Archives Acquisition Policy
Policy Type: Public
Authority/Created: Library Board
Date Created: November 21, 2012
Last Review: November 15, 2017
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2023
The mandate of the Whitby Public Library Archives (the Archives) is to acquire,
preserve, interpret, and make available, through a comprehensive archival
collection, unpublished records of historical or cultural significance essential to
the understanding of the heritage and culture of Whitby and its people. The
Archives strives to reflect Whitby’s diversity in all its forms.
Scope of Acquisition
The Archives collects, preserves, interprets, and makes available for research
unpublished recorded information in a variety of media, including:
• correspondence, files, registers, indexes, bound volumes, maps, plans,
drawings, diagrams, photographs, films, paintings, pictorial and graphic works,
microforms, sound recordings, electronic records, moving images,
organizational and business records, audiovisual and other materials related
to the cultural, ethnic, religious, political, economic, social, and historical
heritage of Town of Whitby, Brooklin and surrounding communities;
• records pertaining to the Whitby Public Library.
The Archives normally will not accept or pursue:
• books and/or published materials, unless there are special or compelling
reasons for them to accompany acquired archival records;
• materials which do not fit the mandate of the Archives; for example, artifacts
• materials whose use would not be well-served by locating them in the
• copies of materials in other repositories, including the Whitby Public Library
collection, unless the materials are in jeopardy or the copies are significantly
related to material already held by the Archives;
• materials in formats which the Archives cannot handle adequately;
• materials with donation stipulations that would undermine the principles of
open and equal access.
Acquisition of records will take account of:
• the authorized acquisition mandates of other archival institutions in the
Durham Region and beyond;
• the in-house resources required to make the material available for research
purposes in a reasonable period of time;
• the extent and terms of any donor or other restrictions attached with the
• the legal rights of the donor to place the records in the Archives;
• the relationship of the item(s) to the strengths and weaknesses in the existing
• the availability of appropriate storage facilities;
• the physical condition of the records.
• Acquisition proceeds from, depends upon, and is determined by appraisal; no
materials shall be acquired except further to an authorized appraisal process.
• The ruling principle of acquisition shall always be provenance, not medium,
genre, form or subject matter.
• The donor has agreed to the terms and conditions of the Deed of Gift.
• The records of a corporate body shall not be acquired if that corporate body,
or its successor, either maintains or has designated an institutional archival
repository other than the Whitby Public Library Archives. If the records of any
such corporate body are held, then they may be subject to replevin.
• Neither staff nor the Library Board need endorse every item presented for
acquisition or appraisal. Staff will make every effort to ensure that all areas of
the collection reflect community needs and not personal interests or beliefs.
General Appraisal and Acquisition Criteria
Appraisal decisions, both for purchased material and for donations, and for all
formats should take the following into consideration:
• the present and potential relevance of the subject to the mandate of the
• the reputation and/or significance of the person(s) or institution(s) responsible
for the creation of the materials;
• the strength or weakness of the collection in a particular area;
• community demand for a subject or type of material;
• the availability of material through other institutions;
• the suitability of physical form and construction;
• budget considerations.
Responsibility for Acquisition
Final responsibility for archival selection rests with the Library CEO, who operates
within the framework of policies approved by the Whitby Public Library Board.
Appraisal and acquisition for archival collections may be delegated to individual
Acquisition of Material from Private Sources
The Archives’ preferred method of archival acquisition from private individuals or
institutions is by donation, accompanied by a written Deed of Gift. Any conditions
or restrictions attached to a donation will be considered on their individual merit.
The following areas are important to the determination of any private acquisition:
• Provenance: The Archives will exercise due diligence and make every effort
not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or
specimen unless the archivist is satisfied that the donor, vendor or lender has
valid title to the material.
• Copyright: The Archives requires that the issue of copyright be clarified prior
to any acquisition. Transfer of copyright interest to the Archives must be
made in writing. If copyright interest is not to be transferred, then the
Archives must be provided with the contact details of the holder so that
reproduction queries can be forwarded on.
The Whitby Public Library does not provide evaluations of archival materials for
tax deduction or other purposes.
Reappraisal of materials
Budget considerations, administrative changes, and community demand will all
play a role in considering items for inclusion in the collection. As such change
occurs items may be reappraised based on their continued relevance to the
The Archives may de-accession archival material due to condition, relevance, or
space. The following procedures will apply:
• Transfer of Material to Other Institutions: All reasonable attempts will
be made to transfer the records to an accredited museum, archive or
• Withdrawal of Material: On the failure of the above procedure, staff are
permitted to discard the material.
De-accessioned materials will not be saved for specific patrons to be given or
sold to them upon withdrawal.
Conflict of Interest
Staff members who acquire records personally should inform their employers of
their acquisition activities, should not compete for acquisitions with their own
repositories, should not use privileged information obtained as a consequence of
their employment to further these personal acquisition interests, and should
maintain appropriate records of their acquisitions.
Access to Archival Material
Access to archival holdings will be governed by appropriate legislation. Restricted
materials, due to donor restrictions or which contain sensitive or personal
information will be accessible only for very limited research purposes and with an
authorized research agreement. Processing and shelving of material shall not
reflect a value judgment of the material itself. All materials will be shelved in their
proper order, easily accessible to the public. The Archives assures free access to
its holdings for all patrons with a valid research purpose under the supervision of
the Archivist or designate. No archival materials may be removed from the
Archives Reading Room.
Patron suggestions are both welcomed and encouraged.
Patrons objecting to material held by the Archives may complete a Request for
Reconsideration. The request will be formally reviewed by senior staff and the
decision will be communicated to the requestor. Patrons who are not satisfied
with the nature of the response will be invited to meet with the CEO and the staff
review team. Patrons who are still not satisfied will be invited to make a
deputation to the Library Board.
The Archives aims to make archival materials available in both print and
electronic formats where possible or upon request. The nature of some
collections may not lend themselves to conversion into an accessible format.
The Archives Acquisition Policy will be reviewed every five years by staff, with
recommendations taken to the Library Board for approval.