CARL members adhere as a closely as possible to several key principles.


The Hamilton Declaration (adopted by the membership, November 9, 1993; augmented, June 12, 1995)


  • Access to Information: The Association supports and promotes the right of all individuals to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity.
  • Creating Knowledgeable Information Users: The Association believes researchers and students should have the necessary skills to be independent information seekers and users.
  • Research Libraries -- A Strategic National Resource: The Association recognizes the collective human and material resources of its members as constituting a strategic national information resource.
  • Resource Sharing: The Association endorses the sharing of resources among its members as an activity essential to providing access to information required by the scholarly community.
  • Scholarly Communication: The Association has a fundamental role in facilitating and enhancing the process of scholarly communication.
  • For greater certainty: It is the position of the Association that withdrawal of material from the collection of any of its member libraries on the basis of content is an extremely serious matter, clearly having the potential of contravening the CARL Policy Statement on Freedom of Expression.


Freedom of Expression (adopted by the 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.


Open Access


CARL is committed to the principle of open access as a means of broadening access to scholarly materials.  The Association has signed two important international declarations on open access.

Budapest Open Access Initiative (re-endorsed by the CARL membership, November 13, 2009)

Berlin Declaration (endorsed by the CARL Board of Directors; signed July 18, 2011)


Non-Disclosure Clauses (as adopted by the CARL Board of Directors, January 28, 2010)


The Canadian Association of Research Libraries strongly encourages its member libraries and their licensing consortia to avoid signing license agreements with content vendors that contain non-disclosure clauses.

It is to the advantage of the research library community to be able to share information among its members on the terms negotiated with vendors, especially about pricing.  The sharing of such information helps to create fair and transparent market conditions for future negotiations.  As research libraries respect the confidentiality that they agree to in such licenses, it is important that they not consent to the inclusion non-disclosure clauses when signing a license agreement with a vendor.


Interlibrary Loan Fee Suspension


The CARL Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Fee Suspension Trial between members of CARL libraries came into effect January 1, 1992. During the trial, CARL libraries agreed not to charge each other transaction fees for the loan of monographs and they submitted to the CARL Trial Coordinator annual statistics for monographs loaned and photocopies sent to other CARL libraries. For these statistics, transactions, rather than items, were counted, e.g., four volumes of one work sent at one time is one transaction; a photocopy of one article from one journal is one transaction.  This trial covers fees for the loan of monographs and any administration or other fees for photocopies (but not per-page charges). Fees for ILL photocopies and document delivery (”non-returnables”) are charged unless covered by some other regional agreement.

The trial fee suspension remains in effect although the collection of the annual statistics was discontinued in 1997.


Library Staff Exchanges


CARL recognizes the importance of effective cooperative endeavours among its member libraries. It also recognizes that the experience of performing similar activities within a different work environment constitutes a means of professional development that can be beneficial to both the employee and the academic/research institution. For these reasons, the directors of CARL libraries wish to encourage and facilitate staff exchanges between member libraries.