Archives at Whitby Public Library

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Archives at Whitby Public Library

Parallel form(s) of name

    Other form(s) of name

    • Whitby Archives


    • Community
    • Library

    Contact area



    Street address

    405 Dundas Street West





    Country name


    Postal code

    L1N 6A1







    Description area


    The Whitby Archives was established in 1968 by the Whitby Historical Society. It consisted of a small collection of documents and photographs that were stored in a closet in Whitby's Centennial Building, formerly the Ontario County Courthouse. Although no longer affiliated with the Whitby Historical Society, over the years the Archives has grown to include 10000 photographs, 1000 metres of textual records, over 4000 family histories, maps, plans, films, and musical recordings. In 2005, the Archives moved to the Whitby Public Library’s new building at 405 Dundas St. W and is now part of the WPL family. Visit us for information about Whitby’s history and its people — including the village of Brooklin and the hamlets of Myrtle, Myrtle Station, and Ashburn.

    Geographical and cultural context

    Located just east of Toronto, the Town of Whitby is situated centrally in the Regional Municipality of Durham, formerly known as Ontario County. Whitby was incorporated as a Town in 1855 and served as the political and administrative hub of Ontario County until 1974 when Durham Region was formed.

    Mandates/Sources of authority

    The mandate of the Whitby Archives is to acquire, preserve, interpret, and make available, through a comprehensive archival collection, unpublished records of historical or cultural significance essential to the understanding of the heritage of Whitby and its people.

    Administrative structure

    Records management and collecting policies

    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    collection, unpublished records of historical or cultural significance essential to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 Principles
    • 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
    staff members.
    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
    De-accession Procedures
    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 Feedback
    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.
    Policy Review
    The Archives Acquisition Policy will be reviewed every five years by staff, with
    recommendations taken to the Library Board for approval.



    Finding aids, guides and publications

    Access area

    Opening times

    The Archives is open by appointment please use the link to schedule one.

    Access conditions and requirements

    Scheduled appointments are required.


    Wheelchair accessible

    Services area

    Research services

    Reproduction services

    Digital images: $5.00/5 images, $2/additional images

    Public areas


    Control area

    Description identifier

    Institution identifier

    Rules and/or conventions used



    Level of detail


    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    Created: 27 March 2012
    Updated: 28 April 2023




        Maintenance notes

        Access points

        Access Points