Local History | Genealogy Policy

Policy Number:  14-56
Policy Approval Date:  August 28, 2014
Policy Review Date:  August 2017


The Huntsville Public Library maintains a special collection in order to conserve local history and to provide access to unique materials that help researchers and the public better understand our past.


The purpose of the Local History | Genealogy Policy is to guide staff in making decisions about the selection, management and preservation of a specific collection of library materials relating to the history of Huntsville and its surrounding area.


The Library's Local History resources are comprised of various formats including electronic digitized files and databases.

Print Collections

  1. Staff under the supervision of the CEO/Chief Librarian or designate will be responsible for collecting and organizing materials for the local history collection. 
  2. The Huntsville Public Library will collect materials pertaining to the history of Huntsville and its surrounding areas. Materials include originals and reproductions. Emphasis is given to the acquisition of those items which will contribute to the knowledge of the social, civic, religious, economic and cultural life, both past and present.  Items to be acquired include:
    • works and primary source material documenting local history and genealogy
    • local research
    • oral histories
    • cemetery records
    • municipal records
    • photographs and negatives
    • copies of photographs
    • monographs
    • historical atlases  and maps
    • papers
    • brochures, pamphlets and programs of events
    • personal papers, including correspondence and family bibles (related to the early settlement of the community)

Writings of local authors that are not about Huntsville or the surrounding area are subject to the HPL Collection Development Policy.

The Library will subscribe to databases relevant to local history and genealogy research.

The Library will work alone or in partnership with others to undertake the digitization of local history materials in order to provide the public with greater access to local history information.

Collections - Digital

Huntsville Public Library digital collections are supported through OurDigitalWorld  VITA - Muskoka Digital Archives.  Currently the platform is shared with the Bracebridge Public Library.  A shared term of reference and guide will clarify goals, objectives and procedures for posting all digital objects. Currently all Huntsville Public Library digital objects (photographs) from a previous projects are hosted on this platform and they can be accessed by all visitors to the website.

A policy is under review for digital collections.


  1. The Library will solicit donations of local history materials from the community, from other sources and welcomes gifts.
  2. Donated materials are assessed in order to establish their suitability to the collection.
  3. Some materials may be deemed to be too fragile or bulky to accept. Any problematic items will be discussed with the donor and then returned or redirected as is mutually agreed upon.
  4. A record of provenance is kept on file for those items donated to the Library; this clearly indicates that ownership resides with the Library or is on indefinite loan from a donor.                  


  1. Local history materials may be used in the Library only and will not circulate.
  2. In special situations, a short-term loan may be arranged with the approval of the CEO/Chief Librarian. 

Related Policies

Borrowing Policy
Collection Development Policy