Collections Policy

Deselection 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  • Item’s subject is outdated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Items withdrawn from the collection are placed on sale annually or shipped to a reseller.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 Collection

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.

Access to Collections

Physical access to items will not be restricted except for the express purpose of protecting an item from damage or theft. Library customers of all ages shall have open access to all the Library’s collections with the following exceptions:

  • Films rated “R” or “18A” by the Ontario Film Review Board until 2019 and then by Consumer Protection BC and Games rated “M” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board are limited to customers 18 years of age or older.
  • Access to collections housed in the Local History and Archives Department is limited to customers 14 years of age and older. Users under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • In keeping with the Library’s The Rights of Children and Teens in the Public Library Policy, there is no restriction on the material that may be borrowed by children. Parents and/or those responsible for the child are responsible for the selection, usage and safe return of materials borrowed by their children.

Interlibrary Loan

The Hamilton Public Library Board recognizes the important value of the interlibrary  loan service to compliment HPL’s collections. HPL actively participates in resource sharing for the benefit of library customers across Ontario and Canada and to provide Hamilton Public Library customers with efficient access to information and materials not held in the HPL. Interlibrary loans are limited to those items that the library might not be expected to own. HPL does not depend upon another library to supply the normal needs of our customers. Customers have the option of requesting a “No Charge loan”. However, when the lending institution has charges to apply, customers must agree to pay up to $25 in charges when they place the request.  If the charge will exceed $25 the customer will be contacted. If an HPL customer loses an item borrowed from another library on their behalf they are responsible for all replacement charges from the lending institution.

Suggestion For Purchase, Donations or Gifts

  • Suggestions: We encourage customer participation in the shaping of our collections. Suggestions are referred and considered according to the Library's selection criteria.
  • Material Donations: Defined as items purchased commercially that are no longer needed by customers and organizations.  Offers to donate items to the Hamilton Public Library are appreciated. However, we do not accept them, because they place a financial toll on the system that supersedes any monetary gain from sale or enhancement to our collection.
  • Gift Copies from Local Authors: In an effort to support local authors, recording artists and film makers, we accept gift copies of their work as long as they are submitted in a format we currently support.  The library cannot accept imposed conditions relating to any item after its acceptance (e.g. consignment, return).  Items that are not added to the collection are not returned, but rather discarded or sold.  Items are considered for inclusion according to the Library's selection criteria.
  • Gifts to Local History & Archives: Gifts in this case are defined as original works or works of significant historical value being offered to the Library at no charge. We have a mandate to collect and preserve valuable items that pertain to Hamilton’s past and its culture. The Archives will accept historical material of any medium, including: textual records; photographs and other visual records; maps, plans and architectural records; and sound recordings and oral history recordings. Valuable items on Hamilton’s past are evaluated by staff in our Local History & Archives Department before being accepted.

Publish Date

November 2019