Materials Selection Policy

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide staff with the necessary guidelines to assist them in the development of collections to meet Library goals and to inform the public about the principles by which materials are selected for inclusion in the Library collections. This policy is the basis for collection evaluation, planning and budgeting.

2.0. Goals

Library materials in both official languages are selected to meet the intellectual, educational and recreational needs of our patrons. The Library is committed to providing equitable access to ideas and knowledge, making the collections accessible to people with disabilities by offering a variety of alternative formats.


3.0 Role of the Library

The Main Branch acts as the main resource Library for the entire City of Timmins.  It has a diverse and extensive collection, including a large collection of French materials and three special collections. (See 14.0)  In addition, the collection includes a variety of materials pertaining to the indigenous culture, with emphasis on Northern Ontario content and perspective.


The C.M. Shields Centennial Branch Library in South Porcupine provides a general collection for all age groups in the immediate neighbourhood and a general reference collection which will answer most questions.  The collection is broad in scope, but has fewer materials in all areas due to limited space.  The emphasis is on up-to-date, popular materials and regular weeding is a priority.


4.0 Scope

The Library develops collections which include, but are not limited to, the following areas: fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adult (YA) and juvenile, magazines, picture books, music, local history and local interest, adult literacy, and government documents.


Recognized, professional standards will be used to determine the appropriate size of the collection.  Planning for budgets and facilities must reflect these standards.


The collections be balanced and represent diverse points of view and may include materials that some members of the public consider to be controversial in nature.


However, selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disproval, but solely on the evaluation by staff of the item’s merit, authenticity, honesty of presentation and use to the community.


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.


The presence of an item in the Library does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of its content.


5.0 Responsibility for Selection

The Board delegates responsibility for the selection and withdrawal of Library material to the CEO.  The CEO may in turn delegate this task to qualified staff.  In selecting material, staff will use professional resources, judgement, knowledge, experience and expertise.


Staff will proactively solicit advice from, as well as anticipate the needs and interests of the community.


6.0 General Principles of Selection

6.1 Intellectual Freedom

In adopting this policy, the Board endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries (Appendix A) and the Ontario Library Association’s Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual. (Appendix B)


6.2 Selection Criteria

The following criteria are used to select and retain materials for the collection.  All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of these standards.  Items need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable:


  1. Recommendations by reviewers and critics
  2. Public demand and current trends
  3. Authority or significance of author
  4. Relationship of subject to existing collection
  5. Current and potential relevance to community needs and interests
  6. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  7. Artistic excellence, literary merit, technical quality, quality of presentation
  8. Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation
  9. Suitability of format for Library use
  10. Accessibility criteria and features
  11. Budgetary and space priorities
  12. Availability of materials at other libraries


6.3 Canadian Content

Special consideration is given to materials with Canadian content, that record the Canadian experience or that relate to life in Canada or the lives and works of Canadians.


6.4 The Library and the Education Community

It is the responsibility of institutions engaged in formal education to provide materials which supports their curricula.  It may happen that materials collected by the Library meet the needs of school projects, but this is not the primary reason for their selection.  Textbooks 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.


7.0 Organization of the Collection

7.1 Classification

In order for the Library collection to be of maximum use and value to Library patrons, the collection is organized in such a way as to facilitate access to it. This is achieved through a logical and systematic physical arrangement of individual items and through the provision of indexes and catalogues for public use, and inside signage.


The majority of non-fiction collections are organized by the Dewey Decimal System.  The fiction and biography collections are arranged alphabetically by author and subject respectively.


7.2 Cataloguing

Bibliographic records are obtained primarily via copy cataloguing and preference is given to those methods requiring the least staff time. In some instances, bibliographic records are developed through original cataloguing.


8.0 eResources

The virtual branch library collection provides a wide range of electronic resources in both English and French to serve all ages and interests of the community. The majority of electronic titles are selected through consortiums, with the Library purchasing supplementary titles, budget permitting.


9.0 Child Access

No materials are excluded from selection solely because they may come into the possession of a child. Responsibility for children’s use of materials rests with their parents and legal guardians.


