Programming & Display Policy

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The Waterloo Public Library supports its mission to provide free access to information, education and recreation in a welcoming environment.  Programming and displays for all ages are an integral component of library service that:

  • Highlights the Library’s collections, resources and services
  • Enhances the Library’s role as a community resource
  • Expands the visibility of the Library within the community
  • Provides opportunities for lifelong learning, recreation and/or entertainment

This policy is to provide library staff, Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, and other groups and agencies working with the library with the necessary guidelines to assist them in the development of library programs and displays.  It is also intended to inform the public about the principles and criteria by which programs and displays are selected.  A list of program and display themes may be viewed on the library’s website.

Ultimate responsibility for programming and displays at the Waterloo Public Library rests with the Library Director, who administers under the authority of the Board of Trustees.  The Director, in turn, delegates the authority for program and display management to the library’s department heads, who oversee this responsibility through the library’s Programming and Display Committee and designated staff.

All programs and displays are intended to further the mission of the library.  They should address one or more of the following educational, recreational and/or civic needs:

  • To increase awareness and the use of library resources
  • To provide opportunity to widen horizons, stimulate imagination and reflection, and enlarge experiences
  • To provide programs for various age groups, cultures, and interests
  • To meet popular demand, both existing and anticipated
  • To promote literacy, reading, and lifelong learning
  • To increase library use by under-served populations
  • To educate and inform on a variety of topics, usually with a focus on one or several of the following areas:
    • Literature and cultural heritage
    • Social awareness
    • Health and well-being
    • Information technology
    • Literacy
    • Current events and high interest topics

The Programming and Display Committees utilize library staff expertise, collections, services and facilities in developing and delivering programming.  The library’s staff use the following criteria in making decisions about program and display topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:

  • Community needs and interests
  • Availability of program space
  • Treatment of content for intended audience
  • Presentation quality
  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area
  • Budget
  • Relevance to community interests and issues
  • Historical or educational significance
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions or events
  • Relation to library collection, resources, exhibits and programs

In addition, the library draws upon other community resources in developing programs and displays and actively partners with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored public programs and displays.  Professional performers and presenters that reflect specialized or unique expertise may be hired for library programs; performers and presenters will not be excluded from consideration because of their origin, background, or views, or because of possible controversy.  Library staff who present programs and curate displays do so as part of their regular job and are not hired as outside contractors for programming or displays.  External organizations or individuals partnering with the library on programs and displays must coordinate marketing efforts with the library’s Marketing Department.

All programs are open to the public; most are targeted toward a particular audience (adult, teen, children, general, for example).  Patrons may on occasion be prevented from attending a program or library event if attendance exceeds the rated capacity of the particular meeting room space.  Every attempt will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend a program.  When safety or the success of a program requires it, attendance may be limited.  When limits must be established, attendance will be determined on a first come, first served basis.  Advance registration before the event may be used if attendance is anticipated to exceed program limits.  A fee may be charged for certain types of library programs, particularly those that require materials, such as a craft workshop.  Programs may be held on site at the library, or at an off site location.  Any sales of products at library programs must be approved by the Library Director.  Programs are not used for commercial, religious, partisan purposes or the solicitation of business.

The library’s philosophy of open access to information and ideas extends to library programming and displays, and the library does not knowingly discriminate through its programming or displays.  Library sponsorship of a program or display does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or display nor the views expressed by participants, and program and display topics, speakers and resources are not excluded because of possible controversy.  

The library welcomes expressions of opinion from patrons concerning programming and displays.  If a patron questions a library program or display, they should first address the concern with a library staff member.  Patrons who wish to continue their request for review of library programs or displays may submit the Statement of Concern About Library Resources form, which may be obtained at the library.  Requests for review of programs or displays will be considered in the same manner as requests for reconsideration of library materials as outlined in the Library’s Collection Development Policy.


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