Program Policy

Policy Statement

The Program Policy outlines the principles and criteria for programs at Hamilton Public Library and provides guidelines for staff developing and/or delivering programs.  A program is defined as a coordinated activity or event with a specific purpose, such as highlighting collections, services or sharing knowledge and expertise.

Hamilton Public Library considers the offering of programs to be an integral part of its mission and strategic priorities and strives to offer programs that complement library services and collections offered to the community. Library programs provide an alternate way for people to learn and obtain information. Programs in public libraries encourages participation in civic life and serves to address the cultural and leisure interests of our community. 

The Library may present programs that some individuals find controversial.   Holding a program does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the Hamilton Public Library, but rather is an affirmation of the principle of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Canadian Library Association Statement on Intellectual Freedom

Purpose of Library Programs

Programs expand the Library’s visibility in the community and offer staff opportunities to engage community members. The Hamilton Public Library provides programs that support the Library’s mission, values, goals and strategic priorities. Library programs are designed to:

  • Support lifelong learning including  literacy, numeracy and problem solving in a technology rich environment (digital and interface literacy).
  • Provide information, education and recreation opportunities to Library customers.
  • Promote the use of library services and collections.
  • Nurture community cohesion and reduce social isolation by bringing members of the community together.
  • Celebrate our history, heritage and promote cultural awareness.
  • Strengthen partnerships with a wide variety of organizations.
  • Attract new and unique audiences to the Library.

Priority to Offer Free Programs

The majority of programs offered by the Library are free to attend. Charging for programs creates a participation barrier that excludes some community members.  In addition, we need to be mindful of the administrative costs associated with collecting a registration entry fee.

Charging for Programs

In some cases there is a need to charge for a program.  Charging for a program must receive approval from the Library’s Administration Team.  To offset obstacles created by charging, where appropriate, free tickets will be made available to customers or a similar type of program may be offered free of charge. Programs are designed to be informative learning opportunities, not a vehicle for commercial ventures.


This policy applies to all Library organized, co-sponsored and partnership events offered to the public by the Hamilton Public Library. This policy does not apply to:

  • Events that are developed for special purposes such as fundraising, donor recognition, media conferences or community festivals.
  • Programs offered by other organizations on library premises where space is rented and governed by the terms and conditions of the Library’s Program Room & Rentable Space Policy.

Program Development

  • Programs are developed in accordance with the Hamilton Public Library’s program strategy and framework. 
  • Library program development and planning is carried out on a scheduled basis.
  • The Library may set age or other guidelines for participation in a program, such as a children’s program, when the program is designed and best suited for a particular audience.
  • Liability insurance is required for all programs taking place in Library premises and will be purchased through the library prior to the date of the activity/event.  Alternatively, for those organizations that already have insurance, proof must be provided in advance with the Library and City of Hamilton named on the certificate.
  • Programs reflect community needs and interests.

Program Delivery

Programs will be offered by employees with program-related expertise or topic specific training, or by invited speakers and experts from the community including:

  • Authors
  • Performers
  • Staff or members of community partner agencies
  • Volunteer presenters with recognized program-related credentials

Library staff will be available to welcome customers to the branch and to promote upcoming programs. Programs are evaluated and designed with measurable outcomes.

The Library reserves the right to cancel programs as deemed necessary and will make every effort to notify the public in advance.

Suggestions for Programs

Library customers are encouraged to suggest topics for future programs. These suggestions will be considered in light of the program criteria, strategic priorities and library resources. Not all suggestions will be utilized.  The program suggestion form is available on the Library’s website.