Collections Policy


The purpose this policy is to state the principles upon which materials are chosen from the vast array of available resources, define responsibility for selection and provide direction for library staff. This policy also states the principles of collection maintenance including disposal, gifts and responding to suggestions and complaints from the public.


The Collection refers to all Library material resources (owned, leased or subscribed), regardless of physical location, and includes multiple formats including print, audiovisual and electronic works.

An electronic resource is defined as any work encoded and made available for access through the use of a computer.  It includes both online data and electronic data in physical formats (such as a CD-ROM).


1. Intellectual Freedom

1.1 It is the responsibility of the Library to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity. The Library will resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.

1.2 The Library complies with laws enacted at all levels of government and does not collect material that has been designated obscene or pornographic under the Criminal Code of Canada or has been banned by the courts.

1.3 The Library recognizes that some items in the collection may be regarded by certain individuals as controversial because of bias, frankness of language, political expression or moral implication. Selection will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval by any one sector of the community; but rather on the evaluation by the professional librarians of the material’s merit, authenticity, honesty of presentation, topical interest, use to the audience for whom it is intended and public demand.  The primary aim of selection is to establish a balanced collection which adequately represents various points of view upon many subjects.  While people have the right to reject material for themselves, they do not have the right to restrict the freedom of choice for others.

1.4 The Board does not advocate particular beliefs or points of view and the presence of an item in the collection does not indicate endorsement of its content.

2. Copyright

2.1 The Library adheres to the laws of Canada governing the copyright of materials when acquiring materials and observes and protects, as much as is possible, the legal copyright of materials in its collection.

2.2 The Library adheres to the conditions in signed agreements, such as leasing agreements and licenses for electronic resources. Negotiating contracts is the responsibility of the County Librarian and may be delegated to senior staff.

3. Acquisitions and Resource Sharing

3.1 The Library will provide a diversity of materials including items for entertainment and recreation as well as informational materials that stimulate ideas and facilitate understanding of many different subject areas and viewpoints. Huron County encompasses many diverse communities.  The needs, interests and points of view of Huron County residents range over the spectrum of all subjects relating to contemporary society.

3.2 Resource sharing is the cornerstone of county library service. All library members in good standing have access to the entire collection upon request, and through the regular exchange of materials between branches to refresh collections.

3.3 The size of a branch collection, and the types of material in the collection, will vary based on community needs, available resources, hours of operation and the space available to house it.

3.4 Materials may be purchased in multiple formats and languages as appropriate for the information contained and the changing needs of the community. When selecting methods and formats of information delivery, the Library will collect materials for a wide range of literacy levels and abilities.

3.5 As technology changes, resulting in new formats and methods of distributing information, the library collection will remain vital and current through phasing out old formats and methods and replacing them with ones that reflect current community needs.

3.6 Suggestions from the public for the acquisition of materials not in the library collection, will be considered using the selection criteria as established in this policy.

3.7 While the Library supports lifelong learning for all ages, it is the responsibility of institutions engaged in formal education to provide materials to support curricula. The library collection may meet the needs of school curricula but it is not a primary reason for selection.  Text books are neither included or excluded from the collection and may be purchased if they provide the best coverage of a subject.

3.8 Selection criteria includes, but is not limited to:

3.8.1 Suitability of physical form for library use

3.8.2 Relation to existing materials in collection

3.8.3 Availability of materials

3.8.4 Popular demand and current trends

3.8.5 Availability of funds and space

3.8.6 Need for balance of viewpoints in the collection

3.8.7 Quality of writing/recording/visual art

3.8.8 Reputation and artistry of the originator

3.8.9 Timeliness or permanence of work

3.8.10 Interests and composition of community served

3.8.11 Materials suitable for persons with visual, physical and other challenges

4. Scope of Collection

4.1 Children’s Collection

4.1.1 Separate collections and resources are selected for the interest, information and enjoyment of children, from birth to age twelve.

4.1.2 The Library believes in the intellectual freedom of the individual and the right of parents and legal guardians to develop, interpret and enforce their own code of ethics upon their minor children. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for children’s reading and viewing, not library staff.

4.1.3 Materials will be acquired for a range of reading abilities to meet the needs of developing readers.

4.2 Young Adult Collection

4.2.1 Collections are provided for the interest, information and enjoyment of young people ranging in age from twelve to eighteen years to ease the transition from children’s to adult literature.

4.3 Adult Collection

4.3.1 Access will not be denied to library materials or services based on age or reading level. Although collections may be selected and grouped separately, a library patron has access to any item in the collection. The selection of materials and formats for the adult collection will not be restricted by this open access policy.

5.Collection Maintenance

5.1 Physical access to materials will only be restricted to meet valid copyright restrictions, protect rare and fragile materials, or to reduce theft.

5.2 Some items may be restricted to in-library use to ensure ready reference (such as encyclopedias); to meet timely popular demand (such as newspapers); because their use requires special equipment (such as microfilm); they are fragile or irreplaceable or for other practical purposes.

5.3 Discarding materials

5.3.1 Discarding is an integral part of collection development. Discarding involves the continuous evaluation of the library collection by staff to remove materials that are worn out in ordinary use, outdated through the growth of knowledge, presented in obsolete formats, or seldom used because of changes in public taste.  Such items weaken the library collection and occupy valuable shelf space.  The replacement of these items will depend upon demand, availability of more current materials and whether or not the collection contains sufficient materials on the subject.

5.3.2 If suitable, discarded materials may be sold in library book sales, recycled, donated to local charities or otherwise disposed of in a manner deemed the most economical and efficient method available.

6. Canadian Materials

6.1 The Library has a responsibility to make Canadian materials available to the public and will endeavour to develop a collection which represents significant Canadian authors, artists, filmmakers and composers.

6.2 The Library will obtain copies of materials relating to Huron County. Works by, and about, local authors and material relating to the County, will be acquired, if they meet general standards of collection, and prove suitable to the needs of the community.

6.3 Canadiana Collection: The Library will maintain a collection of older, out-of-print Canadian materials to ensure they remain available for the use of Huron County residents.

6.4 The Library will collect material about Canadian Indigenous subjects and by Indigenous artists and writers.

7. Gifts

7.1 The Library welcomes gifts of materials if they meet selection criteria and do not violate any copyright or other laws. Unwanted materials in good condition may be accepted for sale in a library book sale. No condition may be imposed upon any book or other item after its acceptance.

7.2 The Library has the authority to refuse unsuitable gifts and to make whatever disposition of donated materials it deems appropriate.

8. Challenged Resources

8.1 An individual or group may wish to challenge an item in the collection by requesting that it be removed from the collection, that access to it be restricted or to otherwise object to its presence in the collection. Such a complaint must be in writing. The complaint may be a letter or the complainant may use the form: “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material”. (Appendix A).

8.2 This form may be completed online, emailed or mailed directly to the County Librarian or dropped off at any branch library. Branch staff will forward written complaints to the County Librarian.

8.3 The County Librarian, or delegated staff, will review the complaint and the challenged material.  A written response, consistent with the principles of the Collection Policy, will then be provided to the complainant.

Replacement Statement

This Policy replaces all earlier versions and comes into effect on the date approved.


Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (Section 2b)), Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982 being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, c.11.

Ontario. Public Libraries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.44.

Related Documents

Intellectual Freedom Statement

Resource Sharing Policy

Local Collection and Digitization Policy

Book Sale Policy

Donation Policy

Tangible Capital Asset Acquisition and Records, Treasury.



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    Collections Policy - Appendix A: Request for Reconsideration of Library Material