Local History & Genealogy Collection Development Policy

About the Collection

The Westborough Public Library collects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to sources that document the history of Westborough and its inhabitants, government, environment, businesses, institutions, and organizations. The aim of this collection is to provide resources for town residents and researchers to explore the personal, historical, and cultural heritage of Westborough and its environs in meaningful and creative ways.


Collection Topics

The emphasis of the Local History and Genealogy Collection is on documenting Westborough’s government, settlement, industry, commerce, education, recreation, and historically significant individuals, as well as the history of its civic, religious, cultural, and social organizations. The collection supports activities related to historical and genealogical research, exhibits, community outreach, organizational events, and publications, among others. Genealogical materials help researchers trace their family backgrounds and/or aid in researching the history of individual town residents are also collected.


Primary Areas of Collecting

Primary areas of collecting include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Materials that record the history, development, and the current state of affairs of the Town of Westborough. Images of Westborough sites and individual residents are an important part of this collection.
  • Personal manuscripts and other materials that record the history, experiences, and ancestry of Westborough individuals and families.
  • Records that chronicle the history of Westborough organizations and institutions.
  • Materials that record the social and cultural heritage of past and present ethnic, immigrant, and religious groups in the community.
  • Materials that contribute to a better understanding of the area’s geography, demographics, and architecture.
  • Materials that record and provide context for understanding the lives of historically significant figures associated with the Town of Westborough.
  • Materials that provide instruction in the practice of genealogy, local history, preservation, oral history, and similar topics.

Acquisitions from any time period and in any language may be considered. The geographic scope of the collection focuses specifically on Westborough and its environs.

Current strengths of the collection include the history of settlement and early families of Westborough, historical photographs, genealogies of multi-generational Westborough families, maps of Westborough and surrounding areas, historical Westborough newspapers, records that document the military service of Westborough residents, the history of select churches, and information about historically significant Westborough residents, including the Rev. Ebenezer Parkman and Eli Whitney.

The collection is currently weak in documenting the history, culture, and lives of Westborough’s immigrant and ethnic groups, the development of commerce and agriculture in town, and the activities of town organizations and institutions. Donations to the collection that focus on these subject areas are especially welcome.


Preferred Formats

Formats collected include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Atlases
  • Audio recordings
  • Biographical dictionaries
  • Books
  • Broadsides
  • Brochures
  • Census records
  • City & county histories
  • Digital files
  • Ephemera
  • Government documents
  • Institutional or organizational records
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Newspapers
  • Organizational directories
  • Pamphlets
  • Periodicals & journals
  • Personal letters, memoirs, diaries, account books, & financial records
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Serials
  • Town directories
  • Video recordings

Three dimensional artifacts will not be added to the collection unless, in rare instances, they are deemed appropriate to the collection and can be properly housed and displayed. In most cases, the Westborough Historical Society or the Westborough Historical Commission will be a more appropriate destination for such items.


Selection Criteria

  • Relevance to the local history
  • Available space to house the materials
  • Non-duplication of material within the collection
  • Authenticity & completeness of record
  • Quality of the physical form of material
  • Ease of use for patrons
  • Available space to house the materials
  • Ability to store, display, or otherwise care for the item properly
  • Cost to preserve, store, and process
  • Security requirements to store and/or display
  • Lack of restrictions by donor

Donations / Deed of Gift

The Library welcomes donations to its Local History and Genealogy Collection. Each donation to the collection will be recorded in a donor file that will contain a copy of the Deed of Gift and all correspondence and memoranda relating to the transaction.

All donors must complete a Deed of Gift Form in order to establish the transfer of ownership of donated materials (and copyright, if appropriate) to the Library. The transfer to the Library of the copyright owned by donors in individual items makes it easier for the Library and its users to use the items in unique and creative ways. Once the Deed of Gift is signed by the donor, the donated material becomes the unrestricted property of the Library.

The Library reserves the right to refuse an offered donation. The Library will not accept material that shows damage from mold, mildew, water, insects, smoke, or dirt, as such material can harm other items in the collection. The Library may also refuse a donation based on the Selection Criteria.

The Library reserves the right to decide how the donated material will be displayed or stored, how the material may be used by the public, and how long the material will be retained.

Donated materials may be scanned and placed on the Internet for viewing or otherwise reformatted. They may also be moved from the Local History and Genealogy Collection to other sections of the library, sold, transferred to another library, or discarded.

The Library will not, and cannot, conduct any monetary appraisals for donors nor give tax advice. If donors plan to take a tax deduction for their donations, they should consult a tax accountant or attorney. Any monetary appraisals are the responsibility of the donor and should be conducted before transferring materials to the Library.


Accessibility

The Local History and Genealogy Collection is mainly housed in the Westborough Room, which is open for public use during normal Library hours. Every effort is made to make the collection as accessible to the public as possible, but due to the nature of this collection, materials are non-circulating and must be used inside the Westborough Room. Users of the collection must consult with a librarian before removing items from the Westborough Room for any reason.  Irreplaceable, fragile, or valuable materials may be locked away in order to ensure their long-term future use, but these materials can easily be accessed in some cases online or through the help of a librarian.

Policies regarding photocopying and the reproduction of items are spelled out in the Reproduction Policy for Historical Materials. Anyone who copies or reproduces materials from the collection should be aware of Title 17 and especially the provisions of Section 108 of the U.S. Code (Copyright Law) and takes full responsibility for complying with it. A librarian can help point users to resources that can aid in determining a work’s copyright status. Library staff may refuse to allow the photocopying or reproduction of fragile material.


Reappraisal & Deaccession

From time to time, the Local History and Genealogy Collection will be reappraised, and the deaccession of some materials may take place. The Library will offer the deaccessioned materials to other institutions if appropriate, sell the items, or discard them.