Collection Development Policy

Updated March 2024

The Cape Breton Regional Library aims “to strengthen and inspire our community by providing quality collections, cultural resources, programs and services in a welcoming environment where all can enjoy reading and learning.”


  • “The Library” means the Cape Breton Regional Library.
  • “Collection” means the books and other materials owned by the Library that people can borrow or use in a library branch.
  • “Collection Development” means the process of selecting materials to add to or remove from the Library’s collection.
  • “Format” means the physical form of a material, such as print (e.g. books, magazines), audiovisual (e.g. CDs, DVDs), digital (e.g. eBooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows), and equipment (e.g. Library of Things items like board games and snowshoes).
  • “Material(s)” means any of the items that make up the Library’s collection, such as books, DVDs, and equipment.

Purpose and Guiding Principles

This policy explains the guidelines used to develop and maintain the Library’s collection. As a public institution, the Library aims to collect materials that serve the evolving informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs of our diverse community. We are committed to continuously improving our collection so that it can better meet those changing needs.

Collection development is an ongoing process. It is guided by the principles of intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility), and community-mindedness.

Intellectual Freedom

The Library upholds the principles of intellectual freedom laid out by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations. We support the rights of individuals to read, speak, view, and exchange differing points of view on any subject.

The Library’s collection must reflect a broad spectrum of thought. The fact that an item is in the Library’s collection does not mean that the Library endorses the content or viewpoint.

Lifelong Learning

The Library is a place where people of all ages and educational backgrounds can pursue learning. Lifelong learning enhances people’s lives, and the Library is in a unique position to help our community members seek information, learn skills, and gain knowledge. Our collections also encourage people to grow their curiosity, imagination, and creativity throughout their lifetimes.

IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility)

The Library aims to be a welcoming, inclusive, and accepting public space for all people. This means that our collections should be accessible by everyone. When developing the collection, we consider the need for materials (such as audiobooks, large print books, and assistive technology) that make it possible for people with different abilities to use our collections.

As a welcoming, inclusive, and accepting public space, our collections should meet the needs of diverse people. We serve a community with many different cultures, ethnicities, religious beliefs, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and other perspectives and life experiences. Our collections will reflect that diversity.

We recognize the Library’s presence in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. To support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #69, our collections will represent Indigenous voices and support learning about Truth and Reconciliation.

We recognize that people of African descent have been in Nova Scotia for over 400 years. African Nova Scotians are a distinct founding people and a key part of the province’s culture and history. Our collections will represent and support this history.


The Library is meant to serve the community. We are committed to providing services and collections that respond to the needs and interests of our community members. Our collections reflect, inspire, and enrich our community.

Collection Development

The Library’s professional staff, including the regional librarian, deputy regional librarian, and supervising librarians, are responsible for the Library’s collection. This team also draws on the expertise of other staff since no one person can reflect the community’s range of interests or maintain expert knowledge in all subject areas.

Selecting Materials

The Library selects material based on a number of factors, including professional reviews, awards, patron demand, and significant local interest. The decision to select material is based on the work as a whole.

Library staff consider the following criteria when selecting items to add to the collection, though an item does not need to meet every criteria to be added:

  • Space and budget
  • Variety, timeliness, and accuracy
  • Whether the subject, style, and format of the material are a good fit for the intended audience and for Library use
  • The authority of the creator (e.g. author) or producer (e.g. publisher)
  • The needs and interests of the community
  • Reviews and awards
  • Balancing different points of view on controversial topics
  • Balancing special interests with general demand
  • Level of current and anticipated demand
  • Canadian and/or local content
  • Mi’kmaw, French, and/or Gaelic language content
  • Relevance to the existing collection and other local resources
  • Whether the material is available through other systems in the SamePage consortium


Materials donated by the public will be evaluated based on the above criteria and the item’s physical condition. Library staff decide whether the donated materials will be added to the collection, sold, given to another organization, or recycled. The Library may refuse donations.

For more information about donations, visit our website.

Public Suggestions for Purchase

People are welcome to suggest materials they want the Library to add to our collection. Suggestions are reviewed by the librarians responsible for ordering materials and are evaluated using the same criteria listed above. The Library cannot provide updates on suggestions or purchases.

To suggest a title for purchase, fill in the online form or visit your local branch.

Author or Publisher Submissions

Authors and publishers are welcome to submit material for consideration. Submissions are reviewed by the librarians responsible for ordering materials and are evaluated using the same criteria listed above. The Library cannot provide updates on submissions or purchases.

Authors or publishers who want to submit materials for consideration can fill in the online form.

Collection Management

Library staff regularly evaluate the collection to make sure materials are in good condition, contain accurate and up-to-date information, and are in demand.

Removing Materials from the Collection (Weeding)

Professional library staff maintain the relevance and vitality of the collection by removing unused, duplicate, outdated, or damaged materials. This ongoing process follows the same criteria used for selecting new materials.

Public Input: Requests for Reconsideration

People are welcome to submit a Request for Reconsideration if they believe that materials should be removed from the collection or reclassified. These requests will be reviewed by librarians responsible for collection development. Decisions about whether materials will be removed from the collection or reclassified (e.g. changed from children’s material to adult material) are based on the same criteria listed above. Items under review may remain accessible to the public until a decision is made. While library staff will carefully consider every request, the library is only obligated to remove materials judged illegal by the higher courts in Canada.

To submit a request for reconsideration, fill in the online form or visit your local branch.

Parent/Guardian Responsibility

People are free to select or reject materials for themselves or children in their care. However, no one has the right to restrict the freedom of others to access materials. No materials will be removed or excluded from the collection based on the possibility that children might see or use those materials.