Board Policies

Library Materials

Collections Policy

As a vital community connection to the world of information and ideas, the Library provides the widest possible access to knowledge, thought, and creativity for information, learning, inspiration, and enjoyment. To accomplish this, the Library provides a broad range of print and digital resources for users of every age and ability.

Through its collections, the Library encourages reading, helps develop literacy skills, and fosters life-long learning. The collections support formal and informal education and inform, entertain, enhance, and enrich individual lives. The collections:

  • support informational and recreational reading, viewing, listening, and engagement
  • stimulate the imagination and empower creativity
  • increase an individual’s ability to succeed and participate actively in the community

The Library’s collection development strategies are aligned with the values set out in the Library’s Strategic Plan and with the goal of ensuring that the breadth and depth of the Library’s collections are both reflective and inclusive of the diversity within our communities. To ensure that content is discoverable, accessible, and responsive to different needs, the Library continually seeks new ways of making resources available, by evaluating and implementing emerging formats, technologies, and curation strategies.

As part of this work, the Library works with relevant agencies to provide content in alternative formats to individuals with special needs, such as print or perceptual disabilities. In particular, the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) was established in 2014 with the goal of supporting and assisting public libraries in delivering accessible library materials to Canadians. The partnership with CELA enables the Library to provide a broad selection of books, media, and digital resources to users with print disabilities in the formats of their choice.

In considering content for inclusion in the collection, Library staff exercise their professional judgment, using criteria such as currency, accuracy, availability, imaginative quality, appeal, and the unique contribution that each resource makes to the overall collection. The whole of a work or a resource rather than a part is always considered when making a selection decision.

Other criteria include:

  • the expressed and anticipated needs and interests of Calgary’s diverse community
  • recommendations made by critics, reviewers, and other authorities
  • the suitability of the subject, style, presentation, and reading level to the intended audience
  • representation of Canadian and local perspectives
  • representation of important movements, genres, or trends
  • insight into the human condition and social realities
  • artistic presentation and experimentation
  • budget priorities
  • space priorities
  • the suitability of the form for library use
  • availability
  • copyright and rights management

Requests by individual patrons for the inclusion of content will be considered by the Library through the application of the criteria in this policy. The whole of a work, rather than a part, is always considered when making a selection decision.

Ultimate responsibility for the policy that determines and guides selection and access of materials rests with the Board. The task of selection is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer who directs this activity to qualified and knowledgeable staff.

The Board recognizes that this policy is carried out in compliance and with due regard for all applicable legislation.

Intellectual Freedom

While Library staff may assist patrons, the ultimate right and responsibility for the choice and use of Library Materials rests with the individual.

The Library endorses the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Statement on Intellectual Freedom, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom.

The availability of content within the Library’s collections does not indicate endorsement by the Library. The Library recognizes that some resources selected for its collections may be regarded as controversial, unconventional, or unpopular.

Parental Responsibility

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.

Collection Maintenance

To maintain collections that support community interests and demands, Library staff carry out an ongoing program of collections maintenance to ensure that content is current, relevant, and that physical collections are in good condition.

Resource Sharing and Interlibrary Loans

The Library participates in resource sharing initiatives and Interlibrary Loans to ensure members have the greatest possible access to resources of interest to them. The Library follows the principles and guidelines outlined in Resource Sharing Operational Policy for Public Libraries, Alberta Municipal Affairs, December 2012, updated October 2015.

Reconsideration of Library Resources

Requests for reconsideration of materials may be made in writing to the Request for Reconsideration Committee. All such requests will be reviewed in light of the Collections policy and a written response to the request will be provided to the originator of the request. A member may appeal the decision to the CEO.

Approval: Andrew Rodych, 2023. Statutory: Yes