Guidelines for Public Art in the NC State University Libraries

1.0 Purpose

These Guidelines for Public Art in the NC State University Libraries define the criteria by which the Libraries selects artwork to be publicly displayed in its facilities. “Public art” includes, but is not limited to, a large range of works from the fine, decorative, and plastic arts. Along with architecture and sculpture, it includes painting, stained glass, ceramics, mosaics, and tapestry, as well as numerous forms of contemporary art such as earthworks, fashion, assemblage, installation art, and performance.

2.0 Guidelines

The NC State University Libraries' primary mission is to support the instructional, research, extension, and administrative needs of the faculty, students, and staff of North Carolina State University.  Library facilities, collections, and services are also accessible to others whose information needs require these resources.  The Libraries must maintain a high-quality study and research environment, protect the rights of users, and sustain the integrity of the collections.  Activities associated with public speech, such as solicitation, assemblies, and public addresses, could be disruptive and inconsistent with the primary mission of the library. The interiors of the D. H. Hill Jr. Library, the Hunt Library, and all branch libraries are therefore not considered public forum areas as defined by university regulations on Solicitation and related policies.

Artwork for display in NC State University Libraries facilities is acquired and exhibited by the library through purchases, donations, loans, or co-sponsorships, in accordance with the mission, goals, and objectives of the Libraries.  The Libraries manages a Public Art Collection in conjunction with its other collections and displays works from that collection that relate to the overall scholarly, historical, and cultural concerns of the university. Art accessioned as part of the Libraries' collections and not intended for public display is not covered by these guidelines. Art displays are managed by the NC State University Libraries and may be co-sponsored by university organizations or members of the university community, with particular emphasis on displays that have relevance to the academic and cultural programs of the university. All public art displays must be approved by the NC State University Libraries Administration. The decision to accept artwork for display in the Libraries rests entirely with the Libraries. Upon acceptance, the Libraries will make all decisions regarding placement, length of time for the display, publicity, and display removal.   In general, the Libraries does not display unsolicited art.

The following acquisition and display criteria are applied. All public art must:

  • have artistic merit, meet acceptable professional standards, and be appropriate for the library setting;
  • be either original work, hand-signed or authenticated by the artist, or a reproduction with recognized collection merit;
  • be approved for acquisition, co-sponsorship, or acceptance and display by the Libraries Administration;
  • be part of the Libraries’ collection or displayed by previous co-sponsorship agreement with an emphasis on sharing and interpreting library collections;
  • support the Libraries’ role as an intellectual center of the university;
  • enhance the Libraries’ function as a gathering place for the university to educate, enrich, and interact with the community;
  • foster relationships between the NC State University Libraries and NC State students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors; and
  • not create unsafe conditions or contain other factors that may bear on public liability.

The views expressed in the artwork displayed at NC State University Libraries facilities are those of the artists and not necessarily those of the library, its staff, or supporting organizations.

All displayed artwork must be accessioned as part of the Libraries' Public Art Collection or co-sponsored by previous agreement. Display and use of all artwork will be in accordance with U.S. Copyright law. Artwork that no longer has a relevant place in the Public Art Collection will be decommissioned and disposed of in accordance with either standard library procedure or special prior agreements with the donor.

3.0 Media

Individuals who wish to film or photograph materials from the Public Art Collection or co-sponsored material must obtain the permission of the Libraries Administration.  Requests or inquiries related to the Public Art Collection can be sent to the Libraries’ Deputy Director.

4.0 Responsibility

The NC State University Libraries Administration has responsibility for establishing the procedures for implementation of these guidelines and for reviewing and recommending changes to them.

All monies contributed or accumulated for art acquisition and exhibit will be disbursed by the Vice Provost and Director of Libraries in accordance with NC State University financial policies.

5.0 Related Policies, Rules, and Guidelines

The display of public art in the Libraries will follow NC State University guidelines as set forth in its Brand Book:

NC State University Libraries Exhibit Program Guidelines:


March 2016