Collection policy

Our Vision: Everyone in BC has the legal information they need and the ability to use it.

Our Mission: We manage knowledge for justice in BC in collaboration with others.

Courthouse Libraries BC’s collection policy guides our decision making on the acquisition and management of the information sources we collect in support of our mission. Courthouse Libraries BC’s collection policy aims to advance the following CLBC Strategic Goal:

  • Strategic Goal: Expertly curate and protect the quality of our legal information & resources.
    • We are, internally and externally, very clear about what we curate.
    • Our clients see us as the ‘go-to’ place for reliable legal information.

Courthouse Libraries BC curates a practice-oriented collection of online and print information resources.

We primarily collect BC and Canadian legal resources, including:

  • case law
  • legislation
  • practice manuals
  • textbooks
  • forms & precedents
  • continuing legal education
  • practice management & technology resources

The collection is supplemented with resources that support specialized practice areas and selected US, UK, and international resources. CLBC generally acquires English language materials only, although a small number of French language publications are purchased to support BC lawyers in practice.

Courthouse Libraries BC supports access to legal information for the general public primarily with the LawMatters program in public libraries and free online information through Clicklaw and Clicklaw Wikibooks.

Occasionally we purchase resources to assist staff in answering clients’ questions.

Courthouse Libraries BC operates 28 libraries in courthouses throughout the province. A core online collection of legal essentials are available at all libraries. Print resource collections vary in size and breadth across the province. Vancouver and Victoria hold the largest collections and are used to supplement collections in other CLBC libraries.

CLBC focuses on acquiring information in online format to offer system-wide access to materials and achieve lower per-use costs. CLBC offers open access to online subscription products in courthouse libraries that permit our clients to save and email reasonable portions of selected material. When possible, we purchase licenses that allow us to deliver online resources to the desktops of BC lawyers via a secure area of our website, the Remote Desktop Access.

CLBC purchases print resources to meet clients’ information needs. CLBC limits the acquisition of multiple copies of print texts, as purchasing numerous copies of one text reduces the number of different resources we can purchase within the collection budget. Inter-library loans within the CLBC system and CLBC’s free Book in a Box program for BC lawyers help maximize availability and use of print resources throughout the province


  • Fit with client needs, user demand indicated by requests for item, usage of comparable items
  • Core collection item (practice area and jurisdiction highly relevant) or specialty area of interest in high demand

Quality of content:

  • current
  • accurate
  • authoritative
  • accessible


  • appropriate format
  • searchability
  • ease of printing or photocopying
  • quality of indexing tables and other features


  • reasonable purchase and ongoing costs
  • value for money
  • Licensing terms and conditions allow for reasonable usage by clients and staff


  • preference for online content but also collect print.

Restrict duplication of content:

  • fill content gaps in the collection
  • avoid purchasing new items that have substantial overlap coverage with similar publications already in the collection
  • Demand on staff time for processing and administration.

Cataloguing/curating online information

Courthouse Libraries BC will include independent catalogue records or links to digital content:

  • When the electronic version is available for a print resource that already exists in the collection.
  • For government (provincial or federal) created content, such as legislation, reports, and other publications.
  • Online resources created by a government or reputable legal and/or not-for-profit organizations.

We do not catalogue websites.

We will also not include any material primarily intended to advance the agenda of a political party; is defamatory or discriminatory, or promotes illegal activities; is intended to solicit business for a commercial law firm or legal service; or that does not have legal content, e.g. marketing materials, order forms, general newsletters about an organization's activities.

When items are identified as lost, missing or damaged, CLBC assesses whether to purchase a replacement based on the same selection criteria used for purchase of new materials. Library account and cardholders are responsible for all materials borrowed and any charges incurred for lost or damaged items.

CLBC does not have a mandate to preserve materials we have acquired in the past that no longer meet the current legal information needs of our clients.

We continually assess our collections and make decisions about retention and weeding according to the following criteria:

  • Significance of the work for practitioners
  • Usage statistics indicate ongoing usage of the item
  • Physical space: shelf space, storage
  • Duplicate copies available in the library system
  • Availability of more current versions of content
  • Availability of content in other formats
  • Physical condition of the item

Last updated February 2016