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Kalamazoo College

Displays & Exhibits

Policy Purpose

The following policy has been developed to ensure that exhibits in the Upjohn Library Commons (ULC) reflect the Information Services (IS) department’s overall commitment to quality. For the purpose of this document, exhibits are defined as thematic displays of materials, including but not limited to books, posters, documents, art work, artifacts, and other objects, that should be accompanied by written commentary or labels.

Objective of Exhibits

The purpose of the Upjohn Library Commons exhibit facilities is to increase public awareness of Information Services resources and to promote the educational and cultural mission of Kalamazoo College.


As an educational and cultural institution, the Upjohn Library Commons welcomes exhibits of interest, information, and enlightenment to the Kalamazoo College community. IS retains oversight for all exhibits. When appropriate, IS exhibitors will collaborate with other departments on campus or with community organizations to develop and present exhibits and collaborative programs.

There are four exhibit areas in the Upjohn Library Commons building.  The lobby display case and the Book Club Café Art Gallery are the only spaces available for non-IS exhibits. IS staff reserves the right to change, reschedule, or cancel exhibits when necessary.

Lobby Exhibits

IS maintains the exhibit areas and will set up the majority of exhibits, but other Kalamazoo College groups are welcome to propose and devise appropriate displays in this area. Non-Kalamazoo College individuals or groups may present exhibits at the discretion of IS staff. Groups or individuals interested in presenting exhibits should contact the Library Director.

Book Club Café Art Gallery

Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff are welcome to propose and devise art displays in the Book Club Café. Non-Kalamazoo College individuals or groups may present exhibits at the discretion of IS staff. Groups or individuals interested in presenting exhibits should contact the Library Director.

Archives Exhibits

The exhibit cases outside the Archives are maintained by the Archives staff. Only Archives staff may present exhibits in the Archives exhibit cases.

Rare Book Room Exhibits

The exhibit cases in the Rare Book Room are maintained by the Technical Services Librarian. Only the Technical Services Librarian may present exhibits in the Rare Book Room exhibit cases.

Exhibitors pay any special costs incurred in mounting an exhibit, including costs for materials, and repairs or replacement costs due to any damage to the Upjohn Library Commons building or college property caused by the installation or removal of an exhibit.


Exhibits in the Upjohn Library Commons facilities must further one or more of these purposes:

  • to call attention to a theme related to Information Services issues, collections, or  programs
  • to bring together library materials related to a theme of current interest
  • to highlight current issues, events, or other subjects of campus interest
  • to display high quality original art, crafts, photographs, or writings created by Kalamazoo College artists or contained in traveling exhibits
  • to highlight past scholarship and encourage future scholarship
  • to highlight alternative and unique topics for investigation
  • to honor donor gifts and encourage philanthropic giving to the Upjohn Library Commons and Kalamazoo College
  • to enhance the visual atmosphere of Upjohn Library Commons


Exhibits must be appropriate to a public setting and informative to the patrons of Upjohn Library Commons. Exhibits should support the curriculum or instructional mission of Kalamazoo College, or reflect Kalamazoo College collections and services.

All exhibits must meet existing state and federal laws on obscenity, libel, defamation of character, or invasion of privacy.

Exhibits may not include any organic materials, such as food or liquids, that may degrade over time and damage other items or the display area. 

IS is not responsible for ensuring that all points of view are represented in any single exhibit. Granting of permission to display materials does not imply IS’s endorsement of content, nor does IS accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made in exhibits or displays. IS retains the right of refusal and is not obligated to accept every exhibit offered for display.

Displays may not be used to promote personal, commercial, or political positions; however, controversial subjects may be presented, provided that an exhibit reflects an equitable balance of viewpoints and does not violate state and federal obscenity, libel, and privacy laws.

The IS staff reserves the right to reject any exhibit or item for any reason at any time.


All Library display cases are kept locked.  The doors to the cases are glass, however, and this places items in the cases at some risk of damage or theft.  Items hung in the Book Club Café are not secured.

Kalamazoo College and IS do not provide insurance to cover the loss of or damage to displayed items.  The person or group responsible for the exhibit assumes all risk of damage and loss. IS assumes no responsibility for the preservation, protection, or possible damage or theft of any item displayed or exhibited. All items placed in the Upjohn Library Commons for display is done so at the owner’s risk.

General Guidelines for ULC Lobby Exhibits

Exhibits must be appropriate to a public setting and informative to the patrons of Upjohn Library Commons.

Exhibits should reflect professional quality, coordinated mounting materials, appropriate preservation and archival exhibit supplies, attention to design aesthetics and public engagement, and use a minimum amount of uniformly printed titles and textual information.

While Library staff is available to consult with exhibitors on the mounting and dismantling of exhibits, the individual or organization that reserved the display space is responsible for timely installation and removal. IS staff will support the preparation of exhibits to ensure the proper handling of materials displayed and a uniform, professional appearance of exhibits.

Exhibitors must schedule an appointment to meet with the Library Director prior to the installation of an exhibit to inspect the areas to be used. Once the display is installed, the exhibitor must seek final approval from the Library Director before leaving the building. Exhibitors must also schedule a time to meet with the Library Director upon dismantling the exhibit to inspect for damage the areas used in the display.

The preparation of a quality exhibit requires a significant investment of thought, effort and time. Begin planning and developing approved exhibit well before the installation date. Prepare an exhibit and its descriptive labels well in advance of the opening so that the display may be installed as quickly and completely as possible, avoiding empty cases or an incomplete exhibit for any length of time. If you must leave the exhibit unfinished for any length of time over 24 hours, please post a visible sign in the case indicating “Exhibit in Progress.”

General Guidelines for Book Club Café Art Gallery Exhibits

Exhibits must be appropriate to a public setting and informative to the patrons of Upjohn Library Commons.

