Use of Library Space for Art Exhibits Policy

Effective Date: June 19, 2023


The purpose of this policy is to establish the conditions of use for local artists to exhibit their art within Toronto Public Library spaces.


This policy applies to art exhibits that are offered by individuals, collectives, and community groups for display on Library premises.

This policy excludes:

This policy regards exhibits, including but not limited to, those which are freestanding, digital, placed in cabinets or display windows, attached to Library walls, shelf-ends, bulletin boards or general wall space, or attached to exhibit panels owned by the Library or provided by the Exhibitor.

Underlying Principles

Toronto Public Library maintains a welcoming and inclusive environment that values the individual needs, experiences, and differences of all users. The Use of Library Space for Art Exhibits policy is driven by principles defined in the Library’s Values, Equity Statement, Intellectual Freedom Statement and its Vision and Mission.

Exhibit space at the Library enables access to a wide range of expressions of imagination, knowledge, creativity, intellectual activity and thought. Making exhibit space available to local artists and community groups gives a valued avenue to artists for exhibiting work while encouraging visitors to participate in the creative and cultural life of Toronto.

The Library has related policies that govern the rental of its auditoria, meeting rooms and theatres, as well as the display and distribution of community information to the public.

Policy Statement

The Library is a proud supporter of artistic expression that reflects the diverse and cultural interests of our City and its neighbourhoods. As such, TPL commits to providing exhibit space at no cost to the artist.

The Library will provide space for exhibits:

  1. Selection of art exhibits
    • 1.1. The Library welcomes applications from individuals, collectives and community groups seeking to display art exhibits on Library property.
    • 1.2. Preference will be given to exhibitors who live or work in the City of Toronto.
    • 1.3. The process for review and selection of work for an exhibit, and the allocation of space will vary from location-to-location.
    • 1.4. The Library's preferred approach is to work in partnership with the local arts councils or other local arts groups to review and select work for exhibit in accordance with this policy.
  2. Art exhibit area
    • 2.1. Exhibit space in branches is offered subject to availability, and taking into account the Library’s own needs, especially the necessity to maintain all usual Library functions and operations throughout the period of the exhibit.
    • 2.2. Exhibits are unsupervised and accessible to the public throughout Library open hours, except when the space is required for Library purposes.
    • 2.3. The Library retains the right to determine the suitability of any proposed exhibit for display in its premises and has final authority over the review, selection, and arrangement of all public exhibitions on its premises.
    • 2.4. The Library reserves the right to reject any part of an exhibit or to change the manner of display. In particular, exhibits must be reviewed within the context of the public space and its users. The Library may require the removal of any item during the period of the exhibit.
    • 2.5. Permission to use these facilities does not imply any endorsement of the aims, policies or activities of any group or individual.
  3. Request for Reconsideration of Exhibits or Individual Works in an Exhibit
    • 3.1 The Library believes that a vital society encourages members of its community to actively participate in an open exchange of ideas and opinions.
    • 3.2 The content or manner of expressing ideas in art exhibits that meet the statement of this policy, may, on occasion, be considered to be offensive by other Library customers. The Library recognizes the right of any individual or group to not view an art exhibit, but does not accord to any individual or group the right to restrict the freedom of others to view that same art exhibit.
    • 3.3 TPL welcomes suggestions, compliments or feedback about library services in accordance with the Customer Service Feedback Standards & Practices.
    • 3.4 Library customers who object to a specific art exhibit may submit a written request for reconsideration, if they feel that the content of the exhibit is not consistent with the criteria outlined in this policy or TPL's Intellectual Freedom and Equity Statements.
    • 3.5 Requests for reconsideration will be considered by staff and a response communicated to the customer who submitted the request following completion of a staff review. Exhibits will proceed while the request is being reviewed.
    • 3.6 If the customer who submitted the request is not satisfied with the response, they may submit a written appeal within seven days of the response, to have the response reviewed by the City Librarian, whose decision shall be final. This may occur after the exhibit has taken place.
    • 3.7 An annual report on intellectual freedom challenges to Library materials and services is provided to the Toronto Public Library Board.

Specific Directives

Applications to exhibit on Library premises will be available in electronic format on the Library’s website.

The Library and the exhibitor or the exhibiting group’s representative will sign a formal written contract, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party, including but not limited to terms of the exhibit, insurance, installation and removal of work.

The Library does not apply a commission to the sale of any items covered by this policy.

The Library has related policies that govern the rental of its auditoria, meeting rooms and theatres, as well as the display and distribution of community information to the public.

All exhibits must be presented appropriately for public display and according to the requirements of the Library as described in the policy and the procedures of the branch where the exhibit is placed to ensure the health and safety of customers and staff.


The Director, Service Development & Innovation is responsible for ensuring the policy is implemented.

Related Library Policies

Definition of Terms

Exhibit(s): a public display of works of art or items of interest


Director, Service Development and Innovation