The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (FVRL) strives to provide a welcoming environment that encourages all patrons to use its facilities, services and resources in a safe and respectful manner. Aware that portions of FVRL library buildings and grounds may be considered public forums, this policy restricts sales and solicitation activities and imposes reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on signature gathering, political activities and election materials, and other activities or expressions of free speech in accordance with State law and to the extent necessary to prevent unreasonable interference with patrons’ enjoyment of the library. Pursuant to RCW 42.17A.555, governmental entities cannot promote political activities related to ballot initiatives from which they benefit.
FVRL believes in providing free access to ideas and information that reflect the broad range of interests in the communities we serve. Therefore, it is the policy of the Library to make designated areas on Library premises available for the public expression of opinions and ideas where feasible. This policy is intended to serve as a guide and is not intended to describe every instance.
Endorsement: Use of library premises or property does not constitute FVRL endorsement of the opinions, activities or ideas of those individuals and organizations using the space.
Approved areas: Activities shall be conducted in a manner that does not restrict or inhibit patron access to or use of the Library and may be outside the facility including parking lots and other areas, or, space permitting, in the lobby area. A map of the areas available for special uses at libraries is attached to this policy. Some locations may not have adequate space inside or jurisdiction over areas outside of the buildings to allow for these activities and are not included in the maps.
Equity: Use of library facilities and grounds will be available to the public on equal terms, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting its use.
Authority: The determination of whether or not the activity or location is appropriate or limits access rests with the Library. The judgment shall be made by the person in charge of the branch.
Identification: Any organization using library property must identify their participants with an organizational ID or name badge that clearly identifies them as other than a Library employee. It shall be clear that the activity is not affiliated with or sponsored by FVRL.
Demand: If more than one advocate or advocacy group wants to conduct a survey, collect goods or signatures, express an opinion or distribute information, it is up to the person in charge of the branch to provide an orderly process for allowing fair access to the premises without disrupting service.
Collection of charitable goods: Library locations may be asked to serve as collection points for other community organizations to collect donated goods as a public service (excluding monetary donations). Due to space limitations and other considerations, and the increased workload such campaigns put upon staff, FVRL reserves the right to decline such requests. All requests for the library to serve as a collection point for community drives must be approved by the Branch Manager. Abandoned items may be donated to a local charity.
Sales, fundraising and commercial activities: FVRL prohibits all types of sales, fundraising or solicitation on library property. Exceptions are activities related to the Library Foundation, Friends of the Library or events or partnerships that are pre-approved by FVRL’s Administration and are in alignment with the District’s mission. Our libraries are not classrooms or office spaces. The exchange of money for private services (such as for tutoring) on FVRL property is strictly prohibited.
Signature gathering, protests and political activity: Gathering petition signatures, staging protests and other political activities are permitted on library property within designated areas to be determined by the person in charge of the library or the Executive Director or their designee. Unmanned campaign posters, banners, yard signs and other outdoor displays (not sponsored by the Library District) shall not be posted, exhibited or left anywhere on FVRL property. Such displays will be removed without notice and disposed of by library personnel.
Collections: FVRL is not responsible for any donated items if left unattended, stolen or damaged while on premises. The Library only provides a space for collection and will not secure offerings. Collections of donated goods under this policy include items to be recycled (such as eyeglasses), blood drives, food, clothing, books, and other charitable goods.
Political activity: Campaigning, petitioning, ballot proposal promotion, lobbying, public information campaigns, protests, and other activities associated with political campaigns, causes or concerns.
Sales: Any wholesale, retail, service or similar activity that could result in the exchange of money or offer monetary gain to the person(s) distributing the product or service.
Solicitation: The act of requesting money, credit, goods or merchandise for any purposes including promotion, vending, peddling, panhandling, testing or product sampling on library property.
The Executive Director is responsible for the administration of this policy, for establishing administrative procedures for its implementation and for making the policy available for the public at each branch and via the Library’s web site.
Severability: The Board of Trustees hereby declares its intention that the provisions of this policy are declared to be separate and severable. The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, chapter, title or other portion of this policy, or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall not affect the validity of the remainder of the policy, or the validity of its application to other persons or circumstances.
Continuance: The Board of Trustees hereby declares its intention that the provisions of this policy shall be construed and applied as a continuation of the provisions of the policy, as amended, insofar as applicable, and the repeal of any part of this policy shall not be construed as affecting such continuous application.
Applicable law: RCW 42.17A.555
Approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees: October 21, 2019
Combined with Library Premises, Expression of Opinion On Policy
Supersedes Solicitation and Community Collections Policy