The Collection Development Policy defines roles, provides direction, and defines responsibilities for library staff regarding the selection, acquisition, maintenance, and retention of material.


This policy applies to all library collections and all materials acquired, whether through purchase, consortia agreements, or donation.


a)    Responsibility for Selection

It is the ultimate responsibility of the Library Board to establish all major policies for the operation and management of the Peterborough Public Library. The guidelines set forth below for selection by professional staff have been adopted as the policy of the Library Board.

The selection and discarding of books and other library materials are vested in the Library CEO and, under the Library CEO’s direction, in the members of the professional staff. Staff members select materials based upon their training and experience with assistance from the general guidelines set forth in this document.

b)   Library Profile

Each Library location has a unique profile, and its collection will reflect that profile. Locations include both physical and virtual facilities.

c)    Intellectual Freedom

Basic to the Library’s Collection Development Policy is the Peterborough Public Library’s policy on Intellectual Freedom, which is appended to this policy.

d)   Controversial Materials

The Library’s collection is free and open to all. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for monitoring and limiting the use of library materials by their children.

The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some members. Selection of materials is made solely on the evaluation of the item in accordance with the criteria set forth within this policy. In the case of controversial issues, an effort is made to see that all points of view are represented. The presence of any item in the library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the Library.

The Library does not affix labels of approval or disapproval on its material.

Individuals may request that a selection decision be reconsidered by completing the Request for Reconsideration of Material form on the Library’s website. Individuals are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the Collections Acquisition Librarian prior to completing the form.

e)    Exclusions from the Collection

Materials that are prohibited under Canadian law and/or by court order will not be held in the collection or knowingly be acquired by the Library.

Materials are not excluded because of the author’s or content creator’s race, place of birth, origin, ethnic origin, ethnicity, citizenship, age, creed, religion, disability, family structure, sex, or sexual orientation.

Institutions that provide formal education are responsible for providing materials to support their curricula. The Library may acquire items that assist with school projects and learning. As a matter of course, the Library does not acquire textbooks or professional material. Occasionally an item will be included if it is introductory in nature and/or provides the best coverage of a subject.

f)     Criteria for Selection of Library Materials:

Library staff selects materials, whether through purchase or donation, impartially and with a critical eye. This is achieved using reviews, bibliographies, publishers’ catalogues, and suggestions for purchase. Where necessary, staff may consult with other specialists outside the library to make informed acquisition decisions.

i)     An item is judged as a whole and not in part. The Library will use the following criteria to develop its collection. An item does not have to meet all the criteria to be included in the collection:

  • Author/publisher’s reputation or significance
  • Considers the clarity, accuracy and style of the writing, illustrations or production.
  • Fits within the limitations of the library’s budget and physical space.
  • Provides adequate subject coverage and is intended for a general audience.
  • Considers how the item and its subject fits with the existing collection.
  • Meets either existing or anticipated popular demand.
  • Is relevant to the local community needs and interests.
  • Availability of materials in other library collections.
  • Is in a suitable format for library use -- considering durability, size, accessibility, and other physical factors.
  • Recommendations of critical reviewers and the public.
  • Provides a diversity of viewpoints.

g)   Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Library provides a collection in a variety of formats that represent a diversity of ideas, viewpoints, and experiences that reflect the local community and beyond. The Library is committed to providing equitable access and an inclusive collection to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or economic status.  

h)   Accessibility

1)     In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005), Integrated Accessibility Standards, the Library provides access to materials in alternate formats where they exist, using the selection criteria outlined in this policy.

2)    The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) collection and other participating library collections through interlibrary loan service are available to library members with disabilities.

i)     Special Collections

1)     Materials in other languages are included in the Collection in accordance with the community needs. The Library strives to meet the needs of members who require materials in languages other than English through interlibrary loan or online resources.
2)    Peterborough Collection

 The Peterborough Collection consists mainly of secondary print materials relating to the history of Peterborough City and County.  It also includes primary material of interest to genealogists such as census records, land records indices, cemetery indices, directories and early local newspapers. The collection excludes any type of material that would otherwise be held in archives at other institutions in the region. Materials belonging to the Kawartha Branch of Ontario Ancestors are also included in the Peterborough Collection.

3) Library of Things

This collection includes unique non-traditional items that library members would otherwise not have the opportunity to try on their own or be readily available to them. This collection enables members to explore and pursue new technologies; engage in leisure or recreation activities; become more informed or knowledgeable through experiential learning, or to hone their creativity and imagination.

4) Local Authors Collection

The Local Authors Collection consists of locally-produced, self-published, and independent press works of fiction, non-fiction, music and film for all ages. It is a contemporary, circulating collection (i.e. non-archival). This collection includes physical materials at the Main Library and electronic materials on the Library’s Biblioboard site.

j)     Resource Sharing

1)     Items that fall outside the selection criteria of the Library, are out-of-print, or, are temporarily unavailable can be requested through interlibrary loan services. Fees for the service may occasionally apply.

2)    The Library, where possible, may participate in reciprocal borrowing and consortia purchasing agreements.

k)    Gifts and Donations

1)     All unsolicited items become the property of the Peterborough Public Library.  Most donations are sold by the Friends of the Library for the benefit of the library. Some items may be added to the collection, using the selection criteria outlined within this policy. No condition may be imposed on the Library relating to any donated item.

2)    The Library does not accept donations of items in lieu of payment for lost or damaged items.

3)   The Library does not provide tax receipts for material donations. The library cannot perform valuations for such material.

l)     Suggestions for the Collection
Members wishing to make suggestions for purchase by the Library may complete a Suggest a Title form through its web site. All items for possible inclusion are considered using the selection criteria outlined within this policy. Authors or vendors wishing the Library to consider purchasing their material should contact the Collections Acquisition Librarian before leaving any materials at the library.

m)  Deselection
Deselection of materials is an ongoing process, which maintains and improves the currency, accuracy, appearance, and efficiency of the collection.  Materials will be withdrawn from the collection when:

  • They are no longer used by the community.
  • They are worn-out, damaged, or cannot be repaired.
  • They are outdated, unreliable or misleading.
  • More current materials on a subject become available.
  • Public demand no longer requires multiple copies, or
  • Space is required for new materials.

Withdrawals may be given to the Friends of the Library, other libraries, or recycled at the discretion of the Library CEO. The Library does not sell items from its collection.

n)   Replacement

Library materials that are lost or damaged may be replaced, according to the same selection criteria that apply to new materials.


a)    Pertinent Resources

Canadian Library Association Statement on Intellectual Freedom

Ontario Library Association Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual

Ontario Library Association Position on Children’s Rights in the Library 

Ontario regulation 191/11 made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; Integrated Accessibility Standards; Part II Information and Communications Standards

b)   Related Policies

Peterborough Public Library Policy on Intellectual Freedom

c)    Related Procedures

Procedure for Material Donations or Purchase Suggestions

Guidelines for Peterborough Collection Acquisition and Retention

d)   Related Forms

Request for Reconsideration of Material

Suggest a Title

Local Authors Collection Submission

e)    Miscellaneous

Peterborough Public Library Strategic Plan 2023-2026