Skip to Main Content

New Hampshire Downloadable Books: For Librarians

A Librarian's Guide to NHDB

How NHSL Supports New Hampshire Downloadable Books

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. 

NHDB Collection Development Policy (2023)

New Hampshire Downloadable Books (NHDB) Consortium Collection Development Policy 

I. Mission & Vision 

II. Purpose 

III. Collection Development 

a. Selector Responsibilities 

b. Scope of Collection 

c. Selection Criteria 

d. Selection Tools 

e. Gift Policy 

f. Weeding 

IV. Intellectual Freedom 

a. Access to Collections 

V. Reconsideration of Materials 

VI. 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 all electronic ballots and discussions and in 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 general interest, recreational, and entertainment 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 intellectual freedom principles upon which collection development and management decisions are based and describes the role of selection and management in the NHDB consortium's mission. This policy defines the scope of the collection, provides a plan for continual and strategic development, and identifies strengths in the collection. 

This policy pertains to content purchased for the state-wide collection. Individual libraries are able to purchase content for their users and that content shall be governed by the individual libraries’ collection development policies. 

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. An effort will be made to recruit a diversity of selectors from member libraries. Selectors for specific areas/publishers will be allocated by interest, knowledgeable expertise, and qualification. 

The eBook Selector Coordinator is a volunteer from an NHDB member library who creates the weekly NHDB order by reviewing the selections made by Selectors. The eBook Selector Coordinator works closely with the New Hampshire State Library (NHSL) Technology Resources Librarian, who serves as the Audiobook Selector Coordinator and communicates 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. The collection may include, but is not limited to, eBooks, digital audiobooks, and digital magazines. 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 and 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. 

C. Selection Criteria 

The following criteria are taken into consideration when selectors are choosing eBooks and audiobooks. The magazine collection is purchased as a package. 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 embargoes 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 licensing and format factors. The following criteria will be considered. 

• Affordability 

• Appropriateness of format 

• Illustration rendering in books for youth or in graphic novels 

• Narrator’s qualifications for audiobooks 

• Stability of content, e.g. expiration of licenses

• 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 may include but are not limited to: 

• 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 are consulted to determine popular demand. 

Selectors will make use of format reviews, although at times, selectors must rely on content reviews alone because of the lack of format reviews. 

E. Gift Policy 

Given technical and licensing limitations as they stand today, the NHDB consortium is unable to accept gifts of personally purchased eBooks. Monetary donations are accepted, but cannot be designated for specific purchases.  

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. 

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. These 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. The NHDB consortium does not advocate particular views or beliefs but attempts to provide free access to a well-balanced collection of topics, appropriate for different age levels and opinions to all members of the community.  Each individual has the freedom and responsibility for making choices about what to read and 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 of member libraries 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 email 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. The consortium membership will not vote relative to the same request more than once a year.


VI. Review of Policy 

This policy will be revisited by the 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 on 2 February 2023

NHDB Collection Development Policy – Reviewed 21 April 2014; 2 February 2023

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