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Approved Board of Library Trustees Meeting August 3, 2022

Purpose The purpose of this policy is to establish the authority and process for naming and renaming DC Public Library (the Library) spaces and programs. This policy covers interior and exterior spaces at neighborhood libraries and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library as well as the naming of major programs.

Consistent with this policy, the specific recognition of donors’ financial contributions will be done solely through placement on a donor wall and/or recognition in marketing and program materials supported by the donation. Donors’ contributions will not be recognized through naming of library spaces.

This policy does not apply to the naming of DC Public Library buildings. The naming policy for DC Public Library buildings can be found in 19 DCMR§ 808.


Authority for Naming Interior/Exterior Spaces and Major Programs

All commemorative naming proposals for interior and exterior spaces at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library or a neighborhood library shall be approved by the Library Board of Trustees. Commemorative naming proposals for programs shall be approved by the Library Executive Director.

The Library Board of Trustees has the right to decline any naming proposals for spaces. The Executive Director has the right to decline any naming proposals for programs.


Criteria for Naming Spaces & Programs

The Library Executive Director and/or designee will establish a selection process for naming opportunities when appropriate. Named spaces may include, but are not limited to: study rooms, meeting rooms, event spaces, auditoriums, program rooms, and gardens.

Interior/exterior spaces at a library may be named for individuals, families, or mission-aligned entities meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Provided extraordinary service to the Library or who otherwise merits special recognition;
  • Made a significant contribution to the District of Columbia;
  • Achieved a notable accomplishment while a District resident;
  • Made a significant contribution to the world of libraries, reading, or literature.

There shall be a due diligence review of each naming proposal to carefully consider the overall benefit of such naming to the Library. Such due diligence shall include the following:

  • Evaluation of whether the name is and will continue to be a positive reflection on the Library;
  • Review of any possible conflict of interest issues affecting the Library, including conflicts with Library Trustees;
  • Any other factors that could reflect on the Library.

Uniform design standards for commemorative signage will be followed, with approval for the location of plaques and other signage determined by the Library Executive Director.

The Library Executive Director or designee shall develop a process, design standards, and guidelines for naming of spaces and programs.


Public Input

The naming of library spaces and programs will require public input and review. The Library will develop a transparent process for gathering public input, for example, surveys, online feedback, and public comment at Board of Library Trustees meetings.

The public will be given notice of a naming proposal with an opportunity to provide feedback. Results of public input will be made available on the Library’s website prior to the library board vote on the naming proposal.


Duration of Names and Name Changes

Naming rights in honor of an individual or individuals, family, or mission-aligned entity are generally expected to last for the useful life of the interior/exterior space or program, unless otherwise indicated.

If a named area within a library is substantially renovated (providing new useful life equivalent to a new building), or if there is a significant addition to a library, the space may be renamed. In such instances, the original name may be honored in another space at the recommendation of the Executive Director and approval of the Board of Library Trustees, or a program at the discretion of the Executive Director.

Names of interior/exterior spaces or gift recognitions in existence at the time of the adoption of this policy shall remain in effect.


Removal of Name

Naming recognition is provided to individuals, families, and entities that exemplify the attributes of integrity and civic leadership. If an individual, family, or entity for whom a naming commitment has been made violates these standards at any time, the Library may elect to remove the individual, family, or entity name from the naming opportunity.

Any naming approved by the Library Board of Trustees can only be revoked by a vote of that body. The Board of Library Trustees delegates the authority to remove a name of a program to the Executive Director.