Selection acquisition and disposition of materials

Definition of Materials

The word "materials" has the widest possible meaning and includes any material, regardless of format, that is held in the collection of the Camrose Public Library or borrowed by the Camrose Public Library including books, periodicals, audio, video, or projected media, paintings, drawings, photographs, micromaterials, toys, games, kits, and electronic databases.

The purpose of Camrose Public Library's materials selection policy is to guide staff and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. The following principles have as their basis the Canadian Federation Library Associations “Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries”.

Camrose Public Library, as a tax-supported institution, is devoted to serving all segments of the community. As a community resource, it fulfills a number of roles, such as supporting early literacy; stimulating imagination for reading viewing and listening for pleasure; satisfying curiosity for lifelong learning; understanding how to find, evaluate and use information for information fluency; and engaging the community. These roles guide how materials are selected in the development and management of Camrose Public Library's collection.

The library acquires:

  • Contemporary materials representing various points of view, which are of popular interest and possible future significance, including materials which reflect current conditions, trends and controversies.
  • Materials which support both formal and informal learning.
  • Materials which entertain and which enhance the individual’s enjoyment of life.
  • Materials which stimulate the imagination, or increase the individual’s potential for creativity, or build the individual’s ability to function effectively as a productive member of society.
  • Materials, which extend the individual's capacity to understand the universe, including the experimental or controversial.

The library strives to maintain awareness of, and to anticipate shifts in social, economic and environmental conditions. Materials are selected to reflect these changes and shifts as well as changes in educational, cultural, and intellectual norms, and the impacts of new technology.

The library attempts to make available a wide diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be viewed as unorthodox or which may be unpopular.

Works are selected on the basis of content without regard to the personal history, sex, race, nationality, or the political or religious views of the creator.

The library does not advocate all the ideas and opinions found in its collection. The presence or display of a book, periodical, piece of artwork, or other materials in the library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the library.

The library recognizes that many materials may be controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. The materials selected for the library's collection will vary to suit the needs of different parts of the library's constituency. Not all materials selected and/or displayed, therefore, will be suitable to every patron or groups of patrons. The ultimate responsibility for their choice of materials lies with the patron. 

Parental or Legal Guardian Responsibility

Selection of materials for the adult collections is not restricted by the possibility that children may obtain or see materials that their parents or legal guardians might consider inappropriate. The library believes in the freedom of the individual and the right and obligation of parents or legal guardians to develop, interpret and maintain their own code of values in their family.

Responsibility for the choice of materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians.

Responsibility for Materials Selection

Although the ultimate responsibility for selection is vested in the library board, the board

delegates authority to the Director, to interpret and to guide the application of the policy set by the board. The Director authorizes other staff to apply this policy in building collections.

All staff members selecting library materials are expected to keep the selection criteria in mind and apply their knowledge and experience in making decisions.

Criteria for the Evaluation and Selection of Materials

In building collections to serve the aims of the library, objective guidelines will be used. A detailed Collection Plan for the selection and weeding of all library materials is maintained, revised and updated by staff. All materials, whether donated or purchased, will be examined and evaluated in terms of the following standards. Items need not meet all the criteria to be acceptable.

General Criteria for all materials, including new formats

  • Suitability of physical form for library use.
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience.
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and interests.
  • Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium with respect to content.
  • Insight into human and social, economic and environmental conditions.
  • Importance as a document of the times.
  • Relationship to existing collection and other material on the subject.
  • Authority, reputation and/or significance of author or artist.
  • Skill, competence and purpose of the author or artist.
  • Recommendation by standard selection tools, reviewers or public.
  • Budgetary and space priorities.
  • Representation of challenging, though extreme or minority, point of view.
  • Canadian perspective.
  • Current educational curriculum.
  • Current reading trends.
  • Interest/demand from the public.
  • Language demand from the public.
  • Format


Book and other material donations may be accepted at the discretion of the library staff. Donations meeting the requirements of this policy may be added to the collection.

Weeding Materials from the Collection

The purpose of discarding materials is to maintain an appealing and up-to-date collection that follows the general criteria outlined in this policy.

Discarded materials will be disposed of by the library through such means as sale, donation or recycling. The organization which, or the individual who, obtains discarded items shall be responsible for the cost related to packaging and transportation.

Reconsideration of Materials Selected for the Collection

Questions about the collection are welcome and are treated with courtesy and respect. If concerns or questions arise about a material, staff will follow the steps laid out in the Request for Reconsideration Policy. If a patron wishes to submit a written concern, a “Request for Reconsideration of a Library Material” form is offered and a response is made as detailed in the Request for Reconsideration Policy.

Unusual concerns will be referred to the Director; and, in exceptional cases, the Director will present comprehensive information to the Camrose Public Library Board. The Board’s decision is final.

Approval Date:  May 2013

Amended: February 2016, April 2018, February 2019, June 2020

Revision/Review Date: April 2022

Approval Signature: original signed by Board Chair: Elizabeth Luck