Effective Date: January 1, 2019


Toronto Public Library (TPL) provides public programming to fulfill its mission to provide equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians and to preserve and promote universal access to a broad range of knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment. Programming is provided in keeping with the Canadian Federation of Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries and TPL's vision and values.

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

Programming is a pillar of the Library's Service Delivery Model.

Underlying Principles and Scope

TPL programs respond to community needs and interests and support the priorities in TPL's Strategic Plan, as well as its Service Delivery Model, and reflect the TPL's vision, mission and values. Programs promote TPL collections and resources, offer access to professional or subject matter expertise, and build connections between residents and communities.

Programs are facilitated by TPL staff, professional and subject matter experts, authors or performers.

This policy applies to all programs including co-sponsored and partnership programs.

This policy does not apply to:

Policy Statement

TPL provides programs that:

TPL programs are open to everybody regardless of race, ethnic origin, place of origin, citizenship, colour, ancestry, language, creed (religion), age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, membership in a union or staff association, receipt of public assistance, level of literacy or any other similar factor. However, TPL reserves the right to limit attendance based on considerations of the program; for example, programs based on age, or space limitations. Program attendance requires compliance with TPL policies, including the Rules of Conduct.

TPL does not charge for programs under most circumstances. Exceptions may be made to cover direct costs when the program could not otherwise be offered.

Programs may require library membership, i.e. a library card.

Program Development and Delivery

Programs developed and delivered by TPL will meet its strategic priorities and service delivery standards, and will have clearly defined goals, target audiences, descriptions, outcomes and objectives. Data collected for all programs will be reviewed annually. A regular cycle of program evaluation will occur within TPL's evaluation framework. Evaluation will include feedback from staff, participants, and partners.

Generally, external presenters delivering programs will not solicit business, customers or volunteers, or market their commercial products or services. Exceptions made in service of strategic objectives must be approved by the appropriate Director. Programs will be developed and delivered in compliance with all TPL policies, including the Rules of Conduct, the Employee Code of Ethics and the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Programs will be delivered by qualified staff or subject matter experts, as appropriate. Programs will contribute to TPL's safe, supportive and welcoming environment. Presenters to vulnerable groups must be in compliance with TPL's Police Reference Check Policy.

Programs will be developed with consideration for the principles of accessibility, equity and inclusiveness. These include, but are not limited to, access for persons with disabilities, and delivery at times and locations and through channels that maximize convenience and encourage attendance by the target audience.

TPL programs may cover a range of topics and ideas which are of current interest and possible future significance, including topics and ideas which reflect current conditions, trends and controversies. As with other TPL services, children's access to programming is the responsibility of parents and guardians.

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

TPL accepts proposals for programs from external organizations and individuals, and evaluates them according to the criteria in this policy. TPL cannot respond to all proposals. Approval of a previous program proposal does not guarantee that an organization or individual will be asked to offer the program or have future proposals approved.

Program presenters/facilitators must always ensure the dignity and safety of the public and staff in accordance with TPL 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 TPL policies, including the Rules of Conduct, may all constitute reasons to terminate a program.

TPL welcomes suggestions, compliments or complaints and will respond in accordance with the Customer Service Feedback Procedure.

Accountability – Roles and Responsibilities

The Director, Branch Operations and Customer Experience and the Director, Service Development and Innovation, are jointly responsible for the delivery of programs that reflect the service needs and interests of local communities. The Director, Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement, is responsible for the delivery of designated events and programs that are of strategic communications significance, e.g. programs planned with the City of Toronto. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, the allocation of program budget, the development of program priorities and training. Responsibility for events that are of shared local and/or strategic interest is shared between these three Directors.

The Director, Policy, Planning and Performance Management, is responsible for supporting staff training and evaluation and statistical reporting related to programming.

The Directors are accountable for ensuring compliance with the Programming Policy in their respective areas.


Appendix 1: References

A program is defined as an event having a presentation component and lasting 30 minutes or longer. A program could be a single event or a series of events, be a scheduled or a pop-up event, take place inside or outside of a branch, or take place online.
Co-sponsored Program

A co-sponsored program is an arrangement that involves program delivery by an external organization or individual in a TPL branch.

A co-sponsored program can be a one-off program or one-time series as well as an ongoing program or series.

The external programmer has primary responsibility for organizing and conducting the program. The organization or individual is not paid for this work.

TPL provides space and promotes the program free of charge and maintains a presence during the program, where appropriate. A TPL staff member is appointed as a liaison to the external organization to coordinate program logistics.

A co-sponsored program may be one of the outcomes of a partnership.

A partnership is defined as a mutually beneficial agreement between TPL and an external company, organization, enterprise or individual, where the parties work in close cooperation to achieve one of three TPL goals: expand programming, build community, or maximize the use of space. The collaboration can include shared space arrangements, shared resources, and service delivery partnerships.
Vulnerable Group
In accordance with TPL's Police Record Check Policy, a vulnerable group is composed of "persons who, because of their age, disability, or other circumstance, either temporarily or permanently, are in a position of dependence on others, or are at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by persons in a position of authority or trust."

Appendix 2: Enquiries

All enquiries about this policy will be directed to the Director, Branch Operations and Customer Experience; Director, Service Development and Innovation; Director, Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement; or Director, Policy, Planning and Performance Management, as appropriate.

Appendix 3: References

  1. Canadian Federation of Library Associations, Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries
  2. TPL Vision, Mission, and Values
  3. Rules of Conduct
  4. Employee Code of Ethics
  5. Conflict of Interest Policy
  6. Police Reference Check Policy
  7. Use of Library Space for Art Exhibits Policy
  8. Customer Service Feedback Procedure
  9. Co-sponsored Program Guidelines
  10. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Annual Survey of Public Libraries, Definitions
  11. TPL Service Delivery Model
  12. Ontario Human Rights Code