Programming Policy

Policy # 028

  • Approved: August 28, 2006
  • Effective: August 28, 2006
  • Revised: September 26, 2011

Programming, a key resource offered by Kalamazoo Public Library, is integral to achieving the library's mission:  Kalamazoo Public Library champions reading, ignites imagination, and ensures access to information and ideas.

The Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees delegates development and presentation of programs to the library director.

The Programming Policy guides staff responsible for program development and documents programming guidelines for Kalamazoo Public Library District residents.

Basic to the Policy is the American Library Association's statement: “Library-Initiated Programs as a Resource,” an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. The statement is appended to this document.

The library upholds principles of intellectual freedom and supports the rights of individuals to read, speak, view and exchange points of view. In order to provide access to diverse perspectives, the library presents a variety of programs. Topics and speakers are not excluded from library programs because of possible controversy. Sponsorship by the library does not constitute endorsement of program content.

Programming Objectives

Programs offer opportunities to highlight collections, promote other services and share information and expertise. They are effective vehicles for outreach, allowing the library to forge partnerships with external groups and enhancing the library’s stature in the community. Programs support the library’s role as a civic gathering place, help make the library a destination and attract regular and new users of all ages and backgrounds. Programs are intended to further the mission of the library and are consistent with the library's core values and the Strategic Plan.

Programs should enhance, support and fulfill the library’s strategic goals and objectives.

Scope of Programs

The library presents programs for various age groups, cultures, backgrounds and interest groups. Programs may target a general audience or be tailored to an age-specific audience.

Types of library programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Book discussions
  • Storytimes/storytelling
  • Family literacy programs
  • Author visits/readings
  • Artistic and music performances
  • Film showings
  • Demonstrations and workshops
  • Instructional classes/training sessions
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Exhibits and associated programs
  • Community forums
  • Library tours and orientations

Program presenters include library staff with relevant skills or expertise, volunteers or staff from co-sponsoring organizations, local or visiting authors and performing artists, local or visiting speakers with recognized credentials or relevant experience and qualified instructors and trainers. The library regards programming as an essential aspect of service to youth. Programs convey excitement about books, reading and research. They aid in social development and help build critical thinking and problem solving skills. Programs for children and teens foster life-long use of the library.

Programming Guidelines

Program selection and development are subject to the following guidelines:

  • Program priority is based on its potential to reach the goals and objectives set forth by the library’s Strategic Plan. 
  • Program content is appropriate for group presentation.
  • Space and physical arrangement are safe and conducive to effective program delivery.
  • Programs are open to all, including district non-residents and non-cardholders; pre-registration may be required; some programs are limited to age-specific audiences.
  • Admission to library programs is free; a small fee for materials may be charged.
  • Programs are non-commercial; presenters may have a business affiliation, but no solicitation or promotion for business purposes will be permitted.
  • Sale of books/CDs/art work by authors/performers/artists is permitted as part of a library program when arranged for in advance.
  • The library may co-sponsor programs with entities whose mission and goals are compatible. Co-sponsorship decisions are made on the basis of shared interest, responsibility and benefits.
  • Program suggestions from the public and/or unsolicited offers from individuals or organizations to present programs will be evaluated by the same standards used to select library-initiated programs.
  • Programs are held in library facilities when possible and appropriate; meeting room capacities will be observed. Other locations will be considered when the library is not equipped to handle an event or an alternate venue will encourage access or attendance.
  • Library administration must approve program sites outside the library district. v Individuals with disabilities who contact the library up to one week in advance will be accommodated to the best of the library's ability.


Through programming, the library responds to emerging community interests as well as established interests and demand. Expanding areas of knowledge, technological advances, changing social values and new cultural trends require program planners to keep pace with new developments.

This Programming Policy, as adopted by the library’s Board of Trustees, will be reviewed by the library director, professional staff and the Board of Trustees at least every five years.

Library-Initiated Programs as a Resource: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights PDF (American Library Association)