A program is defined as an event sponsored or co-sponsored by the Library, having a presentation component and lasting 20 minutes or longer. A program can be a single event or a series of events, be a scheduled or a pop-up event, take place inside or outside of a library, or take place online. Programming furthers the mission, vision and values of the Dexter Free Library.

Programming is a fundamental component of library service that:

  • Introduces attendees to library resources and materials;
  • Provides learning and entertainment opportunities to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of those attending the program;
  • Raises awareness and visibility of the library to the community;
  • Supports and responds to emerging community interests as well as established interests and demands;
  • Expands the Library’s role as a cultural and community center; and/or
  • Extends outreach for underserved populations.

The Library uses partnerships with non-profit and civic organizations, government and commercial entities in order to reach new audiences and to create opportunities to meet the goals of programming.

Programs will be developed with consideration for the principles of accessibility, equity and inclusiveness, and will contribute to the Library’s safe, supporting and welcoming environment. Reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that programs are accessible to all who wish to attend and participate.

Library selection of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by presenters. Decisions to provide programs will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the program in serving the interests of Library customers.

The Library’s philosophy of open access to information and ideas extends to programming. Most Library programs are free and open to the public; however, some programs or classes may require a nominal materials fee. Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space is limited.

Some programs may be developed for a particular audience, i.e. attendees should be within the appropriate age group such as children or teens, or may require an accompanying adult.

All program participants must comply with the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct. The Library reserves the right to set age limits or recommendations for programs. In determining appropriate age recommendations, staff will consider the suitability of the program’s materials, format and program presenters, the relevancy and suitability of topic, messages and programming methods for the intended audience. Programs designed for specific audiences will be publicized as such. The responsibility for child attendance at Library programs rests with the parents or guardians.

Library programs must have a special educational, informational or cultural value to the community. Programs of a purely commercial nature or those designed for the solicitation of business will not be offered by the library. Examples of programs that would be considered of a commercial nature include, but are not limited to, presentations offered for free but with the intention of soliciting future business.

Programs that support or oppose any political candidate or ballot measure will not be approved or offered by the library. However, educational programs, such as candidate forums that include invitations to all recognized candidates may be offered.

Programs will not be offered or approved that support or oppose a specific religion. Programs are planned to be inclusive of all cultures and of all religions and no religion. Library programs may address religious themes to educate or inform, but not to promote, observe or proselytize a particular religious conviction. Holiday programs may be offered for the entertainment of library customers.

The following activities will be permissible at Library-initiated programs or on property governed by Library policy:

  • Fundraising to benefit the Library.
  • The sale of books, music, movies or other items by authors, performers or presenters as part of a Library sponsored program.

Library staff uses many criteria when making decisions about program topics, speakers and accompanying resources, including:

  • Community needs and interests
  • Relation to library collections, resources, services and events
  • Connections to other community programs, exhibits or events
  • Historical or educational significance
  • Treatment of content for intended audience
  • Presenter expertise and/or public performance experience
  • Popular appeal

The Library may draw upon other community resources when developing programs and may actively partner with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored public programs.

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.

Unsolicited offers from individuals and organizations to present programs will be evaluated by the same standards used when planning Library programming. Such programming opportunities should further the mission, vision and values of the Dexter Free Library as outlined in this policy.

Organizations or individuals collaborating with the Library on programs must coordinate marketing efforts with the Library. Assessments of the effectiveness of Library programs are based on attendance and audience satisfaction.

The Library reserves the right to use video or photographs taken of program participants for internal use, publication, use in Library promotional outlets, and evaluation purposes.

The Library welcomes expressions of opinion from customers concerning programming. Customer concerns about a Library program should be shared with the Library staff member in charge of the event.