10.0 Local Authors/Self-Published Authors

The Library occasionally receives requests from regional and local authors to add their books to its collection, which they have self-published or published at their own expense. Although this type of publishing is experiencing rapid growth, these books often do not meet the requirements outlined in this policy to be candidates for the Library’s permanent collection. They typically have not received reviews in standard published sources and may not meet the criteria that the Library normally sets for inclusion in its collections.


The Library wishes to recognize the literary efforts of local authors by including their works in its collections.


Guidelines for local author designation are as follows:

  1. Each book must be approved by the CEO or Assistant Library Director before being accepted.
  2. Authors must be residents of the City of Timmins or the book must take place in Timmins or otherwise demonstrate a strong local connection or interest.
  3. Books of regional interest may also be considered.
  4. Works of nonfiction – excluding memoirs or inspirational works – should be accompanied by a professional review.
  5. Unpublished works such as manuscripts, pamphlets and other unbound material will not be accepted.
  6. Books will be accepted as donations from the author or publisher.
  7. At the discretion of the Library, a book may be considered for purchase if published reviews in standard sources are available or there is strong evidence of appropriateness.


11.0  Suggestions

Suggestions from patrons are always welcomed and are given due consideration.  Every attempt will be made to respond to public suggestions for purchase of books or other materials, in accordance with this policy. Forms are available at the Library or online at:


12.0 Donations

The Library accepts books and other material donations. Due to the large volume of donations that we receive, we are only able to accept material that is in good condition and that falls into one of the following categories:


  • Hardcover books that have been published last five years;
  • Paperbacks that have been published in the last three years;
  • Local History materials;
  • DVDs, CDs, audio books on CD, language kits.


Donations are added to the collection according to same criteria guidelines used for purchased selections. Materials not added may be sold, donated or recycled. The Library is not responsible for informing donors of the disposition of their donation.


The Library reserves the right to refuse any donation and any conditions placed upon them.


Tax receipts are not issued for donations of materials.


Donations of money will be accepted with the understanding that selections of items will be made in accordance with the established material selection policy. Official tax receipts for cash donations will be issued upon request.


13.0 Withdrawal and Replacement of Items

An up-to-date, attractive and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and replacement process. Selected materials are regularly assessed and may be withdrawn based on the following criteria:

  • Condition;
  • Accuracy;
  • Currency;
  • Usage, within the context of the Library collection;
  • Relevance to Library users.


Community or regional interest and availability of newer and more up-to-date materials are also of prime consideration. Material of local historical importance and interest is retained where the content has enduring worth to the community.


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. Withdrawn material may be sold, donated to better the community or recycled.  Replacement depends on the demand for the title, the availability of more current materials on the subject, and the extent of the coverage of the subject in the collection.


14.0 Special Collections

14.1 Local History Collection

This collection of over 500 volumes specializes in material relating to the history of the City Timmins.  It is important to note that the Library does not intend for this collection to be comprehensive or archival.


14.2 Geology Collection

This collection of over 3,700 volumes consists of historical geological publications, technical materials, texts, maps and journals.  This valuable resource of mining geology is available to the local mining community as well as to local students or others who have an interest in this field.


14.3 Genealogy Collection

This collection of over 1,400 volumes of research material is comprised of marriage, baptism and burial records, local histories, genealogies of specific families, notary records, genealogy dictionaries, and more.


15.0 Requests for Reconsideration

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 Timmins 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 intellectual freedom of others.  It is the right of parents and legal guardians to develop, interpret and enforce their own code of ethics upon their minor children.


  1. A resident expressing a concern about any item in the collection will be directed to Library management. If, after discussing the matter, the resident wishes to request that the item be reconsidered, he/she will be given a copy of the Library Materials Selection Policy with the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials (Appendix C)


  1. The completed form will be forwarded to the CEO who will review the material in question with pertinent staff members. A response will be given within 30 days. Decisions made about challenged materials will reflect the principles outlined in this policy.


