Library Programming Policy Statements
Angela Hanshaw | May 28, 2009
An interesting thread started in the Public Programs Office’s Public Programs Forum electronic discussion list this week with a request for examples of public library adult programming policy statements. One person (thanks, Carolyn!) suggested Programming Librarian might be a good place to place to keep templates relating to policy statements. That is exactly the kind of thing we’d like to bring to librarians. If you have statements you’d like to share with others, please feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll make a place for them. In the meantime, I’ll share some of the ideas posted on the discussion list.
Gail McCulloch, from the Salt Lake City Public Library, offered:
When somebody comes to the Library wanting to do a program, the idea is sent to the Programming Committee to see if we want to be a co-sponsor, and if so, what committee or individual will be the point person. If you go to our website, you can go to ‘Services,’ then ‘Meeting Rooms’ and you can view the form we ask patrons to fill out.
Mary Sanders, from the Morris County Library in Whippany, New Jersey, also suggested visiting her library’s Web site and clicking on “Meeting Rooms use.” She added:
When folks walk in offering to present a program, an application form or formal contract is not required by our library. Background checking is done primarily by an in-person or telephone interview with the prospective speaker and often additional research is done online. In my case, I sponsor primarily Author Talks/Book Signings and sometimes speakers of non-profit status or sponsorship. Authors may sell their books on the day of their program, but all programs sponsored by our library are free and open to the public.
We often have people from organizations requesting to use the library facility as a meeting spot and not for presenting a public program. In this case, since this would not involve library sponsorship, a representative from that organization would need to complete a meeting room application form (no fee) and submit it to our administration office.
Tom Moran, from the Austin Public Library, provided an example from his library and noted:
We have two avenues for programs here at the Austin (TX) Public Library. Programs that “walk in the door” are generally required to be presented by non-profit groups for no fees and those are covered by our meeting room use policy on our website. The Public Program Policy covers library sponsored programs. These are handled by an Adult Programming Committee (used to have a Adult Programming and Outreach Coordinator position but it’s vacant and frozen like all of our other vacant staff positions due to budget). These can come from most anywhere but we lean heavily on local talent to keep expenses down. The Committee has a number of procedural documents, most of which are also used by our Youth Program Coordinator. We try to use “letters of Agreement” rather than formal contracts. We only use “special revenue”, i.e. gift and informal book sale money, to support program expenses, or Library Foundation money, but they are focused solely for the foreseeable future on raising funds to supplement the City budget for our new central library building project.
Finally, Meg Nagel, from Montrose Regional Library District in Colorado, shared a thread on a similar topic (PDF) from the Colorado Library discussion list.
P.S. If you would like to join the Public Programs Office discussion list but haven’t, find out how to subscribe.
Angela Hanshaw is Program Officer/Web Editor for the ALA Public Programs Office.