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Programming supports the Thomas Memorial Library’s efforts to serve the community of Cape Elizabeth by offering opportunities for exploration, lifelong learning, community engagement, and access to information resources. The library’s programming aims to foster strong community partnerships that are focused on advancing library, town and community goals and to maximize the impact of the library’s spaces and resources.  

The purpose of this policy is to provide an overview of library programming and what the public should expect when attending programming. It also ensures the library’s partners and external facilitators are aware of the objectives and expectations of library programming. Additionally, this policy provides library staff with the necessary framework to assist them in the development and delivery of high-quality programming. 


This policy applies to all programs, except:

  • Foundation events that are developed only for special purposes such as donor recognition or fundraising; or
  • Programs or events offered by other organizations or individuals on library premises where space is rented under the terms and conditions of the Meeting Room Use Policy.

Policy Statement

Library programs are developed in response to community needs and interests, while supporting the library’s strategic goals and reflecting the library’s vision, mission and values. Programming is an integral component of library service that:

  • Expands the library’s role as a community resource
  • Introduces patrons and non-users to library resources
  • Provides entertainment
  • Provides opportunities for lifelong learning
  • Expands the visibility of the library

Library programs are developed using the expertise and specialized training of library staff, as well as the library’s collections, services and facilities. The following criteria are used in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:

  • Alignment with current library strategic plan and mission
  • Promotion of library collections and resources
  • Timeliness and relevance of topic to community needs and interests
  • Availability of funding
  • Availability of programming space
  • Promotional opportunities and publicity resource constraints
  • Presenter background/qualification in content area
  • Appropriateness of content for the intended audience
  • Connection to other community programs, exhibitions or events
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Historical or educational significance
  • Relation to library collections, resources, exhibits or 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. Professional performers and presenters that reflect specialized or unique expertise may be hired for library programs; performers and presenters will not be excluded from consideration because of their origin, background, sexuality, gender, religion, ability, or views, or because of possible controversy. Library staff who present programs do so as part of their regular job. 


The library reserves the right to limit attendance based on the specific parameters of a program, such as the age of the intended audience or space limitations. Recurring library programs, such as book and discussion groups, will remain open to all; if limited space is available in such groups, a cycle of registration will be established so that the program is open to new participants. Program attendance requires compliance with library policies, including the General Use Policy.

The library does not charge for programs. Programs may require library membership, i.e. a library card, and prioritize, or be limited to, registration of Cape Elizabeth residents. Otherwise, all programs that are capped with a participation limit will be in order of registration: first come, first served. 


The library’s philosophy of open access to information extends to library programming. The library does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, or any other characteristics protected by local, state, and federal law. Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants, and program topics, speakers and resources are not excluded from programs because of possible controversy. The library may establish time, place and manner restrictions to limit the speech but otherwise supports the right of individuals to engage in free speech.

Library programs must be non-commercial in nature. Although a professional expert may present a program, the information should always be generic in nature. Library programs must have a special educational, informational, or cultural value to the community. No individual or organization shall use a program at the library to advertise or recruit members or customers. Programs are not used for commercial, religious, or partisan purposes or the solicitation of business.

Scheduling and Frequency of Programs

The library will endeavor to offer an equitable number of programs throughout the year. However, factors such as staffing levels, budget considerations, public health concerns, and other demands upon the staff will influence the number and types of programs able to be offered.

Virtual Programs

In an effort to reach the greatest volume of patrons, the library may also offer virtual programs. These programs will utilize library approved virtual meeting platform(s) that patrons may use to access virtual programs from their own devices and may include programs that are simultaneously run at library facilities along with programs that are solely offered virtually. All library virtual programs will be hosted via the library’s virtual meeting account(s). A designated library staff member will act as “host.” Patrons attending virtual programs are expected to adhere to the General Use Policy while in attendance, and failure to do so during a virtual program may result in immediate removal.


Presenters/Performers are expected to keep all personal information acquired while performing or conducting a program at the library confidential. A person’s library record and information needs are private and confidential. 

Patron Information

Registration for library programs must be done on the library’s website, unless given an exception by the Director. The library maintains the registration contact information and distributes communication from presenters to the registrants; the registrant list for an event is not shared outside of the library. All library communications to registrants will be sent as BCC (blind carbon copy) in order to maintain confidentiality. 

During a program or presentation, no attempt may be made to promote business products or services or solicit business from program attendees. Presenters may not require personal information (names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc.) from the program participants, either as part of a pre-registration process or during the program itself. Participants can voluntarily give presenters their contact information on an individual basis. 

