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Library Administrative Manual

3.10 Exhibits Policy


The Exhibits Program is part of the administrative operations of the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University and reflects the diversity in subject areas and interests of the University's curriculum and student body. The Exhibits Program involves students in a visual learning experience which is informative and educational in nature. It attracts positive attention from both the academic and Bay Area communities, making people aware of the Library, its collections and services, and the University at large. The Library encourages exhibits that meet at least one of the following criteria: educational, artistic or aesthetically based; library-related in theme; or informational. Finally, the Exhibits Program affirms the tenets expressed in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. Specifically, the Exhibits Program supports the ALA policy that "...library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community that the library serves"

I. Exhibits Personnel

  1. The Library Management Team oversees the Library's Exhibits schedule and approves exhibits in the Library's exhibit cases.
  2. The Administrative Secretary, CA IV and CA II in the Administrative Office prepare exhibits and displays relating to overall Library themes, such as National Library Week, for the first floor lobby exhibit case, and for the first floor kiosk.
  3. Faculty and staff from the three special collections areas (Special Collections/Archives, Labor Archives and Research Center, de Bellis Collection) curate and coordinate the production of exhibits and displays of materials from their collections, including coordinating publicity.

II. Nature & Types of Exhibits

Exhibits should be informative and educational in nature, reflecting the Library's role of curriculum support to the University. The subject matter of the exhibits should be appropriate to the interests of the general academic community and presented on a level appropriate for a university library. In addition to the intellectual content, the physical presentation of the material should be easily comprehensible and aesthetically pleasing. The decision as to the appropriateness of any exhibit rests with the Library Management Team. There are two types of exhibitions in the Library: major and mini. Major exhibitions are generally done by guest curators and are installed in the ten permanent exhibit cases on the first floor of the Library or movable exhibit cases or panels on any floor of the Library. Mini exhibits are those that are displayed in the permanent exhibit cases in the Library entry or lobby and run for shorter periods of time than major exhibitions. Mini exhibits may be curated by Exhibits personnel, library staff, student groups, faculty, or guest curators. The time commitment for these exhibits is dependent on general exhibits scheduling. The front exhibit case in the 1st floor main hallway opposite the Friends Booksale Room is normally reserved for Friends of the J. Paul Leonard Library use.

III. Exhibit Proposals & Review

Exhibit ideas and proposals may be generated by Library faculty and staff, SFSU student groups, campus faculty and staff, or the off-campus community. Exhibit ideas sponsored by extra-library organizations or individuals must be submitted in writing to the Library Administration Office for Library Management Team review. Proposals for major exhibitions should be submitted as far in advance as possible, but no less than six months prior to the opening date of the exhibition,. Proposals for mini exhibitions must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the exhibit's opening. Evaluation of proposals will be based on the purpose, content, and scope of the proposal, previous exhibition scheduling commitments, estimated time and production costs, and the exhibition's relevance to the University, its curriculum and student body. Exhibitions proposing a guest curator will also be evaluated on the basis of the curator's expertise and previous experience. Commercial agents or dealers are not eligible to use the exhibit facilities. Exhibition space may not be used simply for the promotion of an individual's art or personal collection. If an exhibit is mounted in the Library and a dispute arises over its nature and/or content, complaints may be addressed to the Administrative Office. Formal complaints shall specify the following:

  1. the name, current address, and telephone number of the complainant
  2. the reasons for the complaint.

IV. Student Exhibitions

Space for mini exhibits is available to officially-recognized SFSU student organizations. The two front entry/exit cases will be available for SFSU student organizations. The mini exhibitions should be informative, educational and objective in nature. They may advertise an event, offer informative material about a course or an organization, or present material on a particular theme. Student groups must complete an "Application for Use of Mini Exhibits Facilities" at least six weeks prior to the requested exhibition date. The Library requires that the application form be signed by the group's campus advisor. The dates allocated for exhibit space are dependent on previous exhibits scheduling. Formal acceptance is given by the Administrative Office staff. The Library will provide a sign to be placed in student mini-exhibits that reads: "This exhibit was produced by a SFSU student organization. The views are of the organization represented and do not necessarily represent those of the Library." In order to accommodate as many student organizations as possible, only one display per academic year, per student organization will be accepted. Beginning June 1st, applications for student mini exhibits will be accepted for exhibits during the following academic year. "Exhibition Guidelines for SFSU Student Groups" is attached.

