ImagineIF Libraries supports its strategic goals by developing and presenting programs that provide additional opportunities for education, connection and 21st century skills building.
Programs are an integral component of library service and serve to:
- Expand the Library’s role as a community resource
- Introduce customers to Library resources
- Provide opportunities for lifelong learning
- Build relationships
- Expand the visibility of the Library
Library Programs are developed as an extension of the Library’s collections, and are therefore governed by the principles of Fair Treatment described in Policy 1001, as well as the Collection Philosophy described in Policy 5000. Library materials, including programs, present a diversity of viewpoints that enable citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democracy.
See the appendices to this document, adopted by the Board of Trustees.
[Policy 1001: Fair Treatment]
[Policy 5000: Collection Management]
Program Objectives and Criteria
ImagineIF’s primary service commitment is to the people within its service area, including people of every age, education, background, personal philosophy, religious belief, occupation, economic level, ethnic origin and human condition. Library staff expertise, collections, services and facilities are used in developing and delivering programs. Library programs include, but are not limited to, lectures, community forums, performing and visual arts, participatory workshops, technology programming, storytimes, book clubs, class visits, discussion groups, installations, exhibits, displays, and presentations for social, cultural, educational, or entertainment purposes. Library programs may take place on-site at the library, offsite in other locations, or online and may be delivered by library staff or library partners. Library programs are developed by professional librarians under the supervision of the Library Director.
The Library’s staff use the following criteria in making decisions about program 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
- Historical or educational significance
- Connection to other community programs, exhibitions or events
- Relation to Library collections, resources, exhibits and programs
Sales and Fundraising
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:
- Fundraising to benefit the Library, or sponsored by the Friends of the Library or the ImagineIF Library Foundation.
- The sale of books, CDs, or other items by authors or performers/presenters as part of a Library program. Presenters are encouraged to donate a copy of their work to the Library for possible inclusion in the Library collection.
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 commercial include but are not limited to presentations offered for free but with the intention of soliciting future business.
The Library strives to include a broad spectrum of opinion and a variety of viewpoints in Library-initiated programs and exhibits. The Library may collaborate with other community groups or businesses on programs that support the Library’s mission and goals. Library sponsorship of a program and opinions expressed by individuals and groups presenting the program do not constitute or imply an endorsement or a reflection of its policies, beliefs, or program by any library personnel, the Library Board of Trustees or the Friends of the Public Library. Program presenters will be selected from local, regional, and national talent in order to prepare programs that reflect the diversity of Flathead County and the world. Requests from individuals to present programs such as author readings and signings or music release events are considered and weighed against the public’s demonstrated interest in the topic, the library’s budget and other allocated resources, as well as the presenter’s demonstrated qualifications, expertise and reputation.
Performers and presenters will not be excluded from consideration because of their origin, background or views. The Library will not exclude program topics, speakers and resources from programs because of possible controversy. Library staff who present programs do so as part of their regular job and are not hired as outside contractors for programming.
Every attempt will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend a program. However, when safety, cost, 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 advance registration or at the door. In no case will attendance at a program be limited because the content of the program may be controversial.
Adults who wish to attend a program specifically designed for children must be accompanied by a child. Teen programs are limited to teens only, except when a teen requires an adult assistant or companion.
External organizations or individuals partnering with the Library on programs must coordinate marketing efforts with the Library’s Marketing Department. Individuals or groups offering programs in the Library’s meeting room must follow the advertising guidelines in the Library’s Meeting Room policy.
The Library makes every effort to comply with all applicable laws, including the standards and requirements of ADA and state or local disability accessibility guidelines. If a program is held in a location not controlled by the library, the library will ensure that the space is accessible to all library users. If users overflow designated event areas during library events, libraries will protect accessible public spaces (i.e., ramps, pathways, and emergency exit routes) to ensure access and safety for everyone. Reasonable accommodations will also be made to have interpretation or real-time captioning for the deaf or hard-of hearing at library-initiated programs when needed or requested by library users.
Complaints and Censorship
ImagineIF Libraries believes in freedom of information for all, and does not practice censorship. The presentation of library programs is based on a person’s right to read, listen, and view and the freedom from censorship by others. Attempting to meet the needs and interests of a diverse population requires a wide range of materials and perspectives.
Parents and guardians may restrict their own children’s access to library programs, but no person or organization can interfere with another person’s access to or participation in library programs. Concerned citizens may inquire before a program to establish whether a particular program meets their needs and interests.
The Library welcomes expressions of opinion from customers concerning programming. If a customer has concerns about a library program, they should first address the concern with a Library senior staff member. Customers who wish to continue their request for review of Library programs may submit the Citizen Comment on Library Materials form. Requests for review of programs or exhibits will be considered in the same manner as requests for reconsideration of library materials as outlined in the Library’s Collection Development Policy.
Heidi Roedel, Chair