  1. If the resident finds the resolution unsatisfactory, they may request that the CEO bring the matter to the next Board meeting for discussion. Decisions made about challenged materials will reflect the principles outlined in this policy.




Appendix A – Canadian Federation of Library Associations Statement on Intellectual Freedom

Appendix B – Ontario Library Association Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual

Appendix C – Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials


Appendix A

Canadian Federation of Library Associations Statement on Intellectual Freedom


All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, subject only to the Constitution and the law to have access of the full range of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, and to express their thoughts publicly. Only the courts may abridge free expression rights in Canada.


The Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms further that libraries have a core responsibility to support, defend, and promote the universal principles of intellectual freedom and privacy.


The Canadian Federation of Library Associations holds that libraries are a key institution in Canada for rendering expressive content accessible and affordable to all.  Libraries are essential gateways for all persons living in Canada to advance themselves through literacy, lifelong learning, social engagement, and cultural enrichment.


Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable. To this end, and in accordance with their mandates and professional values and standards, libraries provide, defend, and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.


Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and foster free expression and the right to safe and welcoming places and conditions. To this end, libraries make available their public spaces and services to individuals and groups without discrimination.


Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and defend privacy in the individual’s pursuit of expressive content. To his end, libraries protect the identities and activities of library users except when required by the courts to cede them.


Furthermore, in accordance with established library policies, procedure and due process, libraries resist efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.


Library employees, volunteers and employers as well as library governing entities have a core responsibility to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in the performance of their respective roles.


Approval History: ~ June 27, 1974 Amended November 17, 1983; November 18, 1985; and September 27, 2015


Appendix B


Ontario Library Association Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual


In affirming its commitment to the fundamental rights of intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and freedom of the press, as embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Library Association declares its acceptance of the following propositions:


  1. That the provision of library service to the public is based upon the right of the citizen, under the protection of the law, to judge individually on questions of politics, religion and morality.
  2. That intellectual freedom requires freedom to examine other ideas and other interpretations of life than those currently approved by the local community or by society in general, and including those ideas and interpretations, which may be unconventional or unpopular.
  3. That freedom of expression includes freedom for a creator to depict what is ugly, shocking and unedifying in life.
  4. That free traffic in ideas and opinions is essential to the health and growth of a free society and that the freedom to read, listen and view is fundamental to such free traffic.
  5. That it is the responsibility of libraries to maintain the right of intellectual freedom and to implement it consistently in the selection of books, periodicals, films, recordings, other materials, and in the provision of access to electronic sources of information including access to the Internet
  6. That it is therefore part of the library’s service to its public to resist any attempt by any individual or group within the community it services to abrogate or curtail access to information, the freedom to read, view and listen by demanding the removal of, or restrictions to library information sources in any format
  7. That it is equally part of the library’s responsibility to its public to ensure that its selection of material is not unduly influenced by the personal opinions of the selectors, but determined by the application of generally accepted standards of accuracy, style and presentation


1998; reaffirmed by OLA Board of Directors, December 2005.



Appendix C –  Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Name of person making request:_____________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________

Email: __________________________________________________________________________

Telephone: ______________________________________________________________________

Complainant represents:

Self _____

Or; name of organization or other group ______________________________________________

Material being questioned:

¨ Book      ¨ Magazine      ¨ DVD    ¨ Audio CD     ¨ Other ______________­­­­_______________

Title: __________________________________________________________________________


Publisher: _______________________________________ Date: __________________________


  1. Have you read, heard or seen this material in its entirety? If not, what parts did you read/hear/see?


  1. To what do you object in this work? (Please be specific; cite page numbers or sections)



  1. Did you read the book jacket, CD or video cover or other information before checking out the material? YES / NO If yes, did it provide sufficient information regarding the material?


  1. Have you read criticisms or reviews of this item? If yes, please list them.


  1. Have you read the Timmins Public Library’s Library Materials Selection Policy?


  1. What would you suggest the Library do about this item?


  1. What material, if any, would you suggest in its place?


  1. Do you wish a follow up? YES / NO


Signature: _______________________________________________   Date: _________________