Collections Policy

Selection

Items are selected:

  • to meet  the recreational needs and interests of the community
  • to enrich human understanding by celebrating the diversity of our community through inclusion of various cultural, ethnic, religious and philosophical backgrounds
  • to educate and support lifelong learning
  • to recognize and accommodate a range of education levels and abilities
  • to inspire a love of reading, learning and creativity
  • to collect and preserve materials which illustrate the growth and development of the City of Hamilton, that celebrate its history and heritage or that pertain in whole or in part to activities within the geographic boundaries of the City of Hamilton

Criteria for Selection of Materials:

  • suitability of physical and/or digital form for library use
  • relation to existing collections and other materials on a subject
  • accessibility of materials in other libraries, for free via the internet, or from other easily and freely accessible resources
  • interests and composition of the community
  • popular and/or anticipated demand and current trends
  • attention of critics, reviewers, and the public
  • quality, clarity, comprehensiveness and accuracy of the work
  • reputation, skill, competence and purpose of the originator of the work
  • special value as a contribution to social questions and problems of continuing or topical interest
  • timeliness or permanence of the work
  • availability of funds and space
  • balance of viewpoints in the collection including those considered extreme or minority

An item need not meet all of the above criteria in order to be acceptable. Items that do not meet these criteria may be purchased to satisfy demand.  The Local History and Archives department will only accept material on a permanent basis, except when borrowing material for short-term loans to reproduce or to include in displays or exhibits.

 

Requests for Removal of Items

The Hamilton Public Library recognizes the right of individuals to express opposition to author or artists’ ideas or to their creative expression in items selected for the library.  While people have the right to reject for themselves items of which they do not approve, they do not have the right to restrict the freedom of others. The Hamilton Public Library is a resource where many points of view and modes of expression can be examined without hindrance. No ideas or opinions have universal acceptance and the use of language or visual depiction, either descriptive or expressive, can in itself stimulate controversy.

The Hamilton Public Library complies with any law enacted at the federal, provincial or municipal level, and therefore does not collect or maintain items which have been judged obscene or pornographic, or have been banned by the courts. The relevant sections of the Criminal Code of Canada are: sedition, hate propaganda and obscenity.

The presence of an item in the collection does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the Hamilton Public Library, but rather is an affirmation of the principle of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries.

The following will not cause an item to be automatically included or excluded from the collection:

  • race, religion, nationality or political views of an author
  • frankness or coarseness of language
  • controversial content
  • endorsement or disapproval of an individual or group
  • language in which the work is written or spoken

If a customer feels that an item in our collection falls outside the criteria outlined in this policy, they are invited to complete a Request for Reconsideration Form.

 

De-selection and Collection Maintenance

The library strives to maintain strong physical collections while growing or providing access to content that reflects the increasing demand for information, books, music and videos in digital formats.

The Library continually identifies items from its collections for discard based upon the following criteria:

  • Item’s subject is outdated
  • Item is no longer of interest or in demand
  • Overabundance of an item or subject as interest wanes
  • Worn or damaged copies

Once an item has been identified for possible deselection based on the criteria above, the process of determining if an item still deserves a place in the library’s collection begins.  Retention is based on the following criteria:

  • Is it of local, regional, or national significance, including works of local or Canadian authors, artists, recording artists or film makers and works pertaining to local history?
  • Is it a work by a famous author, artist, recording artist, film maker or universally accepted as a classic work?
  • Is it unique to the collection in that there is little or no information available on that topic elsewhere and is the information still relevant and useful?

Items withdrawn from the collection are placed on sale annually or shipped to a reseller.

Local History & Archives Collections

Material added to the Local History & Archives collection shall be held until such time as it is deemed no longer relevant and is de-accessioned.  All information pertaining to the de-accessioning and disposition of material will be retained in the Archives' records.

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