The public library is a place where ideas and thoughts are freely available, and the appropriate place for these discussions is within the library's collections and not in display areas. This policy conforms to the Canadian Library Association's Statement of Intellectual Freedom (2015) and does not imply the approval or endorsement of any material that is posted.
All material becomes the property of the Hamilton Public Library and the Library reserves the right to dispose of material as it sees fit. The Library does not return unsolicited material or notify a group if their material is not acceptable for any reason, including lack of space.
After the needs of the Library and the City of Hamilton are met, each library branch may elect to provide a Community Events Board for information about events that serve the needs of its local community. The amount of information that may be displayed in this manner is dependent upon space available and may vary by library branch.
Unsolicited material may be accepted for display if it meets all of these criteria:
- It describes a public educational, recreational, cultural, or community interest event.
- It is of local interest, occurring in the Hamilton area and relevant to the branch's local community.
- It is in support of a legally constituted non-profit or charitable organization or a government-supported agency such as the Board of Education.
Materials that are not acceptable for display at any location include:
- Retail or wholesale advertisements, private notices, personal services and information about money-making events sponsored by for-profit organizations.
- Material that contravenes the Human Rights Code, the Charter of Rights, the Criminal Code of Canada, City of Hamilton bylaws, or subsequent legislation.
- Material that advocates a particular political, religious or philosophic position.
- Petitions and solicitations including all fundraising activities and events.
- Material inappropriate in size (larger than 8 1/2" x 11") and format, or that is received less than 14 days in advance of an event.
- Material, as determined by staff, not relevant to their immediate community.
A branch library may elect to distribute copies of their local community newspaper (e.g. Dundas Star) if the newspaper agrees to provide an acceptable distribution stand. A branch may also elect to distribute publications from major cultural organizations and educational institutions such as college calendars and Stratford or Shaw Festival events. The availability of these as a branch location is dependent upon space and appropriate distribution facilities. These items may not be placed at circulation or information desks, or on the floor, and should not take visual precedence over Library or City of Hamilton information.
Material (one copy) should be dropped off or mailed directly to the relevant branch library (Attention: Displays), or to the appropriate Central Library Department. Branch staff may determine what is posted within these guidelines.
As an interim strategy, copies (maximum 25) may be left in the distribution bin on the 4th floor for distribution by the Communications & Community Development to relevant branches, with the understanding that these are shipped only as space and staff time permit.