Policy Regarding Displays and Handouts

  1. Note: Approval of a display or distribution of handout materials does NOT indicate that the Library endorses any cause or activity.
  2. Definitions:
  3. Display — A collection of books, objects, posters, etc. exhibited in a prominent location, such as in a library display case or on merchandising furnishings.
  4. Handouts — Pamphlets, flyers, calendars, newsletters, tabloids, and similar free materials offered to the public for community awareness and convenience.
  5. Displays — Public
    Requests made by the public for Library display space shall be granted only for educational, artistic, and cultural materials which are designed primarily to promote interest in the use of books, other library materials, and information services. Displays will not include prices of objects; only the name, address, and telephone number of the displays may be made available to the public.

    Requests shall be considered in the order in which they are received. The Library reserves the right to limit the size, number of items, the schedule of any display, and the frequency with which the artist or organization may have a display.

    A request for a display focusing on a public issue must indicate that all aspects of the issue will be presented in an equal manner. The Library Director will determine whether or not the proposed display is balanced.

    A "credit line," i. e., a sign stating the sponsorship of the display, will be included in ALL displays.
  6. Displays — Staff
    Subject to the approval of the Library Director, staff may create displays of library materials to encourage the use of the informational resources of the Library and promote a positive view of the Library in the community. Such displays should reflect all viewpoints on a given subject where appropriate.
  7. Handouts
    Materials are posted and/or distributed in library foyers or at other locations as determined by branch managers.

    The Library posts and/or distributes free materials at its discretion. The service does not indicate Library endorsement of a cause, opinion or activity.

    Prior to distribution, Library staff will review materials. Selection criteria contained in the system's Collection Development Policy constitute the review criteria.

    Library staff will consider patron interest, space limitations and utilize the following priorities in descending order when determining which materials to make available:
    1. Fairfax County Public Library announcements/publications
    2. Fairfax County/Fairfax City Government announcements/publications
    3. Commonwealth of Virginia/United States Government announcements/publications
    4. Fairfax County Public Library Foundation, Inc.; Fairfax County Public Library Employees Association; and Friends of the Library announcements/publications
    5. Neighborhood civic, recreational, cultural, religious and educational announcements/publications
    6. Political information that is current, i. e., materials must pertain to an election being held within the next 45 days. Once the election is held, the materials will be removed.
    7. Commercial publications containing information of general interest to Library patrons
    Branch Managers will respond to concerns about the propriety of handouts in branch libraries. Patrons may appeal a Branch Manager's decision by writing the Library Director.

    Library Administration will respond in writing to patrons regarding their concerns about the propriety of materials authorized for systemwide distribution. Patrons may appeal such a decision to the Library Board.

    Such appeals will follow the System's reconsideration of Library materials policy.

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