Programming Policy

Note: This policy refers to programs sponsored by the Springfield Library Department, not to programs held at the Library by community groups.

The Springfield City Library offers programs intended to further the Library’s mission. The library functions as an intellectual and cultural resource for the community. Programs are a means through which the public can share experiences, appreciate special interests, and exchange information.

All programs must be open to the public and offered free of charge, although at the discretion of the Library Director the following will be permissible at Library-initiated programs or on property governed by Library policy:

The Library will endeavor to include a broad spectrum of opinion and a variety of viewpoints in Library-initiated programs and exhibits. Community input to types and times of programs will strongly influence programming schedules and will be determined by mechanisms such as surveys, branch advisory committees, civic associations, and direct conversation with staff. Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute or imply an endorsement of its policies, beliefs, or program by any library personnel or by the Springfield Library Commission.

Program presenters will be selected from local, regional, and national talent in order to prepare a program schedule that reflects the diversity of the city and the world. The programmers seek new presenters with demonstrated expertise or experience by attending programs at other venues; consulting listings developed by the Massachusetts Regional Library System, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Young Audiences, and other states’ artist directories, and by contacting neighborhood advisory groups for suggestions. Requests from individuals to present programs are considered and weighed against the public’s demonstrated interest in the topic, budget, and other allocated resources, as well as the presenter’s demonstrated qualifications, expertise, and reputation. Decisions on which programs to offer are made by the Library’s staff program coordinators. Any questions will be referred to the Library Director. Appeals for exceptions to these policies must be made in writing to the Chair of the Springfield Library Commission.

Library programs will be offered at all locations throughout the city and may be offered at locations outside the library as well, such as visits to schools, community centers, information fairs, and housing complexes. The Library will endeavor to offer an equitable number of programs throughout the city, although factors such as staffing levels and size and existence of a programming room will influence the number and types of programs able to be offered.

Every attempt will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend a program. However, 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, either with advanced registration or at the door.

In some cases, the nature and success of a program may require a limited attendance based on age, especially programs intended for children and teens that are geared to their interests and developmental needs. In no case will attendance at a program be limited because the content of the program may be controversial.

The library does not offer programs of a purely commercial nature. Library programs must have a special educational, informational, or cultural value to the community. 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.

The library does not offer programs that support or oppose any political candidate or ballot measure. However, election information, such as candidates’ forums that include invitations to all recognized candidates, may be offered. Because it is not consistent with passive distribution, materials asking for library visitors to sign a petition or letter are not permitted at candidates’ forums or other library programs.

The library does not offer programs that support or oppose a specific religious conviction. Holiday programs may be offered. The Library will endeavor to provide programs that reflect the community’s diversity.

All programs will be coordinated through the Youth & Outreach Services (programs for children and teens) and the Adult & Information Services departments (programs for adults), which will approve and assist with program selection and schedules, publicity efforts, funding, evaluation, and work orders.

Approved by the Springfield Library Commission on October 1, 2008.