Policy on Posting or Distribution of Materials

Policy on Posting or Distribution of Materials


As part of its mission to provide timely, accurate information, the Library provides bulletin boards and/or other space for posting and distribution of information of community interest. Community interest is understood to include civic, cultural, educational and local government agency information. Providing space for the posting or distribution of materials does not imply Library endorsement of the events or information provided.

The Library is not intended to be a forum for the support or opposition of political candidates, ballot measures, or political and personal viewpoints. Materials of this nature may not be posted or distributed. Notices of items or services for sale or rent, help wanted ads, and personal communications are not permitted. The Library Director or designee may approve for distribution a publication that contains ads if the primary purpose of the publication is to present information of community interest and not to serve as a sales tool.

Petitioning, soliciting or distributing literature or leaflets or other types of canvassing and appeals by members of the public are not allowed inside library facilities. Rare exceptions under unusual circumstances may only be made for specific Library projects with the express approval of the Library Director.

All materials for posting or distribution must be submitted for approval by a designated Library staff member and must meet the guidelines established in this policy. No other materials may be posted or distributed inside or outside on library buildings, fixtures, or grounds. Any items posted or left at a library without approval will be removed and discarded. Space is made available at the sole discretion of the Library Director or designee.

The space designated for posting and distribution of materials varies across library facilities. Approval for posting and/or distribution in one library facility does not guarantee acceptance in any other facility. The Library reserves the right to limit the number of multiple copies of publications intended for free distribution.

Priority for posting and distribution of materials is given to information, notices and publications of the Library, the City of Palo Alto, and co-sponsored library affiliate groups such as the Friends of the Palo Alto Library and the Palo Alto Library Foundation.



Items for posting must be left at the public service desk of the library facility where posting is desired. Staff will not send or deliver materials to other library locations. Individuals may not post or place their own materials unless directed to do so by designated library staff.

Items for posting must be of reasonable size in relation to the space available; in general, they may not exceed 11” x 17” in size. Handwritten announcements will not be accepted for posting.

Library staff will date stamp and post all materials. Staff shall determine the appropriate location for posting of materials. Since the Library cannot guarantee posting on the day items are received, it is recommended that items be delivered several days in advance of desired posting.

As a result of limited space, there is no guarantee of posting. Staff will not notify individuals or organizations if items are not posted. Materials submitted will not be returned to the sponsoring individual or organization.

Postings are generally permitted for 14 days with the exception of materials from the City of Palo Alto or library affiliate groups. Announcements of specific events will be removed the day after the event has occurred. Postings may be removed without notification by designated library staff when space or the volume of submissions dictates a shorter display period.


With approval by designated library staff, regularly published materials can be distributed in library facilities. Such publications may include, but are not limited to, publications from the City of Palo Alto, local newspapers, transportation schedules, catalogs of educational course offerings, and listings of cultural opportunities. Due to space limitations, a limited number of publications targeted to specific interest groups may be accepted if they are primarily noncommercial in nature. Acceptance of any publication for distribution does not guarantee that all future issues of the publication may be distributed.

Through prior arrangement with designated library staff, delivery service personnel may handle the shelving of publications in a designated area. Delivery personnel must deliver publications inside library facilities and remove older editions of publications. Exceptions are allowed for the delivery of local newspapers, which may be left outside the library entrances when the facilities are closed. Delivery personnel may not place distribution racks in libraries without approval.

Multiple copies of single-issue publications will be accepted according to the guidelines in this policy. Library staff shall determine the number of copies that can be accepted and distributed at any time.

Reviewed by:
Melissa Tronquet, Deputy City Attorney
November 2007
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