Collection Development Policy


The Collection Development Policy of the Oshawa Public Libraries is intended to outline Library Board policy for the development, responsibility, and maintenance of the Library collection and to outline processes for members of the public to provide input. 

Policy Objective 

To guide staff in the acquisition of material that is of current interest and/or lasting value to existing or potential Library users. 

To inform Library customers of the policy and principles upon which collection development and selection decisions are made for Oshawa Public Libraries’ collections.

Intellectual Freedom 

  1. The Oshawa Public Libraries endorses the Ontario Library Association’s Statement on Intellectual Freedom and the Intellectual Rights of the Individual (Appendix #1) and the Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries (Appendix #2) adopted by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations in 2016. 
  2. In providing collections that represent a wide range of ideas, creative thought, information and viewpoints, the Library Board recognizes Section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression.

The content or manner of expressing ideas in material that is purposely selected to fill the needs of some Library customers may, on occasion, be considered offensive by other Library customers. 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.

Responsibility for children’s or teens’ choice and use of resources rests with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Selection for the adult collection is not restricted by the possibility that children or teens may access resources their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may consider inappropriate. The Library believes in the freedom of the individual, and the right and obligation of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to guide, develop, interpret, and maintain their own code of values in their family. The Library will not limit individuals' access to content included in its collections except where legislated by government or law.

Goals of the Collection 

The purpose of the Oshawa Public Libraries’ collection is to support the Libraries’ overall mission: Enriching the lives and potential of the people of Oshawa by connecting them to the world of information and each other.

Reflecting this mission, the Oshawa Public Libraries’ goals in collection building are to create: 

  • A collection which enables the free expression of ideas essential to an informed and responsible citizenry. 
  • A broad-based collection in which no established or emergent field of thought is overlooked or unduly favored. 
  • A general level collection of materials in various formats to serve our community’s needs for recreation, information, love of reading, life-long learning, and personal growth. Direct support of formal curricula is not a goal of collection building. Textbooks will not be purchased for this purpose.
  • A collection which presents a record of human experience with particular emphasis on Canadian culture and society, including a collection dedicated to local history.
  • A collection which includes formats to facilitate equity of access to persons with print disabilities. Community demand, availability, technological trends, budget, and impact on existing resources will be assessed before introducing new formats. The introduction of new formats to the collection may result in the Library’s decision to discontinue existing formats. 


Responsibility for the Collection 

The Oshawa Public Library Board is ultimately responsible for the collection. The Board delegates this responsibility to the Chief Executive Officer, who in turn delegates it to professional staff.

Selection Criteria

Library staff consider: 

    • Popular demand for material;
    • Current trends in customer demand regarding content and format;
    • Metrics and statistical reports regarding collections and usage trends;
    • Suitability of format for Library use, and for customer convenience and ease of use;
    • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience;
    • Relevance to community customers; 
    • Importance as a record of the times;
    • Relationship to the existing collection and other materials on the subject; 
    • Currency and reliability of content; 
    • Reputation, skill, competence or significance of the author; 
    • Attention of critics, reviewers and the public; 
    • Reputation of the publisher or producer; 
    • Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation; 
    • Quality of writing and/or visual art; 
    • Timeliness or permanence of the work;
    • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment;
    • Representation of various viewpoints in the collection;
    • Purchase price and other budgetary considerations; and 
    • Availability in the marketplace. 

Oshawa Public Libraries provides access to or arranges for the provision of access to accessible materials, where such materials exist in the marketplace, according to standards established by federal and provincial legislation, including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This includes collecting a variety of formats, which support people in ways they prefer or require, in order to access and use content. Special collections and archival materials are exempt in some areas. 

The Library has an interest in local history and in works by local authors, illustrators and artists, but is not under any obligation to add to its collection everything about the area or produced by local authors, illustrators, or artists.

New Formats 

Careful consideration is given to the introduction of new formats to 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 to responsibly accommodate trends in customer demands and/or changes in technology. 

Access to Collections 

Except where limited by law, children and teens are entitled to access all materials provided by the Library. Parents and/or those responsible for the child are responsible for the selection, usage, and safe return of materials borrowed by their children. 

The 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. 

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

Resource Sharing/Interlibrary Loan Services 

Items that fall outside the selection criteria of the Library or that are "out of print" or temporarily unavailable can be requested by Library customers from other library systems by using regular Interlibrary Loan services. Fees for the service occasionally apply on a cost-recovery basis. 

Application for Interlibrary Loan service can be made at any local library branch of the Library or by filling in an online request

Reconsideration of Library Materials 

Any Library user who wishes to challenge an item in the collection may submit a written “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form, opens a new window (Appendix #3) which will be reviewed. 

The final decision concerning Library materials rests with the CEO and the Library Board. 

Donations and Unsolicited Materials

(See the Donations, Gifts, and Sponsorship Policy for more information.) 

The Library is pleased to receive gifts of money or materials. Upon request, official receipts will be issued to donors for gifts of money received in the amount of $25 or greater.

For new gifts-in-kind or services-in-kind, an official receipt will be issued for the fair market value or invoiced price. A copy of any such invoice must be provided before a receipt can be issued. 

For used gifts-in-kind, an official receipt will be issued for the fair market value based on a written appraisal from a qualified appraiser or the Library’s assessment of fair market value. The Library reserves the right to require the donor to pay the cost of the written appraisal or provide the appraisal to the Library. 

Donated materials will be subject to the same criteria for inclusion in the collection as purchased materials. The Library reserves the right to refuse gifts and/or donations which it deems inappropriate or unsuitable for the Library’s mission, goals, objectives and best interests. 

The Library will not accept materials which are not outright gifts. Donated materials will be used or disposed of at the Library’s discretion. 

Funds given conditional on expenditure for particular materials or types of materials will not be accepted unless the conditions facilitate the Library’s own Goals of the Collection as outlined in this policy. 

Requests for Purchase 

Library users may place formal requests for the purchase of collection materials by completing a Suggest to Purchase request online.

Suggestions for purchase for the collection from the public are subject to the same criteria for selection as other acquisitions. Not all library suggestions will be added to the collection.

Maintenance of the Collection 

The ongoing maintenance of the Library’s collection is essential in order to offer a collection that is useful, accessible, and relevant. 

Items will be removed from the collection in accordance with the Library’s developed Weeding Guidelines. Weeding Guidelines criteria include outdated materials, materials no longer of interest or in demand, duplicates, worn or damaged copies. Frequency of circulation, community interest, and availability of newer and more up-to-date materials are of prime consideration. 

It will be the Libraries’ objective to replace lost, missing, or withdrawn items which continue to be in demand or to play a valuable role in the collection, subject to market availability.

 An item that is the subject of a libel action of which the Library becomes aware will be removed from the collection until the action is finally resolved when, depending on the outcome of the action, it will be returned to the collection or permanently withdrawn.  


Revision Dates: November 30, 2023

Collection Development Policy, opens a new window (PDF)

Appendix 3 - Collection Development Policy, opens a new window (PDF)

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