There is nothing to display at this time

Local History and Archives Policy

Policy Details

The Local History and Archives collection exists to: 

  • Collect, preserve and make accessible materials which illustrate the history of the Hamilton area and its peoples. The Archives collect and provides access to documentary heritage that makes a significant contribution to an understanding of the development of the City, its natural and built environment, its culture and the people who lived, worked, and had an impact upon the Hamilton area. 

  • Collect and preserve archival materials created by the Hamilton Public Library which illustrate the growth and development of the Hamilton Public Library, both before and after incorporation, or which pertain in whole or in part to activities within the Hamilton Public Library. 

  • Arrange and describe these materials according to archival principles and make them accessible to the general public on a regular basis, unless access is restricted by legal requirements, Library Board policy or written agreement with the donor. 

  • Provide adequate and appropriate conditions for the storage, protection and preservation of archival material. 

  • Provide reference services to individuals, organizations, the municipal government, or other groups interested in the activities and holdings of Local History and Archives. 

  • Facilitate digitization projects, exhibition, outreach and programming to increase public awareness of the Hamilton area and its peoples, history and development. 

The ultimate responsibility for the management of Local History and Archives is with the Chief Librarian acting in accordance with the general policies established by the Library Board. In practice, this authority is delegated to the Director of Collections and the Manager of Local History and Archives. 

The presence of materials in the Local History and Archives collection does not constitute an endorsement of their content or viewpoints by the Library Board. The Board recognizes that this policy is carried out in compliance and with due regard for all applicable legislation. 

Scope of Acquisition 

The archives will acquire historical material by donation, bequest, purchase, or transfer, regardless of medium, including: textual records; photographs and other visual records; maps, plans and architectural records; sound recordings or visual recordings; historical memorabilia and digital materials as per the collection mandate.  

The Local History and Archives department will only accept material on a permanent basis, except when borrowing material for short-term loans to reproduce or to include in displays or exhibits. 

Limitations of Scope 

Notwithstanding intrinsic, informational or historical value of records, Local History and Archives will acquire records, taking into consideration the following: 

  • The resources required to make the material available for research purposes in a reasonable period of time. 

  • The extent and terms of any restrictions, the legal rights and/or requests of the donor to place the records in the Archives. 

  • The records’ relationship to the strengths and weaknesses in the existing holdings. 

  • The availability of appropriate storage facilities and the physical condition of the records in relation to the probability of being able to conserve them in a reasonable period of time. 

  • The acquisition mandates of other institutions. 

  • The Archives retains the right to reproduce materials by mechanical, electronic, or photographic means for security, conservation, or research purposes. 

Methods of acquisition 

  • Archival materials are generally acquired by donation and not by purchase. The Archives may determine to acquire material by purchase if it fulfils a critical gap within the collection with the approval of the Chief Librarian. 

  • Archival materials of private donors are accepted by gift, bequest, or transfer from another archival institution. A signed Deed of Gift is completed to transfer ownership and negotiated rights such as copyright of the records from the donor to the Hamilton Public Library. 

  • The Hamilton Public Library’s institutional archival records are retained primarily according to approved records retention policy. The Archives does not function as a repository for financial records or human resources records. 

  • The Archives does not accept as gifts, fonds that have been willfully partitioned by a donor. 

  • In special circumstances, Local History and Archives works in partnership with local organizations where records may be acquired by loan to allow copies to be prepared for community access and digitization where copyright is retained by the partner organization. In the case of each partnership, a letter of agreement or memorandum of understanding is signed defining the scope of the project and the rights and responsibilities of all parties. 

  • Tax receipts may be issued based on Canada Revenue Agency rules subject to external appraisal by individual(s) qualified in appraising historical records.