Collection Policies

Today's Hours: 8am - 10pm - All service hours

Revised September 28, 2023

(1) Framework

  • The library takes an evidence-informed and holistic approach to developing and sustaining collections to advance scholarship and learning at the University of Guelph
  • The library’s circulating collection is not static.  We do not retain every item purchased in perpetuity; however, items accepted into Archival and Special Collections are retained in accordance with its own collecting mandate.
  • Similarly, our digital collections are not static. We do not no offer long-term preservation for every item.
  • The library takes different stewardship responsibilities for collections of use and collections of record
  • Print books continue to play a vital role in academia
  • The library is committed to making collections accessible

(2) Our definition of collections includes:

  1. Local collections (purchases, licensed subscriptions, locally created digital collections, donations)
  2. Borrowed collections (through ILL) 
  3. Networked collections (shared print, consortially licensed content via TUG, OCUL, CRKN, open Internet collections)
  4. Open Access: The library supports a variety of open access initiatives in order to facilitate the widest possible dissemination of knowledge
  5. Collections of use: built and managed to support everyday curriculum and research activities at the University of Guelph [no long term preservation/stewardship responsibilities]
  6. Collections of record:  built and curated to support Guelph’s contributions to the long term stewardship of the scholarly record

(3) The library builds and manages “collections of use” that are: 

  1. Available in a timely manner 
  2. Easily discoverable, accessible and compatible with tools that scholars use in their everyday lives 

(4) The library builds and curates a limited range of “collections of record” (for which we take long-term stewardship responsibility) in:

  • Veterinary science
  • Ontario agriculture, apiculture, agricultural history, rural heritage
  • Landscape architecture
  • Canadian theatre
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Scottish studies
  • Food: Canadian culinary history
  • Guelph theses and dissertations
  • Guelph research products
  • Guelph Open Access Journals

(5) McLaughlin Library plays a critical role in upholding intellectual freedom. We strive to acquire and make available the widest variety of materials, including those that may be considered unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable.

As a member of Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) the McLaughlin Library supports the Statement of Freedom of Expression in Research Libraries (adopted by CARL membership, ca. 1987):

All persons in Canada have a fundamental right, as embodied in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Bill of Rights, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity.

It is the responsibility of research libraries to facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge, opinion, intellectual activity and creativity from all periods of history to the current era including those which some may consider unconventional, unpopular, unorthodox or unacceptable.

To this end research libraries shall acquire and make available, through purchase or resource sharing, the widest variety of materials that support the scholarly pursuits of their communities. (Source: CARL Guiding Principles – Freedom of Expression)

University of Guelph Library Collection Guidelines


The library normally only acquires English-language materials other than to support language curricula.

Multiple Copies

Normally the library does not purchase multiple copies. We will purchase the same book in multiple formats, as required

Donations / Gifts

In general, the library does not accept donations for the general collection (other than "Gryph Reads"). Exceptions may be made at the discretion of collections librarians. Note that Archival and Special Collections accepts selected donations.


Evidence-based weeding of materials in all formats is an essential component of the library’s collection management responsibilities, in order to:

  • Ensure that the overall collection is relevant and useful to Guelph users
  • Eliminate outdated and worn-out materials
  • Replace content with updated formats
  • Maximize shelf and floor space
  • Make materials more accessible and easier to find

Weeding occurs:

  • On a day-to-day basis, as staff handle/process materials (ie. Removing 2nd copies /older editions)
  • Annually in the summer
  • On a project basis, as needed

Types of Materials Acquired for the Collection

Print books

  • Print books continue to play a vital role in academia
  • Gryph Reads: a small, regularly refreshed pleasure reading collection
  • When needed, the library acquires used or out-of-print books


  • Our priority is to purchase barrier-free (Digital Rights Management-free), multiple user access
  • Single user access ebooks are acquired selectively
  • Access to ebooks is provided via multiple AODA-compliant platforms


  • Our priority is to acquire data sets free from restrictive use requirements, multiple user access


  • "e" preferred
  • E -journal backfiles (to replace print) are purchased very selectively, as funds permit

Sound and Video

  • The library subscribes to online streaming sources
  • DVDs, CDs and single license streaming video files are purchased on a title-by-title basis


  • "e" preferred
  • The physical collection houses newspapers in microfilm
  • As of June 2016 all paper subscriptions were cancelled

Digital collections

  • Atrium – theses and research products
  • Dataverse – data sets
  • We will have a list of these once we have results from the survey

Government Documents

  • Print/microform collections are archival. No new material is being added, with the availability of open access materials

Microforms (Microfilm/Microfiche)

  • Purchased if the material is only available in microform and is a high priority for the curriculum or research


  • "e" preferred
  • Print books are interfiled with the circulating books

Reserves (Course Textbooks)

  • Textbooks are acquired for the reserve collection
  • "e" preferred
  • eCampus Ontario collection

Interlibrary Loans and Document Delivery

  • The library subsidizes interlibrary loan and document delivery fees for current University of Guelph faculty, students and staff


The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: