Collections Policy


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 background
  • 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.

Request 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 Resident Request for Reconsideration of Service form.