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Programming Policy


The Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield offers a variety of programming opportunities to promote the use of library resources and services and to offer personal growth, learning, and entertainment opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds in keeping with the mission and vision of the library. The library does not knowingly discriminate through its programming.


The library supports its mission of fostering connections, empowering the community, and enriching lives by developing and presenting programs that provide additional opportunities for information, learning, and entertainment. Programming is an integral component of library service that:


  • Expands the library’s role as a community resource

  • Introduces customers and non-users to library resources

  • Provides entertainment

  • Provides opportunities for lifelong learning

  • Expands the visibility of the library


The library’s staff use the following criteria for guidance in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:


  • Community needs and interests

  • Potential to reach the goals and objectives set forth by the library’s Strategic Plan

  • Availability of program space

  • Treatment of content for the intended audience

  • Presentation quality

  • Presenter background/qualifications in content area

  • Budget

  • Relevance to community interests and issues

  • Historical or educational significance

  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions, or events

  • Relation to library collections, resources, exhibits, and programs


In addition, the library draws upon other community resources in developing programs and actively partners with other community agencies, organizations, educational and cultural institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored public programs. Program presenters include library staff with relevant skills or expertise, volunteers or staff from co-sponsoring organizations, local or visiting authors with recognized credentials or relevant experience, and qualified instructors and trainers. Professional performers and presenters that reflect specialized or unique expertise may be hired for library programs. Library staff who present programs do so as part of their regular job and are not hired as outside contractors for programming.


Examples of Library Programs

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

  • Book discussions

  • Storytimes/storytelling

  • Family literacy programs

  • Author visits/readings

  • Artistic and music performers

  • Film showings

  • Demonstrations and workshops

  • Instructional classes/training sessions

  • Lectures and presentations

  • Exhibits and associated programs

  • Community forums

  • Library tours and orientations


Programming Guidelines

Program selection and development are subject to the following guidelines:


All library programs are open to the general public and free to attend. Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space and/or budget are limited. The library reserves the right to set age recommendations for programs, to not schedule a program, and to cancel a program. Library staff reserves the right to end any program at their discretion, or to eject any attendee if they fail to adhere to the library’s Code of Conduct Policy. Consequences of misconduct in an in-person or virtual program may include immediate removal from the event and restrictions from attending future programs. 


Programs may be canceled due to inclement weather conditions, low registration, technical difficulties, or the absence of the presenter. Canceled programs are not necessarily rescheduled.


Library programs are held in library meeting spaces. However, the library will offer off-site outreach programming to provide equity of access, when possible. Programs could include story times at preschools and/or presentations to community groups for the purpose of providing and/or promoting library services.


The library may take photos, videos, and audio recordings during library events to use in its publicity materials and on its website and social media sites. The library reserves the right to document its services and the public’s use of the library building and grounds. These photographs, videos, and audio recordings may be copied, displayed, televised, and published (including on any library website or social media site). Any individual who does not wish the library to use a photograph or video of them or their child should inform a library staff member prior to or while such photographs or videos are being taken.

Library program presenters who are affiliates of commercial enterprises may provide general knowledge without direct promotion of a business for potential profit or the solicitation of business. Programs are not used for commercial, religious, or partisan purposes. The only items that may be sold to the public at library programs are books, recordings, or works of art created by presenters, as agreed upon in advance with approval from the Library Director.


In person and/or virtual programming is generated both internally by library staff utilizing library resources and in partnership with other agencies, organizations, educational institutions, or individual experts. Each library program will have a designated staff member in charge. Trained volunteers may be used to support library programming under the supervision of library staff. 


With virtual programs, the library makes no guarantee of a program participant’s privacy and cannot control other participants recording or taking screenshots of the program. Virtual program participants are responsible for using an alias for log-ins and/or disabling their cameras if privacy is a concern. 


Programs are evaluated to inform future programming plans and decisions. Reports and statistics on programs are collected and reported to the library administration. 


Programs cosponsored with other organizations must follow library policies and procedures.  Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants, program topics, speakers, or resources.


Requests for tours and group visits to library facilities should be received at least one week in advance and are subject to staff availability. Requests for community presentations or representation at a community event should be received at least two weeks in advance and are subject to staff availability and supervisory approval.


Ultimate responsibility for programming at the library rests with the Library Director, who administers under the authority of the Board of Trustees. The Library Director, in turn, delegates the authority for program management to the Youth Services and Teen and Adult Librarians, who oversee this responsibility through designated staff.


Any member of the community may suggest program topics or presenters by speaking to a staff member, and consideration will be based on criteria located in the Guidance section of this policy.


The library welcomes expressions of opinion from customers concerning programming. If a customer questions a library program, they should first address the concern with a library staff member. Requests for review of programs will be considered in the same manner as statements of concern of library materials as outlined in the library’s Collection Development Policy.


The Library Director is the final authority with regard to enforcing this policy.



Adopted by the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield Board of Trustees on 11/27/2023.

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