Program Policy

Last Updated Date
Policy Type

This Program Policy establishes principles intended to guide the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District (the “District”) in providing programs, classes, lectures, storytimes, discussion groups, and workshops which are consistent with the District’s mission, which is to serve the intellectual, cultural, and recreational needs of the community.

Philosophy and Scope of Programs

In accordance with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the District provides resources for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people within the community the District serves. This includes programs on a variety of topics that appeal to the wide array of interests in the community.

The District recognizes that the choice to attend programs is an individual decision and acknowledges that while one person may reject a program for themselves, they cannot determine suitability for or restrict access to events by others. Event attendance by minor children is the responsibility of parents or caregivers, who guide and oversee their child’s development. District staff will not act as censors for any age group or subject matter.

District staff who create and present programs do so as part of their regular duties and are not hired as outside contractors for the programs they create and conduct. In addition to staff, the District actively partners with external organizations and community partners to develop and co-sponsor programs, which may include hiring external presenters that reflect specialized or unique expertise. Such presenters are chosen from local, regional, and national talent. The District does not endorse the content, or the views expressed by presenters or program participants.

Program offerings must support the District’s mission. Programs that are inconsistent with the mission—such as commercial or partisan programs—will not be planned. All product sales in conjunction with a program must be approved, in writing, by District staff in advance.

Program Suggestions

We welcome suggestions from District residents for future programs. Suggestions, and requests to present, including author readings and signings, should be submitted via our Propose a Program form. Suggestions and requests will be considered and evaluated based on the program criteria outlined below.

Program Criteria

District staff use a variety of criteria when making decisions about programming topics, speakers, and accompanying resources, including the following:

  • Patron demand and/or anticipated demand
  • Cost
  • Availability of suitable space
  • Presenter background and qualifications in content area
  • Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
  • Support of local and national school curricula
  • Connection to the District community
  • Importance of the subject matter
  • Attendance statistics and patron feedback for similar events
  • Factual content
  • Timeliness and relevance to contemporary culture
  • Representation of diverse interests and viewpoints
  • Relationship to District collections, resources, exhibits and events


All programs are open to the public, but some may be designed with specific audiences in mind, such as those intended for children and teens that are geared to their interests and needs.

Adults who wish to attend an event specifically designed for children must be accompanied by a child. Tween and teen events are limited to tweens and teens only, except when they require an adult assistant or companion.


Nearly all of the District’s programs are offered at no additional charge. However, some programs may require a small fee to recoup the cost of supplies. In these instances, a note will be placed in the event calendar to notify patrons when registering.

Attendance & Cancellations

The District may deem it necessary to limit attendance due to space constraints or the nature of the event. Patrons should check the online event calendar for the most current information on available spots. Once registered, the District asks patrons to be courteous of others who might be on a wait list by calling or going online to cancel in the event they are unable to attend.

There are factors beyond the District’s control that may require cancellation of a scheduled program such as severe weather, building emergencies, personal issues on the part of the presenter, low registration, or other unforeseen factors. In these instances, District staff will make every effort to contact individuals who have registered. Canceled programs are not automatically rescheduled and the District reserves the right to cancel any program at any time.

Request for Reconsideration

The District welcomes expressions of opinion from residents concerning our program offerings. Residents should first address their concern with a staff member. If the concern remains unresolved, the following procedures have been developed to ensure that complaints from residents residing within the physical boundaries of the District (hereinafter, each a “Complainant”) are handled in a timely and consistent manner.

  1. The Complainant will be referred to the Manager of the Department that organized the program or, in the event they are unavailable, to the Librarian in charge, who will discuss the program with the Complainant in relation to the Library’s Program Policy and the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.
  2. If the complaint is not resolved to the Complainant’s satisfaction, the Complainant will be asked to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Programs Form and submit it to the Library Director (the “Director”). The Director will then form a committee comprised of the Director, the Manager of the Department that organized the program, and the President of the Library Board of Trustees (the “Board”). The committee will review the program and provide a written response to the Complainant once a decision has been reached. The program will remain scheduled as planned while the committee is conducting their review.
  3. If the complaint is not resolved to the Complainant’s satisfaction, the Complainant may appeal the decision to the full Board, who will consider the matter at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting and provide a written response to the patron once a decision has been reached. The program will remain scheduled as planned while the Board is considering the matter. If sufficient time does not exist to enact the reconsideration process prior to the event, the matter will be considered for future similar events. The Board’s decision is final, and no further appeals may be made.
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