Materials Selection Policy

Public libraries meet our citizens' intellectual, educational and recreational needs for information, and the access to these resources is free in the most democratic and humane senses of the word. The purpose of the Materials Selection Policy is to ensure the planned and systematic growth, development and maintenance of library collections that meet the citizen's need for information and which are of interest, value and significance to the community while preserving each individual's right to intellectual freedom.

Ongoing material selection activities are founded on staff familiarity with existing collections, their awareness of the needs of library users, and their knowledge of retrospective, current and future trends in informational and recreational materials suitable for public library use.

The purpose of the Greater Sudbury Public Library Materials Selection Policy is to guide staff in the acquisition of material that is of current interest and/or of lasting value to existing and potential library users. The policy is also intended to familiarize library users with the principles upon which selection decisions are made for Greater Sudbury Public Library collections.

The Materials Selection Policy applies to all formats including print, non-print, audio-visual and electronic materials.

Context for the Policy

The selection of library materials for Greater Sudbury Public Library is driven by principles defined in the Greater Sudbury Public Library Mission Statement and is further supported by the Canadian Library Association's Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and the Ontario Library Association's Position on Children's Rights in the Public Library. These documents are appended to this policy.

Greater Sudbury Public Library endeavors to provide equitable access to its extensive collections through a multi-tiered service delivery model which rationalizes the location, scope and focus of collections. The library materials budget is maximized through coordinated and controlled expenditure.

Responsibility for Selection Activities

While overall responsibility for library collections rests with the Director of Libraries and Citizen Services, the responsibility for selection of materials is vested in the office of the Manager of Library and Heritage Resources which delegates this professional activity to qualified and knowledgeable resource staff.

Non-Endorsement of Content Statement

Selection of an item for a library collection does not constitute endorsement by Greater Sudbury Public Library of either the content or viewpoint expressed in that item.

Access to Collections

Except where limited by law, children are entitled to borrowing privileges and open and ready access to materials and facilities provided by Greater Sudbury Public Library. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for monitoring and limiting the use of library materials by their children, except in the case of "R" rated videos where the Library will monitor to 18 years of age. Greater Sudbury Public Library may control use of any collection material in order to protect items deemed susceptible to theft or damage by users or to ensure the widest possible use of materials by library customers.

Certain "partnership collections" will impose restricted access by the very nature of their scope; i.e. Ontario Genealogical Society Sudbury Chapter collection or the Canadian Institute for the Blind's talking books.

The library does not mark selected materials in order to indicate approval or disapproval of item contents or attempt to censor information contained in selected items.

Collection Development Goals

Library materials in both official languages are selected to meet our citizens'intellectual, educational and recreational needs for information by providing materials that:

  • support lifelong learning
  • ensure easy and open access to information
  • support a physically, intellectually, socially and ecologically healthy community
  • introduce and develop understanding of our world
  • amaze, amuse and create a sense of wonder
  • entertain library users all of whom have unique reading, viewing and listening interests

Selection Criteria

Defined below are criteria which will be used for the development of library collections.

  • availability of funds and space
  • relation to existing collections and other material on the subject
  • availability of material in other libraries in the community
  • interests and cultural composition of the community
  • popular demand and current needs
  • quality of writing and/or visual art
  • reputation, skill, competence and purpose of the originator of the work
  • comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  • clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation
  • balance of viewpoints in the collection
  • timeliness or permanence of the work
  • suitability of physical form for library use

The decision to purchase material which might be objectionable to some people because of language, subject matter or moral attitude will be guided by qualified reviews and based on an assessment of the author's general intent.

The library recognizes the purposes and resources of other information agencies in the city and does not needlessly duplicate materials.

Library materials will be purchased in both English and French using a formula based on demographics and circulation which reflects community needs and the availability of materials.

Exclusions From Selection

Greater Sudbury Public Library does not keep, acquire or purchase material that violates the Criminal Code definitions of "obscene material", "hate propaganda" or "seditious material" as defined by case law interpreting those provisions, including the application of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

No material will be excluded from selection solely because of the "race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, receipt of public assistance, political affiliation, disability, level of literacy, language and/or socio-economic status" of the creator of the work.

No materials are excluded from selection for library collections solely because they may come into the possession of a child.

Textbooks and curriculum-related works are not purchased unless they are considered useful to the general reader as an introduction to a subject, are the only source of information, or because their content is considered essential to a library collection.

Greater Sudbury Public Library does not buy "infomercials", i.e. items of a mainly promotional nature, for circulation.

Gifts and Donations

The Library welcomes gifts of materials from individuals or groups. The same criteria and guidelines contained in the materials selection policy are used to evaluate gifts. It is understood that gifts are freely given without conditions attached, unless specifically negotiated beforehand. The library retains the right to keep, to dispose of or to refer to another institution any donations of materials.

New Format

Careful consideration is given to the introduction of new formats to Greater Sudbury Public Library collections. Budget considerations, community needs and the probable impact on existing resources are all reviewed before items are selected and introduced to collections in a new format.

The selection of material in any new format may result in the library's decision to retire specific items or material formats from its collections in order to responsibly accommodate trends in user demands and/or changes in technology.

De-Selection Activities

Materials are regularly assessed for their condition, accuracy, currency, performance within the context of the library collection in which they are located and relevance to library users. The withdrawal of materials from any collection is a formal process conducted by knowledgeable staff as a necessary means to maintain collection vitality, size and scope.

Customer Requests

Library users may place written requests for the purchase of collection materials. All suggested purchases are reviewed by library resource staff who applies to the customer request the same selection criteria that are applied to all materials purchased by Greater Sudbury Public Library.

Inter-Library Loan Services

Unavailable materials can be requested by library customers from other library systems by using Inter-Library Loan services. Fees for the service occasionally apply. Application for inter-library loan service can be made at any library branch.

Reconsideration of Materials

The Library believes that a vital society encourages members of its community to actively participate in an open exchange of ideas and opinions. Material selectors consequently strive to provide the widest possible range of resources within Greater Sudbury Public Library collections.

The content or manner of expressing ideas in material that is purposely selected to fill the needs of some library users, may, on occasion, be considered to be offensive by other library users. The library recognizes the right of any individual or group to reject library material for personal use, but does not accord to any individual or group the right to restrict the freedom of others to make use of that same material.

Library users who object to materials located in a library collection are asked to complete a request for the reconsideration of the materials.

Decisions made about challenged materials will be communicated to the originators of the requests following completion of a formal staff review. 

Revised April 5, 2005