Photography and Filming

Programs sponsored by the library within the library or at off-site library sponsored events may be photographed or video-recorded by the library staff or its representatives. Attendance at a library sponsored program constitutes the consent of all attendees and the consent of the parents or legal guardians of any minor children in attendance, to the future broadcast, publication, or other use of photographs or videos at the sole discretion of the library.

The library may utilize photos and videos from public programs and events at the library and at off-site library sponsored events on its website, social media and in library publications. To ensure the privacy of all individuals, including children, images will not be identified using full names or personal identifying information without the written approval from the photographed individual, parent or legal guardian.

Participants may request in writing that their image not be used by the library.

Sales of Books, CDs, or Other Creative Work Products

At the library’s discretion, at events such as concerts, book launches, or author events, a presenter’s own CDs and books may be sold either by the presenter directly or through an outside vendor with whom the library has an established relationship. Library staff will not handle the exchange of money or any part of the sales interaction. 

Program Development and Delivery

Programs developed and delivered by the library will meet its strategic priorities. A regular cycle of program evaluation will occur within the library’s framework. Evaluation will include feedback from staff, participants, and partners. Library programming looks to fill in gaps that exist in our community. When those gaps are addressed elsewhere, the library will focus on new needs. To assess if a program is filling a need, the library looks to multiple points of information to evaluate the alignment with our mission. These include: evidence of attendance and participation in existing programs; when reliable research or information indicates a gap in general public knowledge or awareness of an issue; patron feedback. When programs involve a paid presenter, budgetary factors are also considered. 

Programs may be developed in response to requests from the Town in support of specific Town service goals.

The library always welcomes feedback regarding programming. 

Program Partnerships

A partnership is defined as a mutually beneficial collaboration between library and an external organization or individual, where partner contributions provide support for and/or promote activities, services, events and programs to the public to achieve the library goals of expanding programming and building community. Co-sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by participants and this will be noted on publicity. Co-sponsorship is defined as the library working with another agency, presenter, or business to provide a program for library users as agreed to in the Statement of Partnership. Priority co-sponsorship will be given to local government agencies. Agencies, businesses, or organizations that participate in co-sponsoring a library program receive acknowledgement on the library website and in local publications. The library and its employees will not be liable for the content of any program presented by a third party. (Download our Program Partnership Proposal form.)

Presenter/Performer Guidelines and Conduct

Presenters and performers are expected to follow library behavior policies and rules of conduct. Inappropriate conduct, i.e., that which is not deemed in alignment with the mission, vision, and values or general professional conduct, could lead to the termination of presenter/performer’s relationship with the library. 

Program presenters/facilitators must always ensure the dignity and safety of the public and staff in accordance with library policies and standards. Misrepresentation of a program, a likelihood of physical hazard to participants or audiences, a likelihood of misuse of premises or equipment, non-compliance with library policies, including the General Use Policy, may all constitute reasons to terminate a program.

As part of the library program, presenters or performers cannot ask for or receive for themselves or for any member of their households, directly or indirectly, any monies or gifts from library patrons.

Brochures, flyers or business cards may be made available to participants at an informational table but can not be included in presenter handouts. Library patrons may ask presenters for this information and presenters may provide their business contact information at this point for discussion outside the library program.

Presenters or performers are independent contractors whom the library retains to perform a particular job for a limited time period. These persons may be self-employed or they may work for an outside agency. Independent contractors are not eligible for Town benefits and they are not employees of the library.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Director and Department Managers are jointly responsible for the delivery of programs that reflect the service needs and interests of local communities. The Director is responsible for the delivery of designated events and programs that are of strategic significance, e.g. programs planned with the Town of Cape Elizabeth. 

The Director is responsible for the allocation of program budgets, final approval of all program related expenditures and event bookings, and the development of program priorities and training. 

Patron Concerns

The library welcomes expressions of opinion from any library patron concerning programming. Patrons questioning a library program’s content should first address the concern with a Department Manager or the library Director. Those who wish to continue their request for review of library programs must submit the Request for Reconsideration form. Requests for review of programs will be considered in the same manner as requests for reconsideration of library materials as outlined in the library’s Collection Development Policy.

Program Cancellation

Programs may be cancelled at the sole discretion of the Library Director.

Drafted: August, 2021
Voted for recommendation of approval by the TML Committee on: November 18, 2021
Amended by the Town Council Effective Date: January 10, 2022
Adopted by the Town Council Effective Date: January 10, 2022
Policy Review: This policy shall be reviewed at least every 5 years