Programming Policy

Programming Policy


Co-Sponsored Programs

The Library may partner or co-sponsor programs with other agencies, organizations, and businesses provided the programs are compatible with the Library's mission and vision. The Library will generate joint programming and invite partners to co-sponsor or collaborate. Co-sponsored programs must include involvement by library staff in the planning of program content. Professional performers and presenters who offer specialized or unique expertise may be hired for Library programs.

Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute or imply an endorsement of its policies, beliefs, or program by any library personnel or by the Tompkins County Public Library.

This program policy does not apply to:

  • events that are developed only for special purposes such as donor recognition, fund-raising, or media conferences
  • programs offered by other organizations on library premises where space is rented under the terms and conditions of the room reservation guidelines.

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Exceptions to the policy can be made by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees.


Programming Policy

This policy addresses programming (1) developed and sponsored by the library and (2) developed by members of the community and cosponsored by the library. (If you are interested in information regarding room rental for programs not sponsored by the library, visit the page here.)

Tompkins County Public Library is a core community service. We provide free and open access to services, resources, and programs that foster literacy, cultural appreciation and personal growth and community connections. 

Library programs extend and promote the role of the library as a community resource; enhance the information found in library collections; offer a way for people to obtain information; encourage participation in civic life; and help to address the cultural and leisure-related interests of the community.


Library staff may use, but are not limited to, the following criteria in program planning:
  • Relation to library mission and service goals 
  • Community needs and interest  
  • Presentation quality and treatment of content for intended audience  
  • Presenter background/qualifications/reputation  
  • Availability of program space  
  • Budget and staffing considerations  
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibits or events.


Requests from individuals to present library programs are considered using the above criteria.

The purpose of programs may not be purely commercial or for the solicitation of business. The presenter may leave business cards for participants to pick up after the program should anyone be interested in purchasing items or services from the presenter. 

Every attempt will be made to accommodate all who wish to attend a program. However, when safety or the success of a program requires it, attendance may be limited. When limits must be established, attendance will be determined on a first come, first served basis, either with advanced registration or at the door.

Programs will be developed with consideration for the principles of accessibility and equity. These include, but are not limited to, access for people with disabilities, and times and locations that maximize convenience and encourage attendance by the target audience. The library staff has the discretion to cancel programs, to be rescheduled or not.

In some cases, the nature and success of a program may require that attendance is limited based on age, especially programs intended for children and teens that are geared to their interests and developmental needs. In no case will attendance at a program be limited because the content of the program may be controversial.

The library cannot accommodate events that are expected to exceed our room capacity. The maximum capacity of the largest room, the BorgWarner Community Room, is 110.  If you anticipate a crowd larger than that, please consider another location.

All library programs must be open to the public and offered free of charge. However, recognizing that program attendees may wish to purchase items like books written by speakers or recordings made by performers, the library may permit the sale of such items in conjunction with a library-sponsored program. All plans to sell such items must be arranged in advance and approved by the library staff responsible for the program.  Program presenters are responsible for the handling of all sales. The Library reserves the right to use video or photographs taken of program participants for internal use, publication, and use in library promotional outlets, and for evaluation purposes.