Library Display Policy
Black Earth Public Library’s Display Policy provides a basis for the display of library materials curated by library staff, informs the public about the principles and criteria upon which these decisions are made, and promotes the purposes of the library’s mission and vision.
This policy is informed by the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement. The Library Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement have been endorsed by the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees.
The display policy, like all other policies, will be reviewed and/or revised as the need arises.
Principles and Criteria
The final responsibility for the display of library materials is held by the Library Director, but day-to-day responsibility is shared by the Library’s employees. Library staff use the following criteria in making decisions about display topics, materials, and accompanying resources:
Community needs and interest
Availability of display space
Historical, cultural, or educational significance
Connection to other community or national programs, exhibitions, or events
Relation to library collections, resources, exhibits, and programs
In addition, the Library draws upon other community resources in developing displays and exhibits, and may partner with other community agencies, organizations, educational institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored displays and exhibits.
The Library will strive to include a wide spectrum of opinions and viewpoints in library-initiated displays and exhibits, as well as offer displays and exhibits that appeal to a range of ages, interests, and information needs. Library-initiated displays and exhibits should not exclude topics, books, media, and other resources solely because they may be considered controversial. Acceptance of a display or exhibit topic by the Library does not constitute an endorsement by the Black Earth Public Library or the Village of Black Earth of the content of the display or exhibit, or of the views expressed in materials on display.
The Library has a responsibility to protect the rights of all patrons; displays which may be considered frank or offensive to some are permitted if they adhere to the Library’s Display Policy and contribute to the furtherance of its mission.
Responsibility for children’s use of library materials rests with their parents or legal guardians. Display of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.
Procedures for the Questioning of Library Displays by Patrons
In the event a patron has questions or concerns regarding an active library display, the patron will be referred to the Library Director, who will attempt to satisfy the patron’s concern by clarifying the established display policies on an informal, positive, one-on-one basis.
A patron who wishes to pursue their question further is referred to the “Recommendation for Consideration of a Library Display” form, available to them in the library. Patrons filling out the “Recommendation for Consideration of a Library Display” form must live in the Black Earth Public Library service area, including the Village of Black Earth, Town of Black Earth, Town of Berry, Town of Vermont, and Town of Arena. A concern taken to this level constitutes a formal complaint.
Within a week of receiving the form, the Library Director will contact the patron.
If a display with the same topic has been challenged within the last three years, the Library Director will refer the patron to the decision made at the time of the previous challenge. The Library Director has discretion to determine whether an additional review is necessary.
If a display with the same topic has not been challenged within the last three years, or the Library Director determines that a review is necessary, the Library Director will contact the patron to schedule an in-person (when not prohibited by a national or local emergency) meeting to discuss the recommendation.
If the patron is unsatisfied with the Library Director’s decision, the patron may request the recommendation be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees with the patron’s attendance requested.