This policy outlines Halton Hills Public Library’s commitment to developing and maintaining physical and digital collections that will empower our community through ideas, creativity, and connection while supporting the mission and values of the Halton Hills Public Library. 

The policy provides general guidelines for:

  • The selection of library materials and resources
  • Defining selection responsibilities and delegation of those responsibilities
  • Outlining a process for items in the collection that are challenged by the public
  • Establishing criteria for recommended selection and deselection of materials
Guiding principles

HHPL’s collection is designed to promote literacy and enhance the community’s diverse businesses, cultures, and heritage while supporting both learning and leisure. HHPL provides collections that include popular materials, general knowledge, and materials to support literacy and lifelong learning for all ages.

The library may provide materials and resources in languages other than English and French, according to demand. The decision to establish or discontinue a language collection is based on census data, patron requests, available budget, and other supporting statistical evidence.

The Halton Hills Public Library Board endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ (CFLA) Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries (Appendix 2). This statement supports and promotes the fundamental rights of all Canadians to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity and to express their thoughts publicly. HHPL supports and complies with the following additional guidelines and policies.

  • CFLA Access to Information and Communication Technology
  • CFLA Public Access to the Internet.
  • CFLA Telecommunications Policy
  • Ontario Library Association (OLA) Statement on Intellectual Freedom and the Intellectual Rights of the Individual
  • OLA Position on Children’s Rights in the Library
  • OLA Position on Teens’ Rights
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act
  • Canadian Copyright Act
  • Relevant HHPL Board Policies
Responsibility of selection

The Chief Librarian & CEO is responsible for material selection, evaluation, and maintenance. The responsibility is delegated to qualified and knowledgeable staff members who also decide on the appropriate branch location for selected materials. HHPL is not able to provide the exact same selection of materials at all locations, however, materials can be accessed from any library service location through the inter-branch courier system.

Selection criteria

The professional judgment of library staff guides the selection of materials and services, taking into account community needs and interests, available resources within the library and neighboring libraries, the library’s technical capability to support different formats, and specific criteria related to the author, publisher, and content of the publication.

Materials needed for formal courses of study by elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools are not purchased unless they provide the best coverage of a subject and are useful to the public.

Material is selected based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Selection by vendors based on detailed profiles developed by staff for specific subject areas or formats - titles selected by vendors are monitored by staff
  • Reputation of the publisher or authoritativeness of the creator and their significance as a writer, filmmaker, etc.             
  • Comments of professional and independent critics and reviewers
  • Relationship to the existing collection
  • Adequate breadth and depth of coverage
  • Availability of similar material from other sources, including from within the community and/or from other libraries
  • Budgetary and space considerations
  • Format of materials
  • Quality of writing and visual art
  • Development and promotion of multiple voices to reflect diversity and inclusivity
  • Anticipated or expressed needs and interests of the community

Selection guidelines for digital resources also include:

  • Ease of access
  • Hardware/network requirements
  • Comparison of content with other available formats
  • Licensing requirements and restrictions
  • Staff training and customer assistance requirements
  • Cost considerations in relation to the overall development of the collection
Local history collection

HHPL is committed to collecting and preserving materials that celebrate the history and heritage of the Town of Halton Hills and describe the area’s growth and development. The library accepts a wide variety of works related to Halton Hills and works by local authors, whether or not they meet the standard selection criteria. The library is not obligated to add everything about the area or everything that is produced by local authors, printers, or publishers if it is not in the public interest.

New formats

Careful consideration is given to introducing new formats to the library collection. Before introducing a new format, the library examines budget considerations, community needs, and the impact on existing resources. To responsibly accommodate trends in user demands and changes in technology, the selection of materials in any new format may result in the library’s decision to retire specific items or replace material formats from its collections.

