[Libs-Or] Policies regarding co-sponsoring programs?

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org
Sat Apr 6 16:00:25 PDT 2013

Hi Max,

As things currently stand, any group can make use of our meeting rooms
-- our policy states that: 

"Driftwood Public Library and the City of Lincoln City do not bar access
to the
meeting rooms to anyone on the basis of race, religion, gender, creed,
age, national origin or social and/or
political views. The library’s and city’s endorsement of a group’s views
is not implied by their permitting a
group to use the meeting rooms."

So, to answer your question, if a white supremacist group requested to
use a meeting room here at the library, their application would not be
denied on that basis. We do require that groups who use the meeting
rooms abide by our conduct policy, so if they were disruptive in their
behavior during their meetings or interfered with others' ability to use
the library, that would be an issue. 

I'm comfortable with this policy, and it's stood us in good stead thus
far -- we have a wide variety of community groups that use our meeting
rooms, and (*knocks on wood*) have not had any issues thus far.

What I'm now looking into is when things go beyond merely allowing the
use of the room, to actually sharing the costs and advertising with a
group for an event. In the past, we have shared the costs and
advertising with groups like the AAUW (American Association of
University Women) to bring in speakers, and presented these events as
co-presentations along the lines of "Driftwood Public Library and the
AAUW present" such-and-such program. Recently I was approached by a
local church about hosting similar program in conjunction with Earth
Day. The subject matter of the program is non-religious and fits with
the library's mission of literacy, but we have some concerns about what
precedent co-sponsoring a program with a group that is explicitly
religious might set. There is some trepidation with regard to saying,
"Driftwood Library and Local Church present" in our press materials. I
have found some policies online that address the process for
co-sponsoring programs (for example, Fort Worth:
http://fortworthtexas.gov/library/info/default.aspx?id=41498), but most
don't address the issue of religion or partisan politics.

I suppose the question we are asking ourselves is, should we set a
policy that states that if the content of a program proposed for
co-sponsorship fits the library's mission, we will consider sponsoring
it no matter the originating group, or should we set a policy that
restricts such sponsorships to secular and/or non-partisan
organizations? And if we do set such a policy, who defines whether a
group is non-partisan?

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney

>>> Max Macias <mmacias at pcc.edu> 04/04/13 8:42 AM >>>
Hi Kirsten, 

I'm interested to know if you would allow a White-Supremacist group, or
a Satanic group to use your facilities for meetings.

Would you allow such usage of library resources?

If not, what would you say, what would be your rationale?

If so, what would your rationale be then?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic--this is a genuine question.

This is an interesting discussion--thank you!

Max Macias
On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 5:32 PM, Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
<kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org> wrote:
   I'm curious if any of you have specific policies about co-sponsoring
programs with local community groups. 
 Our policy regarding our meeting space boils down to basically, anyone
can use it, and use of the library's space does not constitute library
or city endorsement.
 We have also co-sponsored events with local community groups such as
the AAUW and such: basically, we share costs and advertise the program
as "Driftwood Public Library and the AAUW present X Program On X Nifty
Thing." We don't have an official policy on this (bad Kirsten!) but the
general view has been that we were willing to co-sponsor programs that
were aligned with the library's mission -- most often it happens that a
community group approaches us an says, "We were planning on doing a
prothinking of doing a program on that, too -- why don't we co-sponsor it?"

 My library's advisory board has recently questioned this, since some of
the groups we've partnered with could be considered partisan or
religious. Our feeling at the library has tended to be that as long as
the program was educational and fit the library's mission, we were
willing to work with these groups. I do think my board is right to
express concern that in the absence of a policy, we may be setting a bad
precedent -- but my instinct is that it has to be all or nothing --
either we're willing to co-sponsor events that fit the library's mission
with any group, or we can't co-sponsor at all.
 I'm curious about how other libraries have handled this and whether you
have written policies to this effect. 
 Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
Library Director
Driftwood Public Library
801 SW HWY 101, #201
Lincoln City, OR 97367
 kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org

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