1. Library Objective
The overall objective of the public libraries in St. Mary’s County is to provide library resources and services necessary to meet the educational, recreational, and informational needs of the public in order to promote the communication of ideas, and enlightened citizenship and enriched personal lives.1
2. Responsibility of Selection
Final authority for the determination of the policies in this document is vested in the Library’s Board of Trustees. The authority and responsibility for selection of Library programming and events are delegated by the Board to the Library Director, and under his/her direction, to the staff who are qualified for this activity by reason of education, training, and experience. Library staff who present programs or events do so as part of their regular job and are not hired as outside contractors for this purpose. Advice of specialists in the community is requested in fields in which staff members do not have sufficient expertise. Suggestions from citizens and program attendees are welcome and are given serious consideration within the general criteria for selection. The final decision for scheduling rests with the Library. The responsibility for the attendance of Library programs by children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. Materials and programs will be presented faithful to their original intent.
3. Criteria for Selection
The evaluation of programs and events is characterized by flexibility and responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens of St. Mary’s County. These changing needs require that program and event choices be evaluated initially and on a continuing basis. As a result, programs or events initially passed over for consideration may be scheduled later. Professional programs, events, performers, and presenters will not be excluded from consideration because of their origin, background, or views, or because they present an aspect of life honestly. Programs and events are scheduled to be age appropriate in content, but it is up to parents and guardians and not the Library to determine if a program or event is appropriate for a child. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that programs or events may inadvertently come to the attention of children and adolescents. Programs and events will be designated to be for children, teens, adults, or all ages.
General Criteria for Selection
- Relevance to the Library’s strategic goals and/or objectives
- Relevance to the present and potential needs of the community.
- Demand for the material or program theme.
- Connection to other community programs, exhibitions, events, or existing Library materials.
- Presenter background/qualifications in content area
- Treatment of content for intended audience
- Presentation quality
- Attention given by critics, reviewers, professional colleagues, and the public.
- Availability of program space
Selection of programming or events that meet one or more of the above criteria may be limited due to budget constraints.
All Library programs and events are open to the public. The Library’s philosophy of open access to information and ideas extends to Library programming and events, and the Library does not knowingly discriminate through its programming and/or events. Library sponsorship of a program or event does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or event, or the views expressed by participants.
Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space is limited. Age requirements for attendance targeted to specific age groups may be invoked. Safety codes are observed, and attendance may be limited by space. Programs or events may be held on site or off site. Any sales of products at Library programs or events must be approved by the Library Director, Deputy Director, or Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Programs and events are not used for the solicitation of business.
External organizations or individuals partnering with the Library must coordinate marketing efforts with the Library. When working with outside presenters, a Presenter Partnership Agreement must be signed.
Programs and events representing various points of view will be presented. No programs or events will be excluded because of the presenter’s race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious, or political views. The Library recognizes that the choice of attendance at Library programs and events by a user is an individual matter. While one person may reject programs or events for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to those programs or events by others. Responsibility for the reading, viewing, listening, and program or event attendance of children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. Once a program or event has been accepted as qualifying under the selection policies and criteria, it will not be canceled solely at the request of those who disagree with it. There is a formal procedure for the reconsideration of programs or events.
While programs and events will often be value neutral, some programs or events may present opinions or theories from presenters not employed by the Library. These opinions or theories do not necessarily represent those of the Library and should not be interpreted as being endorsed by the Library. The Library prefers evidence be presented to support personal views and seeks programming and events with quality information and verifiable facts, but it is under no obligation to present differing opinions or theories in a program or event, nor to schedule other programs or events to present alternative opinions or theories.
1 Our policies draw upon the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights as well as the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.