Library district to allow sale of items at programs

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Revised process expected to make sale easier for patrons

The Barry-Lawrence County Regional Library Board revised a program policy that would allow authors and presenters, with the director's approval, to sell their books and materials at the library.

Previously, the library system did not allow authors or presenters to sell their books and materials at its branches.

According to Gina Milburn, library district director, the revised policy only applies to those presenting programs, and the sale of items related to the program.

While the district does not allow or advocate the promotion of one's products or services during programs, it recognizes that attendees may want to purchase items from the program, such as books, CDs, or materials; or crafts or other created supplies — and wants to make that process easier for its patrons.

"Over the years, this [issue] has come up repeatedly for various reasons," Milburn said. "Typically, we do not allow customers or presenters to sell merchandise on library property. We don't want our patrons to feel obligated to purchase anything when they attend a program or come in to the library. I requested that the board make an exception for program presenters that we work with for a program or book signing. 

"Sometimes, they have requested that they be allowed to sell the book they are discussing or a small item related to the program. In the past when this request was made, we made arrangements for them to do a book signing or to sell merchandise (like a small magic trick kit) at another location, like a local bookstore or coffee shop. This type of arrangement is awkward because customers must then go to another location to finish the program. And often, these presenters have agreed to do a program for a much-reduced fee, or for free." 

Under the policy revision and after receiving director approval, presenters can sell their item(s) and would be solely responsible for the sale, including collection of money and sales tax. 

"The sale must immediately follow or precede the program," Milburn said.

Milburn said that program presenters and authors should expect that photographs and/or videos will be taken at events and posted on the library's district's social media sites, websites and/or printed marketing materials. If participants do not want their image used, they may request otherwise.

The district offers a wide variety of educational and enriching programs for all ages and interest groups to their respective communities. According to the district's policy manual, the definition of a program is, a planned interaction between the library staff and the program participants for the purpose of promoting library materials, facilities, or services, as well as offering the community an informational, learning, entertaining, or cultural experience.

Programming includes, but is not limited to, book discussions, story time/storytelling, family literacy, author visits/readings, artistic and music performances, film showings, demonstrations and workshops, instructional classes/training session, lectures and presentations, exhibits and associated programs and community forums.

The district use the following criteria in making decisions about program topics, speakers, and accompanying resources:

• Community needs

• Availability of program space

• Treatment of content for intended audience

• Presentation quality

• Presenter background/qualifications in content area

• Budget

• Relevance to community interests and issues

• Historical or educational significance

• Connection to other community programs, exhibitions, or events

• Relation to district collections, resources, exhibits and programs

For more information on booking a program, people may call 417-235-6646.

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