Library posters and leaflets for display - policy statement


The local library is a focal point for information about the community and attracts a large number of requests to display posters and leaflets, both in hardcopy and on the electronic promotional screens. Space and relevance have helped determine these criteria for displaying material in libraries.

The following criteria were agreed by the Executive Member for Safer and Stronger Communities. They have been drawn up to protect the Libraries' standing in the community as an unbiased source of public information to which all users have access. They have also been designed to help library staff both to make a judgement on what is acceptable and to explain that judgement to members of the public.

Surrey County Council (SCC) has declared a climate emergency and as a result Surrey Library Service will accept material and activities from organisations which aim to combat climate change. However as some of this activity can be political, the Library Service may refuse support if it feels that activity may be directed against SCC, or may bring the council into disrepute. Examples could be if a local organisation submitted a poster inviting people to lobby the council.


  • No guarantee will be made to display or return the material supplied, or to return any surplus
  • No guarantee will be made about the length of time material will be displayed, or the site for the display of material. Space permitting, posters and leaflets advertising a specific event will be displayed at least one week before the event. Posters will be displayed for a maximum of one month. Legal notices will be displayed for the appropriate legally required period
  • Posters and leaflets that are poorly produced, handwritten, contain unclear, ambiguous or out of date information, will not be displayed
  • Posters larger than A4 are not accepted
  • Priority will be given to local material and items known to the Library Manager to be of local interest and according to the "Priorities for display" and unacceptable categories as listed below
  • The decision of the Information Services Manager is final. No ensuing discussion or correspondence will be entered into
  • Material is displayed on the clear understanding that Surrey County Council does not endorse or recommend any non-Surrey County Council services, events or products displayed in its libraries
  • In libraries where there is a suitable area, a display space may be booked through the Library Manager. Separate criteria are in place for this: Static displays - policy statement
  • With the exception of content for the electronic promotional screens, posters and leaflets must be received in paper form. We will not print any posters or leaflets sent to us electronically as this incurs a cost to us

Priorities for display

As there is more demand than space available, all leaflets must detail events, services or groups which take place within the area administered by Surrey County Council or within 15 miles of the county boundary, the exception being central London theatre and tourist attractions. Posters and leaflets will then be displayed according to the following set of priorities:

  1. Information we are legally obliged to display.
  2. Material relating to Surrey Library services and activities relating to its core roles of reading, information and learning such as library author events.
  3. Material relating to Surrey Library partnerships and resultant activities like The Reading Agency, ACE (Arts Council England) or the Society of Chief Librarians.
  4. Material relating to Surrey County Council, its services and Surrey County Council supported campaigns.
  5. Local events*, groups and services** (including local support groups and membership recruitment leaflets, volunteer recruitment).
  6. Brochures for theatres.
  7. Information on tourist attractions.
  8. Any other material that can be accommodated - providing it does not fall into the categories noted below as being not acceptable.

* see "Material from any political party" below.

** Material for any services must clearly identify the organisation and any parent organisations and will be accepted only if it clearly states relevant national standards which indicate the level of service offered, training undertaken by staff. If a service offers a learning element, then this must be clearly stated. For those services offered on a one-to-one basis, particularly those offered in an individual's home, there must be some indication of the level of safety assurance offered to users such as DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks.

Material from faith organisations can be accepted provided that it meets the geographical criteria and represents a local organisation, and that the material seeks to inform, but not to lobby or pressure sections of government, Surrey County Council, or the population.

Not acceptable

The following will not be accepted for display.

  • Material from any political party. This is a legal requirement under the Local Government Act 1986 which prevents local authorities from displaying any material designed to "affect support for a political party"
  • Material which seeks to lobby or pressure sections of government, Surrey County Council, or the population. This includes any events designed to raise support, or funds, for political campaigns or those campaigning against Surrey County Council. The only exception will be material and areas supported by Surrey County Council
  • Material advertising commercial goods and services (for example local plumbers, aroma therapists, employment agencies, children's activities with no learning aspect) except for those in the "Priorities for display" section above
  • Material from any charitable or other organisation which asks directly for money to support that charity/organisation such as raffle tickets, collection boxes or sponsorship forms. The sole exception Surrey County Council makes to this is the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in November
  • Material from organisations seeking non-monetary donations for example body organ donations, unless there is a specific local activity like blood donation session at a local hall
  • Material aimed at recruiting paid employees

Magazines offered for display in multiple copies.

Material in magazines or newspaper format may be accepted on the basis that they:

  • are available in multiple copies (5 or more)
  • are intended for the public to take freely and with no charge
  • conform to the criteria as stated for posters and leaflets

Distributing material to more than one library.

Posters and leaflets must be offered to us at least 28 days prior to the event date or requested display date to allow for distribution.
Material offered to us for display in several of our libraries will be dealt with through a central distribution point currently based in Dorking.

Organisations or groups requesting that their material be displayed in more than one of our libraries will be asked:

  • To deliver the relevant and negotiated quantity to our distribution point
  • To deliver the material ready bundled up with the required quantity for each library and clearly marked
  • To ensure that any parcel does not weigh more that 15 kilos (to comply with Health and Safety arrangements)

All arrangements should be made with Library Information Services by email:

November 2013.

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