V. Guest Curators

Persons other than library faculty and staff may curate exhibitions. Once an exhibition proposal is approved by the Library Management Team, the Guest Curator must register as a volunteer employee of San Francisco State University. Guest Curators provide curatorial services without reimbursement. Guest Curators are responsible for the following: selection of objects, an insurance list for all objects, facilitation of loan agreements, and first draft writing for all copy (including publicity) for the exhibition. All Guest Curators are expected to sign a Curatorial Agreement and to adhere to the exhibition timetable developed by the Exhibits Program. Failure to do so can result in cancellation of the exhibition or the request that the Guest Curator withdraw. "Exhibition Guidelines for Curators-A Curatorial Orientation and Agreement" is attached.

VI. Insurance & Loan Agreement

Typically insurance is contracted only when the total value of objects in the exhibition is over $1,000.00. The California State Fine Arts Insurance Program is used by the Library for exhibition insurance unless lenders elect to utilize their own insurance coverage. The specific terms regarding insurance for major exhibitions are detailed in the "Conditions for Loans to the J. Paul Leonard Library" which is on the back of the Loan Agreement used for major exhibitions (Exhibits Program Manual). Signature on the Loan Agreement by lenders signifies their acceptance of those terms. The objects are crucial to the procurement of insurance by the Library. Objects of value will not be displayed without insurance coverage. Materials on exhibit that are property of either the J. Paul Leonard Library or San Francisco State University will not be insured for exhibition purposes since campus property is self-insured. Exceptions to this are objects whose individual value is greater than $500.00. The value of student exhibitions is limited to $150.00. Student exhibitors are solely responsible for the liability of their objects and may secure their own insurance if so desired. If an exhibition requires insurance, a Loan Agreement will be completed for each lender. In addition to itemizing the loaned objects, the agreement identifies the loan period and the responsibilities for transportation and packing of objects.

VII. Installation

The exhibit curators and Administrative Office staff are responsible for installation and dismantling of all major exhibitions. Guest Curators design and install an exhibition, but the Library retains final determination with respect to display design and installation. The person(s) or group sponsoring a mini exhibit are fully responsible for the installation and dismantling of the exhibit materials under supervision of the Administration Office staff.

VIII. Publicity

The Administration Office staff is responsible for coordinating all publicity efforts. Press releases will be written for all major exhibitions. Additional types of publicity will be developed only if the budget for the exhibition provides for such expense.

IX. Receptions

Library-sponsored receptions for exhibitions require the approval of the University Librarian.

X. Exhibits Calendar

The Administrative Secretary maintains an exhibition calendar based on the fiscal year (July 1-June 30). It includes the scheduling and location for all major exhibitions within that year. Mini exhibitions may be scheduled at the same time or added as the year progresses.

XI. Length of Exhibits

SFSU Student Groups is allowed to reserve an exhibit case for a maximum of two weeks per semester. Outside Groups is allowed to reserve exhibit case(s) for one semester.

XII. Budget, Exhibit Facilities & Props Introduction

Library faculty and staff proposing exhibits should include budget recommendations for library or other external funding to support exhibits in their proposals. The Library exhibit facilities maintained under the Library Exhibits Program are located on the first floor of the Library. The facilities consist of thirteen permanent exhibit cases and five movable exhibit cases. In the instance of free-standing exhibitions, additional exhibit space in the library may be required. This is generally located in the lounge area, or the area immediately off the first floor exhibit hallway. The Exhibits Program also maintains props for exhibition design. The location and dimension of the cases are attached. The movable cases and/or props may be borrowed for exhibitions in other units of the Library. Loan of the cases and props is contingent upon the demands of exhibits programming.

Approved by Library Directors Group: 2/9/87
Revised: 7/22/92
Revised by LMT: 11/10/98

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