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Collection Development and Donation Policies

Adopted by the Mill Valley Public Library Board of Trustees on February 3, 2011 

The purpose of the Lucretia Little History Room (LLHR) is to promote local history through the collection and dissemination of historical information pertaining specifically to people, places, or events associated with Mill Valley and a few select nearby areas, such as Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods, which are an essential part of Mill Valley’s historic heritage of hiking and outdoor exploration.

Criteria for Consideration
The following eight criteria are used to select items, whether purchased or donated, for inclusion in the LLHR collection.

1) Bibliographic Format of Materials: The LLHR is part of the Mill Valley Public Library. All materials added to the collection must be “bibliographic” in nature or similar to the types of materials retained in other parts of the Library. This includes books, magazines, photographs and negatives, paintings, maps, oral histories, CDs and DVDs, and similar informational materials. Items might be removed from their original frames/enclosures if accepted into the collection. The LLHR is not a museum and does not routinely accept new acquisitions of three-dimensional objects such as sculptures, plaques and signs, bottles or other containers, equipment, and other three-dimensional artifacts regardless of size or historical significance. The LLHR will retain those three dimensional artifacts (fire fighting equipment, street signs, mail cart, etc.) that are already in the collection, but may re-visit this decision at a later time.

2) Relevance & Local History: The LLHR retains items of historical interest pertaining to persons, places, or events for Mill Valley, any areas included in within the 94941 Zip Code, Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods. Due to space limitations, we cannot accept or retain information about other municipalities, such as Sausalito, Tiburon, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge or other places outside Mill Valley and the specific places named above. Books and other bibliographic materials must contain a specific section or specific and significant information about Mill Valley if they cover a larger geographic area, such as a California or Marin County history book.

3) Historical Significance: Due to limited space considerations, the LLHR can only accept materials that are or will become historically “significant”. Historical significance will be determined by the History Room Librarian. An example of historical significance might be the annual Tamalpais High School Yearbook (significant) vs. the everyday scores and articles about sports teams at Tamalpais High School (insignificant).

4) Physical Condition: Materials acquired by the LLHR, particularly those materials which are donated, must be in reasonably good condition for inclusion in the collection. Physical condition will be assessed by the History Room Librarian. Examples of unacceptable materials are items which show damage from mold, mildew, water, insects, smoke, or dirt or which are yellowing, brittle, soiled, torn or are in an advanced stage of disintegration. Several of these physical conditions can quickly migrate to and damage other materials in the LLHR.

5) Duplicate Materials: Due to physical space considerations, the LLHR cannot accept duplicate copies of materials that are already in our collection, except in rare or special cases. The History Room Librarian might make a special exception to this policy for items like the Tamalpais High School yearbooks, which are in great demand, or a signed or first edition of a significant book, written by a significant local author.

6) Local Authors: The LLHR tries to obtain one copy of significant books or books by significant authors in our Local Author collection. Due to space considerations, we cannot attempt to be a comprehensive depository for all published works by local Mill Valley resident authors. Preference will be given to works about Mill Valley history written by local authors. The History Room Librarian will determine which works or local authors are deemed “significant”.

7) Flyers & Other Items for Sale or Distribution: Due to limited space the LLHR cannot be a distribution point for flyers, advertisements, announcements or other solicitations from third parties except for the Mill Valley Historical Society.

8) No Unreasonable Requests: As a general rule, the LLHR cannot accept materials from donors who condition their donation with an “unreasonable” request. Examples of unreasonable requests are donations where the donor states that the donated material must be on display in the History Room at all times or where the History Room does not have the right to digitize or copy or provide public access to the donated work. The History Room Librarian will determine if any request is reasonable or unreasonable.

The LLHR welcomes donations to its local history collection. Each donation to the LLHR history collection is recorded in our files along with any accompanying documents such as the copyright release and agreement form and other applicable correspondence. The copyright release/agreement form includes a complete description of the donated item(s) and information regarding past ownership. The copyright release form also establishes conditions (if any) governing the transfer of title from the donor/owner to the LLHR, and specifies any restrictions placed by the donor on public access to the donated item. Once the copyright release form has been signed by the donor, the donated item becomes the property of the LLHR. Non-permanent loans to the LLHR collection of any materials are not generally accepted.

The LLHR wishes the public to have access to all materials in the collection. Materials which have restrictions placed upon them limiting such access may be accepted, but only when the restrictions are reasonable and deemed necessary to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the donor.

All donations or acquisition requests must go through the History Room Librarian who will determine if the donated materials or acquisition requests meet the acceptable criteria for addition to the collection. In the event it is determined that the materials are not suitable for the collection, the History Room Librarian will notify the donor of this decision and will give the donor a reasonable time period to retrieve those materials provided that the donor has provided their name and contact information when the materials were received for evaluation.

In the event the donor does not provide contact information, fails to show up to recollect the donated item within the allotted time period, or decides they no longer want the materials donated to the History Room, the History Room Librarian will make a reasonable effort to find a suitable home for those materials in accordance with the procedures for “Resolution and Disposal of Items Deemed Unsuitable for the History Room Collection” included in this policy.

If, after a reasonable effort, the History Room Librarian is unable to find a suitable home and the materials cannot be returned to the donor, the Library will recycle or dispose of those materials accordingly. In no case will the LLHR incur any un-reimbursed costs or spend excessive time storing or returning materials to the donor, or disposing of the materials.

The LLHR is not a self-service facility and no original materials in the History Room collection are allowed to leave the room. Researchers are allowed to use the materials in the LLHR during normal open hours. The docent on duty will retrieve information from the History Room files upon request and will re-shelve or re-file those items when the requestor is finished using them. The LLHR does not permit the photocopying of original photographs and does not permit photography or the use of any outside scanning equipment to copy or create an image of any materials in the LLHR collection. Users may photocopy items in the collection that are not subject to the no-photocopying restriction, but those users must abide by Federal copyright laws. The LLHR staff may refuse to allow photocopying of rare or fragile material as it may damage the item. In most cases, high resolution printing and reproduction by LLHR staff of digitized items is available for a fee.

Collection Maintenance & Weeding
The History Room Librarian is responsible for the local history collection, and supervises and controls the storage, access, and preservation of materials. When appropriate, materials are maintained in acid-free folders, enclosures, and containers. Significant attention will be given to the environmental quality within the LLHR, with reference to archiving and storage standards. The History Room Librarian will conduct a periodic review of the materials held in the local history collection, and may select items for removal based on condition and suitability to the collection.

Resolution and Disposal of Materials Deemed Unsuitable for the History Room Collection
The History Room Librarian will be responsible for gifting or otherwise disposing of any items deemed unsuitable or no longer suitable for the inclusion in the History Room collection. This includes all unwanted donated items unclaimed by the donor, items weeded from the collection or any other materials that do not meet the criteria outlined in this policy. The History Room Librarian will make a reasonable effort to find a suitable home for those materials deemed unsuitable for the History Room collection. These items may be offered to other libraries or organizations that express an interest in acquiring them. This includes, but is not limited to the main Library, the Friends of the Library or members of the Marin Archive Collective, which includes libraries, historical societies and museums in the county.

Policy Review
This policy will be reviewed annually, along with an overall evaluation of the collection, by the History Room Librarian, the City Librarian, and the Library Board of Trustees.


If you have any questions about the Collection Development and Donation Policies please contact the Interim History Room Librarian Cate Mayfield at 415-389-4292 x4738 or

Last updated: 6/16/2014 10:14:16 AM