Purchase suggestions
Patrons may request the purchase of specific materials by completing the Suggest a Purchase form on HHPL’s website. Library staff review all suggestions and the decision whether or not to purchase is made based on the principles and criteria outlined in this policy. If items do not align with the library’s selection criteria or are unavailable for purchase, patrons may still obtain them through the Interlibrary Loan Service.
Deselection of materials

Collections are assessed on an ongoing basis to ensure that materials continue to meet the principles and criteria outlined in this policy. Collections are maintained by identification of gaps, deselection and the replacement of certain materials as needed. Deselection is the withdrawal of items from the collection that are in poor condition, contain old or inaccurate information, or are no longer of interest to the public.

To keep the collection relevant and attractive, materials are withdrawn when they are:

  • Outdated
  • Worn/Damaged
  • Redundant
  • Duplicates that are no longer needed due to reduced demand
  • Items that are no longer circulating
  • Materials that are no longer relevant to the needs of the community
  • Superseded editions of specific items
  • Items that are available elsewhere, including other libraries and online
  • The number of items in the collection on a particular subject

Replacement of items depends upon the demand for that particular item, the availability of more current materials on the subject, and the extent of coverage of the subject in the collection.

Deselection guidelines will be applied to all Library materials including donations and works by local authors.

Withdrawn materials will generally be sold in-branch by the Friends of the Halton Hills Public Library, donated to other organizations, or recycled.

Reconsideration of material

Collections are assessed on an ongoing basis to ensure that materials continue to meet the principles and criteria outlined in this policy. To maintain collections, gaps are identified, and certain materials are deselected and, in some cases, replaced as necessary. Deselection is the withdrawal of items from the collection that are in poor condition, contain old or inaccurate information, or are no longer of interest to the public.

To ensure the collection remains relevant and appealing, materials are withdrawn when they meet the following criteria:

  • Outdated
  • Worn or damaged
  • Redundant
  • Duplicates that are no longer needed to fill demand
  • Items that are no longer circulating
  • Materials that are no longer relevant to the needs of the community
  • Superseded editions of specific items
  • Items that are available elsewhere, including other libraries and online
  • The number of items in the collection on a particular subject

The decision to replace items depends on the demand for that item, the availability of more current materials on the subject, and the extent of coverage of the subject in the collection.

Deselection guidelines will be applied to all library materials including donations and works by local authors.

Withdrawn materials are sold in-branch by the Friends of the Halton Hills Public Library, donated to other organizations, or recycled.

No endorsement on content

Material selection is made without bias towards subject matter, ideology, point of view, or frankness of language. Inclusion in the collection does not imply an endorsement by the library. HHPL’s choice of material does not constitute an endorsement of the material’s content or viewpoint. The library avoids knowingly acquiring materials that the Canadian courts have found to be obscene, constitute hate propaganda, or are seditious.

HHPL complies with all laws enacted at the federal, provincial, or municipal level. It therefore does not collect or maintain items that have been deemed obscene or pornographic or banned by the courts.

HHPL will not mark items to show approval or disapproval or remove parts of any materials.

Access to collections

HHPL recognizes that the choice and use of materials rests with the individual library patron HHPL will not take on the responsibility for acting in loco parentis by controlling the use of library material by minors.  While library patrons may consult with staff in selecting resources, it will be the responsibility of parents or guardians to determine the suitability of material for minors in their care.

Inter-library loan

HHPL recognizes the important value of the Interlibrary Loan service to complement library collections. Halton Hills Public Library actively participates in resource sharing to benefit library users across Ontario and Canada and to provide users with efficient access to information and materials not held in the collection.

Gifts and donations

HHPL accepts gifts of materials provided they are suitable for the needs of the library. Materials including self-published material and those of local creators that are obtained as gifts will be added to the library collection only if they meet the same criteria outlined in this policy for inclusion in the library collection.

If accepted, the materials become the property of the HHPL and will be managed according to library procedures and policies. The donor may not impose any conditions on the library relating to any accepted items. If materials are not accepted, they will be appropriately disposed of by staff, which may include recycling, or donating to the Friends of the Library or other organizations.

HHPL helps patrons honour or recognize special individuals or events through financial donations. Monetary gifts will be used at the library’s discretion to select materials that meet the principles and criteria outlined in this policy. Materials purchased through financial donations are not exempt from deselection.

Revised/Approved: March 27, 2024

Next Scheduled Review: May 2028