collection with information spanning a broad spectrum of opinions. The NHDB  consortium directs patrons to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights  

( and Freedom to Read statement  

( principles guide the materials  selection policies.  

Selection decisions are based on the merit of works as they relate to the mission and goals of the NHDB consortium and  its members. Works are selected to meet expressed and anticipated needs of the statewide community. These works are  inclusive of statewide cultures and opinions, not just the opinions of a particular community. Variety and balance of  opinion is sought in all collections.  

The NHDB consortium recognizes that some materials may be controversial or offensive to an individual, but maintains  that individuals can apply their values to only themselves. Parents have the responsibility and right to guide the values of  their children. An opinion represented in the collection is an expression of the libraries’ commitment to intellectual  freedom and not an endorsement of a point of view or opinion.  

V. Request for Reconsideration Policy  

Patrons who want to communicate their concerns about materials in the NHDB digital collection should be directed to a  Request for Reconsideration form available on the New Hampshire State Library website. Completed requests will be  directed to the New Hampshire State Library Technology Resources Librarian, who will share the information and review  the item with the Selectors. The New Hampshire State Library Technology Resources Librarian will also share the request  with the New Hampshire State Librarian, and will issue a written decision to the requestor within two weeks of the date of  the request receipt. This decision may be appealed to the membership of the NHDB consortium. To start the appeal  process, the appeal must be requested in writing within fourteen days from the postmark on the decision letter. The appeal  will be put before the membership of the NHDB consortium through the e-mail listserv and an electronic ballot. The  decision of the NHDB consortium membership is final, and will be communicated to the requestor within 30 days of the  receipt of the appeal request.  

VI. Review of Policy  

This policy will be revisited by NHDB Selection Committee who will recommend changes or revisions to the NHDB  member libraries on a yearly basis.  

Policy created by NHDB Selectors, November 2013.  

Approved by NHDB members,____________________. 

NHDB Collection Development Policy – Approved 21 April 2014 


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the New Hampshire State Library.