Media Relations Policy

Library Spokesperson

In order to provide the most current and consistent information about the library, all contact with news media will be carried out through the Public Relations Manager, Director, or Board President, although at times they may refer the media to specific staff members. The Library Board President is the spokesperson for the Library Board of Trustees. All inquiries from reporters or other media persons should be reported immediately to the Public Relations Manager.

If staff or trustees are asked to provide the public with information related to Library business or policy, Library administration will provide clear guidelines for responding to such requests.

Employees who represent the Library as media spokespersons should avoid speculation on any topic and refrain from offering personal opinions about Library policies or programs, even when asked to do so by a reporter.

Questions from the public regarding the general operations or direction of the library should be referred to the Director. Inquiries related to the underlying principles of a policy that are open to interpretation from a political, constitutional, and/or legal perspective should be referred to the Director. Examples of such policies include but are not limited to those covering Internet Access, Filtering, Intellectual Freedom, and Meeting Room issues.

Inquiries regarding the Library budget should be referred to the Library Director and/or Business Manager/Fiscal Officer.

Newsgathering in the Library

Members of the media who wish to conduct newsgathering in the library in any manner disruptive to the operation of the library or its use by other customers must make themselves known to either the Director, or Public Relations Manager, or to the staff member in charge of the building in the Director’s absence. Examples of behavior that can be disruptive to the operation of the library or its use by other customers include interviewing at other than normal conversational voice level, photographing, video recording, or audio recording customers or staff. Staff members witnessing members of the media in this situation must inform them of the policy and ask that they request and gain permission from the Director before further conducting newsgathering in the library. This policy does not apply to a member of the media in his or her capacity as a customer using the library’s resources.

Photography And Video or Audio Recording In The Library

Photography and video or audio recording in the library are generally permitted if it is for library promotion, a student project, or strictly for personal use. Photography and video or audio recording for commercial purposes are not permitted without approval by the Director; such approval must be requested in writing and in advance.

All requests to use a library facility as a setting for photography , video or audio recording are to be referred to the Public Relations Manager, who has the responsibility and authority to evaluate the requests and to monitor the recording.  Requests will be evaluated in terms of their impact on library operations and services. The Public Relations Manager will seek approval and make arrangements with specific library departments and personnel in advance of the approved photography or recording.

In order to protect the rights of individual customers and to reduce distractions, photographing and video or audio recording on library property are restricted as follows:

  1. Under no circumstances may the public, members of the media, or library staff take photographs or record video or audio without the express permission of any library customer or staff member who would be prominently included within the composition. In the case of minors permission must come from the parent or legal guardian.
  2. Media are subject to the provisions of the Code of Conduct policy and may not disturb the normal operations of the library.
  3. In the event of a critical incident or emergency requiring police or fire response, media access may be limited to allow emergency personnel to ensure safety and security.
  4. The terms above apply to the media as well as to amateur photographers and audio/video creators.

Approved by the Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees 5/11/2010, 6/18/2012, 4/15/2019