Art Policy

Art Policy

Superior Public Library Mission

The Superior Public Library helps people in northern Wisconsin achieve personal and community growth by encouraging young readers, inspiring imagination at all ages, and connecting citizens with one another and the broader world.

Goals for the Policy

The Superior Public Library Art Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of displays and collections in support of the library’s mission. It is the library’s goal to present our diverse community with artwork and displays that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific displays may include items that may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature. The library’s display of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression. Superior Public Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements.

Art Program Mission

Superior Public Library is dedicated to enriching the library experience of its patrons by:

  • Enhancing community appreciation of the arts.
  • Presenting a variety of works by artists as well as exhibitions of an educational and/or historical significance.
  • Providing opportunities for library visitors to encounter original artwork and increase their visual literacy.
  • Helping local and regional artists to expand their public exposure while remaining open to artists working on a national or international level.

Temporary Displays

Exhibits should complement the mission of the Superior Public Library.  The library reserves the right to use its display areas at any time for its own display needs.

The Adult Services Librarian under the direction of the Library Director is responsible for selecting temporary displays based on the library’s needs and appropriateness to the display space available. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis.

Superior Public Library offers several locations for exhibiting art:

  • Display showcase in the Meeting Room commons area
  • Display showcase in the entrance vestibule
  • The possibility for site-specific and event-specific displays throughout the library, such as the annual “Love Your Local Artist” event

Exhibits vary in duration depending on the space involved and local demand.  We remind potential artists that many members of the public, including children and families, use Superior Public Library; the Library Director reserves the right to determine what work is appropriate for each space.

Proposals are accepted throughout the year. Display space is often booked out a year or more in advance. The Adult Services Librarian may use his or her discretion to address the library’s scheduling needs. Decisions made by the Library Director are final.

Criteria for Selection

General criteria for selecting library displays are listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • Artistic merit
  • Contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • Prominence, authority and/or competence of artist
  • Attention of critics and reviewers
  • Potential for public interest
  • Timeliness of material
  • Relation to existing collections and exhibitions
  • Statement of challenging, original or alternative point of view
  • Authenticity of historical, regional or social setting

Policy for Gifts of Artwork

The Library Board under guidance of its Policy and Bylaws Committee and the Library Director will consider prospective gifts and/or purchases of artwork in order to determine the appropriateness for inclusion in the Superior Public Library collection.

Work will be considered based on the following criteria:

  • Artwork acquired by the Superior Public Library should be of sufficiently high artistic merit to warrant inclusion in the library collection. This generally requires that the works be unique pieces created by artists of established reputation or recognized potential.
  • Artwork should be compatible with the character of the library.
  • Artwork must be durable, sound, non-hazardous, and maintainable in terms of the nature of the materials.
    • An exception to this could be made in the case of works that are specifically time-based or of a temporary nature when it is understood that their installation would be of limited duration.

The Library Board and the Library Director will consider all artwork offered as a gift to Superior Public Library. In addition to the criteria above, the Board will take into account the significance of artwork as it relates to the library’s presence within the community.

Superior Public Library will provide recognition to all individuals, groups and/or corporations who donate services, financial support or gifts of art to the Library. Appropriate recognition will be determined through consultation with the donor and will generally be consistent with the recognition given to library donors. Display of accepted artwork is at the discretion of the Superior Public Library. There is no obligation for display.

De-Acquisition of Artwork

The Superior Public Library will strive to retain all works accepted as gifts, but does retain the right to de-acquisition any items if it is seen to be in the best interest of the library.

Request for Removal of Artwork 

The library welcomes citizens’ expressions of opinion concerning artwork displayed at the library. Requests to remove materials will be considered within the context of the policies set forth in this document. Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection of materials is asked to complete and sign the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form, available at the Library Service Desk. The form will be forwarded to the Library Director, who will consider the request in a timely fashion. The questioned material will be reviewed, in its entirety, and once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, a letter will be sent to the person, explaining the decision. If the person indicates dissatisfaction with the resolution, he/she may appeal to the Library Board. The Board will reconsider the decision based on whether or not the particular title conforms to the Board-approved Art Policy, as outlined above.

This policy was approved by the Library Board on 2/13/19.