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February 12, 2016

About the Library

Library Use Policies : Bulletin Board and Information Distribution Policy

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Library Closed Monday, Feb. 15

All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at the Central Library will be closed on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 15.


Possible service interruption in online Library services Feb. 13 - 14

The Library will be performing maintenance on our network. While we are not expecting service interruptions during this period, there might be brief interruptions in online services. You will be able to search the Bibliocommons catalog, but may not be able to log in, place holds, renew items or use other catalog features. The former Library catalog (Horizon Information Portal) may experience outages as well. SPL Mobile, access to e-books, free music downloads and many databases and applications also may be affected.

Bulletin Board and Information Distribution Policy

The Seattle Public Library maintains in many of its facilities bulletin boards for the posting of materials and designated areas (such as literature racks and spaces on countertops and tables) for the passive distribution of information.


A. Bulletin Boards and Distribution Areas That Are Reserved for Use by The Seattle Public Library

Some bulletin boards, literature racks, countertops, and tables are reserved for the exclusive use by the Library to post and distribute materials


  • about Library services, programs, and events;
  • from the Friends of The Seattle Public Library and The Seattle Public Library Foundation; and
  • from other governmental entities such as the City of Seattle, King County, and the state and federal governments.
  • End of list


B. Other Bulletin Boards and Distribution Areas

A limited number of bulletin board and distribution areas are available within the Library system for the posting and passive distribution of materials from other entities. In each facility, the branch or department manager (or designee) of a Library facility may designate specific areas as available for these purposes. A branch or department manager (or designee) must authorize all posting and distribution before it occurs. Authorization will be based upon the provisions of this policy and will not be based upon the viewpoint, beliefs, or affiliations of the non-profit group or the viewpoints expressed in the materials. Posting or distribution of any such materials in the Library does not indicate Library endorsement of the ideas, issues, or events promoted by those materials.


Because the amount of such bulletin board and distribution area space is limited, and in order to provide Library visitors with the opportunity to review materials from non-profit organizations that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to review, the following rules apply:


  • Bulletin Boards - Event Announcements
    Bulletin board space is provided for announcements of dated Seattle events whose principal sponsors are non-profit organizations. Individual Libraries may give priority to announcements for events scheduled to take place in a geographic area near the Library.
  • Distribution Areas
    Non-profit organizations may provide dated materials related to their not-for-profit purpose for passive distribution only in areas designated for that purpose. Passive distribution means leaving the materials with Library staff for Library visitors, if they so choose, to review and/or take with them. Passive distribution does not include verbally or visually (by means of signs, placards, etc.) encouraging Library visitors to review or take any materials with them.


C. General Prohibitions

The following items may not be posted on bulletin boards or left in material distribution areas:


  • Materials that support or oppose any current or pending ballot measure or political candidate. The Library is not intended to be a forum for the support or opposition of political candidates or ballot measures. Official election information, such as the Washington State and Seattle Voters' Pamphlets, is made available in the Library.
  • Because it is not consistent with passive distribution, materials asking Library visitors to sign a petition or letter are not permitted.


D. Terms for Use

All materials posted or distributed must comply with this policy and any other applicable Library regulations or guidelines. No other materials may be posted or distributed.


To ensure equitable access to limited display space available at each facility, a branch or department manager (or designee) may establish criteria for that facility regarding posting and distribution of material, including:


  • the maximum size of material to be posted or distributed;
  • the maximum length of time materials may remain posted or displayed;
  • the maximum amount of time before or after an event a posting may occur;
  • the frequency with which material may be posted or displayed by the same non-profit organization; and
  • consistent methods for allocating space should the amount of material exceed the space available for posting or distribution.


All posting and placement of materials in distribution areas shall be done by personnel from The Seattle Public Library. Individuals requesting posting or distribution shall not themselves post or leave materials in distribution areas.


Materials left for posting or distribution without authorization from the Library will be discarded.


The Library assumes no responsibility for the preservation or protection of materials posted or distributed. Materials will not be returned.


The City Librarian, or designee, is responsible for the administration of this policy on a system-wide basis. Branch managers are responsible for the administration of this policy within their facilities.


DATE ADOPTED: 7/22/2003


Posters and Bulletins Display adopted 1/4/1923 and revised 8/18/1980





For further information about distribution of materials, either at the Central Library or regarding materials to be distributed to the neighborhood branches, please call 206-386-4636 or use Ask a Librarian.