19. Library Programs

The Mercer County Library System plans and conducts activities designed to inform, educate, or culturally enrich the public. These activities utilize the library and/or community resources in order to promote awareness of the library and its offerings, extend the use of various collections, and provide a forum for sharing community information.

The library offers a variety of programs for different ages and interest groups. Library programs allow for the expression of a variety of viewpoints. A Branch Manager or their designee may allow a commercial, for-profit organization to present information to the community through a library sponsored program or event. Examples of such programs might include, but are not limited to, estate planning, college funding, small business seminar, garden lecture series, etc. This is a legitimate method for the library to offer its public timely information presented by knowledgeable or skilled professionals.

In these cases, the organization may not sell materials or merchandise, charge a fee, solicit contributions, engage in fund-raising projects, conduct profit-making ventures or solicit a client base prior to, or during the program. The branch hosting the program either must advertise the program or must review and approve any advertisement the group may wish to do prior to publication. Promotional material must state that permission to use the community rooms does not imply library sponsorship or endorsement of any group, product or program. The County logo should only be placed on library-initiated advertisement and not on publicity the group itself publishes.

All library programs are open to the public. The library system or branch hosting the program may take registration for library programs. Registration may not be taken by the business or organization itself. The library may require advanced registration in order to limit attendance to a reasonable number or to an appropriate age group. When limited space is available, the library may limit registration to Mercer County Library System cardholders. Registration requirements and program information are publicized in advance.

Unless there is an exceptional reason, the same group or presenter should not be presenting the same program for a continuous period of time. This monopolizes use of the rooms for other community or not-for-profit groups. Lecture series or theme programs that may continue over a period of several months are not included.

The library staff continuously evaluates program offerings on the basis of their contributions to library service objectives. Attendance statistics, patron evaluation, overall quality, funding and public relations are all valuable considerations for continuing or modifying programs. (See Attachment F)