Artists displaying work in the Book Club Café Art Gallery are encouraged to post a statement about their work.  For each work, the artist should provide a display card or title label indicating the name of the work, artist’s name, medium, and price. No labels, signs, artwork, or other material may be attached to any walls without approval of the Library Director. 

A gallery system is provided to display art. All art must be able to hang with a wire. Work that is fragile or has questionable durability may be rejected. Each cable can hang art up to 30 pounds in weight. Artwork up to 60 pounds may be hung with two cables. No artwork heavier than 60 pounds may be hung in Book Club Café. Floor space must be kept clear, and artwork may not protrude from the wall in a way that interferes with patrons’ ability to use Book Club Café comfortably.

Works of art on display may be offered for sale, with prices established by the artist. The artist is responsible for conducting the sale of any work directly through the buyer. Works that are not available for purchase should be clearly designated as “NFS” (not for sale). Works sold must remain on exhibit throughout the display period. Artists must notify the Library Director within 48 hours of sale so the artwork may be marked “sold.”

The Book Club Café display area is open during scheduled library hours. Artists must provide their own insurance coverage if they desire to ensure their works. Kalamazoo College is not responsible for loss or damage incurred while the exhibited items are in the Library. All items placed in the Library are placed there at the owner’s risk. All artists are required to sign an Exhibit Agreement that releases the Library from responsibility for any items in the exhibit. The Exhibit Agreement must be signed and submitted to the Library Director on or before the exhibit set-up date.

Permission to photograph and reproduce any work accepted in the exhibition for publicity purposes is considered granted unless otherwise stated in writing.

Artists must remove artwork from the Library no later than two days after the end of the exhibit unless the artist/lender has made written arrangements with the Library Director prior to the exhibit.

Using Library Materials in Exhibits

Any library books used in an exhibit must be checked out before placement in the display cases. The Library reserves the right to remove library materials if the need arises.

Library materials used in exhibits must be displayed in a manner consistent with vetted preservation standards. Never use rubber bands, staples, paper clips, post-it notes, or any kind of sticky adhesive or metal fasteners on library materials.  Library staff is happy to provide advice or guidance in this area. Any library materials displayed in a potentially damaging manner will be redisplayed or removed from the exhibit.


The sponsoring organization assumes any costs incurred in mounting the exhibit (e.g. supplies, signage, publicity).

While the Library does not provide exhibit supplies for guest exhibits, staff from the Archives and Center for New Media Design are available for consultation on mounting exhibits.

Suggested supplies include:

  • Foam Core
  • Poster Board
  • Card stock or other heavy paper for captions
  • Fabric for lining cases/covering shelves
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Display Stands (the Library has some display stands available for use in exhibits on a first-come basis)
  • Signage

Exhibitors should provide a sign announcing the title or theme of the exhibit.

Exhibits presented by non-Information Services staff must include a sign or label clearly visible within the exhibit area that indicates the name of the individual or organization responsible for the exhibit.

The context and text, including font size of labels, of an exhibit should be clear and easy to read. Choose clean, easy to read fonts, like Arial or Tahoma, and use font size 16 pt. or larger.

If the exhibit is left unfinished for any length of time over 24 hours, please include an “Exhibit in Progress” sign visible in the case.

Conservation Considerations

Exhibits must be mounted in display cases, units or other areas specifically designed for exhibitions. Display materials must not be affixed to library walls or other surfaces that can be damaged or defaced by adhesives, fasteners, etc.

Materials in the display cases may fade or discolor because of exposure to light. If this is a concern, consider using color photocopies rather than original documents. Use foam core to create rigid backings for documents displayed upright. Display books flat or on cradles or stands to prevent damage to the pages or spine. Some books do not stay open, and forcing a book to display open will result in damage that may be impossible to repair.

All exhibits must adhere to established guidelines for mounting, according to the National Information Standards Organization’s Environmental Conditions for Exhibiting Library and Archival Materials (

Library staff is available to consult with exhibitors on display techniques.

Follow-up and Clean-up

Exhibitors are responsible for all items displayed during the exhibit, and for keeping the display neat and tidy.  The Library is not responsible for maintenance of the exhibit.

Humidity, light, and temperature fluctuations may change the nature of paper products and adhesives. Check your display regularly to ensure that materials remain intact and tidy.

Exhibits must be removed on or before the proposed close date. The person or organization putting up the exhibit is responsible for ensuring the dismantling of the display. Contact the Library Director if you find you are unable to keep these dates.


Information Services does not provide assistance with publicity.

Priority for groups presenting exhibits in the Upjohn Library Commons main floor lobby display cases is as follows:

  • Information Services-produced or solicited exhibits have priority over exhibits proposed by non-Information Services groups or individuals.
  • Kalamazoo College groups or individuals have the next level of priority.
  • Non-Kalamazoo College affiliated groups may use the display cases on the main floor at the discretion of library staff.

Exhibitors not associated with Information Services must work with a staff member in Information Services when presenting displays. Information Services staff will support the preparation of displays to ensure the proper handling of exhibited materials and a uniform, professional appearance of displays.

Exhibit Space (ULC Lobby)

There are four upright cases in the lobby on the first floor of the Upjohn Library Commons with the following dimensions: 

  • 57 inches high, 34 inches wide, and 12 inches deep

There are two adjustable glass shelves in each case with the following dimensions:

  • 34 inches wide and 10 inches deep

Each case is lit from the top by a fluorescent tube bulb. The back of each case has a tackable surface.

Requests for using Library exhibit space should be made at least six weeks in advance of the exhibit period.  Please submit requests to the Library Director. All non-IS exhibitors are required to sign an Exhibit Agreement that releases from the College all responsibility for any items on display.

Policy updated July 12, 2017

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