Library Policies - Gifts: Works of Art for Public Display


The Library Joint Powers Authority Board encourages members of the public, including local artists, to donate works of art to the Library System for public display. Although the Library System does not acquire or collect works of art, the Joint Powers Board believes that the display of art contributes substantially to the cultural enrichment of public library users.

For this reason, the Library System conducts changing exhibits at several Branches, and will accept donations of works of art for display purposes, with the proviso that it has neither the staff resources nor storage facilities to ensure permanent preservation of any item.

Donors wishing to present works of art to the Library System are asked to write a letter to the Chair of the Library Joint Powers Authority Board describing the proposed gift, naming the Branch where they wish it to be located, and suggesting any appropriate place where it might be displayed. Donors may wish to consult with Library Staff prior to making the proposal.

The Chair will place the proposed gift on the Agenda of the next regularly scheduled Joint Powers Authority Board meeting. The Board will accept or reject proposed gifts on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Staff recommendation as to the artistic appropriateness of the work for public display, and the suitability of the proposed display site or an alternative.
  2. The donor's or artist's signed agreement to the terms of the Gift Agreement--Works of Art (pdf), which contains the following stipulations:

    That the value of the work of art shall be supplied by the donor and stated in the agreement. It is under­stood that appraisals by staff have no legal standing, and that if the donor wishes a professional appraisal she/he must seek one at her/his own expense.

    That, having accepted a work of art, the Library will agree to display the work for a minimum of one year from the date of acceptance. Should extraordinary events prevent the Library from doing this, it agrees to consult with the donor regarding an alternative display site.

    That, having fulfilled this condition, the Library is free to move, store, sell, or dispose of the work as it sees fit and as conditions require.

    That, in the event that a decision is made to sell the work, the donor shall have the right of first refusal to purchase back the work at the current market price. This right shall not, however, devolve upon the donor's heirs or legatees.

  3. Including a work of art in the Library’s art collection implies a commitment to its maintenance, preservation, protection and appropriate display for the public benefit. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries has a responsibility to consider the resources required for maintenance, preservation, protection and appropriate display of all works of art accepted by the Library. This could include the provision of funds to cover the cost of ongoing maintenance to ensure adequate ongoing care for the work. The donor will work with Library staff and the Library Joint Powers Board to determine what is appropriate for the specific situation.

Should the Library Joint Powers Authority Board, the artist or donor, and the Library staff disagree regarding the acceptability of a work of art for public display, the Library Joint Powers Authority Board shall consult with the Santa Cruz Arts Commission for advice regarding alternative sites or resolution of the conflict.

Adopted by the Santa Cruz City County Library System [citizen] Board on October 7, 1985; Adopted by the Library Oversight Committee on November 3, 1988; confirmed by the Library Joint Powers Authority Board in July 1997. Revised September 2014.

Last updated by ann on March 6, 2017

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