Materials Selection Policy

The purpose of this policy is to inform the public as to the principles and guidelines upon which decisions about the collection are made, to define responsibility for selection and de-selection and to guide staff in the development of collections that supports the mission and vision of Greater Sudbury Public Library.

The Library's goal in the selection of materials is to serve cultural, recreational, educational and informational needs of the community and to assess current unfilled requirements to anticipate future needs.


The Materials Selection Policy applies to all formats including print, non-print, and electronic materials for adult, teens and children.


This policy applies to any Library staff or organization that undertakes the selection or withdrawal of materials for the Library's collections and to all the Library staff involved with accepting and evaluating gifts to the branch collections.

Context for the Policy:

The selection of library materials for Greater Sudbury Public Library is driven by principles defined in the Library's Mission Statement. In adopting this policy, the Library Board endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations' Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries and the Ontario Library Association's Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual, Position on Children's Rights in the Public Library and the Position on Teen's Rights in the Public Library.

The Library Board, in establishing this Materials Selection Policy, was cognizant of Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees everyone the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.

Greater Sudbury Public Library provides 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, legal guardians or caregiver assigned are responsible for monitoring and limiting the use of library materials by their children, except in the case of "R" rated content 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.

Partnership collections may impose restricted access by the very nature of their scope; i.e. Ontario Genealogical Society Sudbury Chapter collection or Centre of Equitable Library Access (CELA).

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 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 by the public and current trends;
  • 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, classics in the subject area or genre;
  • Suitability of physical form for library use;
  • Canadian and local content.

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 of Greater Sudbury 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. If not added to the collection, donated materials will be disposed of by staff in the same way as other materials removed from the collection.

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 and Collection Maintenance:

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. The Library actively and continuously monitors the performance of the collection to balance both immediate demand and the long-term user needs.

Professional staff use their judgement and experience to withdraw the following from the collection:

  • Materials whose content is out-of-date and therefore potentially misleading;
  • Earlier editions of titles when more recent editions have been received;
  • Materials which are no longer of interest, as reflected in circulation history;
  • Materials that are damaged or in poor physical condition.
Materials of local historical importance and interest are retained when the content has enduring worth to the community.

Materials removed from the collection are disposed by staff in one of the ways:
  • Placed in the Library's used book sales;
  • Offered to Better World Books, an organization which supports literacy by selling used books online. The Library receives a percentage of the funds raised which are returned to the  materials budget;
  • Recycled.

Recommendations for Purchase:

The Library welcomes suggestions from the public of titles to add to the collection. These recommendations are considered using the same criteria for evaluation of materials outlined above.

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 Board recognizes the right of an individual or group to express opposition to an item in the collection. 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 Reconsideration of Library Materials form.

Decisions made about challenged materials will be communicated to the originators of the requests following completion of a formal staff review. Should an individual wish to pursue the challenge further, they may appeal to the Greater Sudbury Public Library Board.

Some of the Library's digital content is provided using third-party vendors. The Library subscribes to services in which third-party vendors, not Library staff, determines the specific titles or materials made available through the service. In these circumstances, the Library is unable to reconsider materials that Library users object to, but may inform the third-party vendor of user concerns and/or take these concerns into consideration in determining whether to continue using the vendor.

Approval Date: April 5, 2005; September 27, 2018
Effective Date: April 5, 2005
Revised Dates: April 18, 2018
Review Date: April 2021