Recognition Policy


The purpose of this policy is to establish the authority and process for donor or distinguished person or service recognition in Denver Public Library Branches as well as interior and exterior spaces associated with the branches and the Central Library, and major programs and collections. Consistent with this policy, the specific recognition given to donors to commemorate a significant gift may include recognition in specific library spaces, furnishings or fixtures within the library, placement on a donor wall, or in other areas deemed appropriate by the Library Commission.


The Library Commission has authority over naming pursuant to City Charter Section 11.1.2 which gives the Commission exclusive control over the library and its branches, all property and funds, all administration of gifts and trusts, and all things necessary or expedient in connection with library purposes.

All donor recognition proposals shall be reviewed by the City Librarian prior to discussing the proposal with a prospective donor. The City Librarian will refer appropriate recognition proposals for an entire Branch, significant area or collection within the Central Library or major system-wide programs to the Library Commission for its consideration and approval.

The Library Commission delegates authority to the City Librarian to approve any recognition proposal acknowledging a significant gift within branches and report them to the Library Commission.

Guidelines for Recognition in Library Interior and Exterior Spaces

A branch or significant area within the Central Library may include recognition for individuals, families or entities meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Staff member who has provided extraordinary service to the Denver Public Library;
  • Distinguished person who has provided extraordinary service to the library or who otherwise merits special recognition;
  • Donors who have made a significant financial contribution to the library.

Branches or significant areas within the Central Library shall not include:

  • Recognition for individuals currently employed by the library, the City of Denver or the State of Colorado or current elected officials.
  • Recognition for an individual earlier than five years following the departure or retirement of the person from the library or the end of an elected official’s service in office.

There shall be a due diligence review of each recognition proposal to carefully consider the overall benefit of such recognition to the library, including whether recognition in library space(s) is and will continue to be a positive reflection on the library. Such due diligence shall include the following:

  • Review of any possible conflict of interest issues affecting the library;
  • Evaluation of the impact on future giving by the donor and others;
  • Any other factors that could reflect on the library.

In order to avoid any appearance of commercial influence or conflict of interest, or any other potentially adverse consequence, additional due diligence shall be undertaken before recommending any recognition opportunities that includes a commercial enterprise. Recognition may be given to a commercial enterprise only if recognition of the commercial enterprise’s name is appropriate in the public setting of the library.

Duration of Gift Recognition

The scope of gift recognition in Denver Public Library spaces and its duration should correspond to the scale of the financial assistance provided by the donor. Each recognition opportunity will include specific duration of recognition based on gift value and benefit to the Denver Public Library. In the case of an extraordinary gift, recognition will extend to the useful life of the space or be moved to another space of similar value.

Recognition in honor of an individual, family or entity that has either provided extraordinary service to the Denver Public Library as a staff member, or a distinguished person who has provided extraordinary service to the library or who otherwise merits special recognition, shall have recognition that will extend to the useful life of the space where recognized or be moved to another space of similar value.

If a Branch or area within the Central Library is substantially renovated (providing new useful life equivalent to a new building), or if there is a significant addition to a Branch or the Central Library, recognition may be removed or altered as deemed appropriate on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Commission, in consultation with the recognized party or their family as appropriate, consistent with the foregoing recognition criteria.

Recognition in honor of a commercial enterprise will have a set number of years attached, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis and included in a signed gift agreement associated with the recognition opportunity. The duration of commercial enterprise recognition shall normally remain the same notwithstanding future changes in the commercial enterprise name; provided, however, in the event of a name change in the commercial enterprise, the Library Commission may in the exercise of its sole discretion elect to remove the established commercial enterprise recognition, if either such action is determined to be in the best interest of the library.

Prior Procedures and Named Spaces

Gift, distinguished person or service recognition in branches or interior/exterior spaces in existence at the time of the adoption of this policy shall remain in effect, subject to future renaming consistent with this policy and subject to restrictions in any gift agreements related to prior naming action.  If no gift agreement exists, the City Librarian and Library Commission, in coordination with the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation, will consult with the donor, or donor’s descendants, to reach a mutual agreement regarding new recognition opportunities.

Nothing herein shall preclude or prevent the Commission from modifying, changing, renovating or disposing of any library facility.

Removal or Change of Name

Gift, distinguished person or service recognition is provided to individuals, families and entities that exemplify the attributes of integrity and civic leadership. If an individual, family or entity for whom recognition has been made violates these standards, the library may elect to remove the individual, family or entities recognition from any library location, interior or exterior space, furnishings or fixtures within the library, or donor wall. Before taking such action, the library shall undertake due diligence, including consultation with counsel, as to any legal ramifications that the library may have under any pre-existing agreement(s) related to gift recognition or in regard to any other matter that may have legal bearing upon a proposed change in name. Any recognition authorized by the Library Commission can only be revoked by a vote of that body.

Alternatively, unforeseen circumstances may make it impossible for a donor to complete a gift commitment after that commitment has been recognized by placing a name on a library location, interior/exterior space or major program. The Commission will make reasonable efforts to work with the donor to create a plan for completion of the commitment. However, in certain circumstances it may be necessary in the best interests of the library to remove the donor’s name from the naming opportunity.

Gift recognition within a library, including branches, interior and exterior spaces, furnishings or fixtures within the library, or donor wall, shall be finalized only after the financial commitment by the donor has been honored in full and not on the basis of a pledge for future funds.

Approved by the Denver Public Library Commission
June 2018