Public Programs and Displays Policy

Overview and Definitions

The Memorial and Library Association’s (hereinafter, the “Association: is a private non-profit that owns and operates Westerly Library and Wilcox Park (hereinafter the “Library”)[1] mission is “to strengthen community and enrich lives by stimulating intellect and sparking imagination through access to literature, information, technology, nature, and the arts.” Events and displays are an integral component of the services the Library. The Library offers public events to:

  • Expand the Library’s role as a community resource
  • Introduce patrons and non-users to Library resources
  • Provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  • Expand the visibility of the Library

Typically, Library Events and Displays are initiated, designed, and organized exclusively by the Library and utilize library staff expertise for community interests, collections, services, facilities, and providing access to information and information resources. Such may include, but are not limited to, lectures, displays, exhibits, community forums, performing and visual arts, participatory workshops, technology programming, creative learning programming, wellness programs, story times, continuing education, fairs and conventions, book clubs, discussion groups, demonstrations, and presentations for social, cultural, educational, or entertainment purposes.

The Library may also choose to co-host or co-sponsor an Event, as defined below. Ultimate responsibility for programming and displays at the Library rests with the Executive Director, under the designated authority of the Board of Trustees.

“Display” is defined as a selection of items (either physical or virtual) with little to no accompanying text or provided interpretation. Displays may be ancillary to an Event or stand on their own. The purpose of a library display is to communicate meaning through a collection of items (bibliographic, physical, or digital).

“Group” is defined as any association, organization, corporation, or gathering of individuals or, singularly, an individual however denominated.

“Event” is defined as any meeting, program, gathering, or performance.

“Participant” is defined as anyone attending or planning to attend the Event.

“Fundraising Event” is any Association Initiated Event that is developed to raise funds for Library and Park expenses.

“Meeting Room” includes the Auditorium, Terrace Room, Roberts Room and the Hoxie Gallery.

“Co-hosted Event” is defined as an Event designed and organized by the Library in conjunction with an outside Group. The Library typically provides staff, facilities and equipment in conducting the Event as well as promotional support.

“Co-sponsored Event” is defined as an Event designed and organized exclusively by an outside Group in which the Library supports or participates to a limited degree by providing staff, facilities or digital assistance. 


Programming and Display Topics

Library staff use the following criteria in making decisions about program and display topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:

  • Support of the Library’s mission
  • Community needs, interests, and issues
  • Availability of program space
  • Presentation quality
  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area
  • Budget
  • Historical, educational or artistic significance
  • Relation to Library collections, resources, exhibits and programs
  • ALA’s Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics

The Association believes that all community members including the socially excluded, marginalized and underrepresented people should be able to see themselves reflected in the resources and programs that the library offers. The Library and Park are welcoming spaces for all members of and visitors to our community and all programs and displays will reflect that.

In addition, the Library draws upon other resources in developing programs and actively partners with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-hosted public programs as well as those that are co-sponsored.

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 national or ethnic origin, background, or views. Library staff who present programs do so as part of their regular job duties and are not hired as outside contractors for programming.

All Library programming will be free and open to the public. Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants. Programs and displays are not available for commercial, religious, or partisan purposes.

Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space is limited. Programs may be held on site at any Library or Park location, off site, or virtually. Some programs may only be offered for specific ages or at specific times or places. However, Library staff strive to make programs accessible to all and welcome requests for reasonable accommodations.



Groups collaborating with the Library on programs must coordinate marketing efforts with the Marketing and Outreach Manager.

Events co-hosted by the Library bear the Library’s name; therefore, the Library will create all promotional materials.

Co-sponsored Events will be publicized on the Library’s digital and print events calendar only. All other publicity is the organizer’s responsibility. The Library shall not be identified or implied as a sponsor without the consent of the Executive Director. All press releases and flyers bearing the Library’s name must be sent to the Library for approval prior to release.



Any sales of products at Library Events must be approved by the Executive Director.



Programs may be cancelled for a number of reasons beyond the Library’s control such as severe weather, building emergencies, absence of the presenter, or low registration. Every effort will be made to contact individuals who have pre-registered. Cancelled programs are not automatically rescheduled.


Private Use

The Library also allows Meeting Rooms to be rented for private use. The use of Meeting Rooms occurs with no implicit or explicit collaboration between the group and the Library. See our Private Meeting Room Rental Policy for more details.


Program Reconsideration

If a patron has a question or concern about a particular Library program or event, they should first address the question or concern with a Library staff member. Patrons may request a review of a Library program or event, material, or display and should submit the Request for Reconsideration form. Requests for review of programs will be considered in the same manner as requests for reconsideration of library materials as outlined in the library policy “Reconsideration of Library Materials.”


*This Policy uses information and language from The Cranston Public Library and the American Library Association Library-Initiated Programs and Displays as a Resource: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.


Approved by the Memorial and Library Association Board of Trustees February 2023


[1] The Association makes its facilities in both the Library and the Park available to the public in accordance with this policy and Application and Park Use Guidelines and Application, which may be found on Westerly Library and Wilcox Park’s website

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