Recognition Policy


This policy establishes the authority and practices related to public recognition of individuals, couples, families, organizations, and corporate entities associated with the Denver Public Library (Library) using signage displayed within a facility or surrounding grounds. 

This policy and related procedures shall be reviewed and updated in accordance with the Denver Public Library Policy Review Procedures.

Named recognition and associated signage is inherently public and may take various forms:

  • Naming of Library buildings or interior or exterior spaces using independent signage. 
  • Naming of furnishings or fixtures within the library, collections, programs, or funds using independent or grouped signage, labels or lists. 
  • Facility-based recognition for named funds supporting collections, programs or the endowment often presented through signage within the Library, but without the indication of having named a tangible asset.
  • Recognition displays within Library facilities listing multiple donors meeting criteria set specific to the purpose of the display. The guidelines for listing on each of these displays varies by the fundraising program associated with the display. 

The Denver Public Library Friends Foundation (Foundation) may also offer various forms of recognition indicating membership in giving societies or programs. The Foundation is authorized to create, execute and manage the presentation of donor lists in print, online, and/or within Library facilities. Recognition within donor lists occurs on schedules established by the Foundation and in keeping with the purpose of the display.  Lists do not associate the name of those listed with a Library asset and therefore do not require Commission review and approval. The details of listing practices are addressed in Foundation procedures and are not governed by this policy. 

In the event of a conflict between the Foundation’s Gift Acceptance Policy and the Library’s Recognition Policy, the provisions of the Recognition Policy shall prevail.


  • Assets - all tangible and intangible facilities, spaces in or around facilities, collections, projects, programs, staff positions, scholarships, or other funds that might be identified as a naming opportunity
  • Naming Opportunity - the generic term used to describe all Library assets that might be named in association with a donor or honoree
  • Naming Signage - the publicly displayed signage offered to the donor or honoree following the standards and guidelines typical of the Library
  • Donor - a person, couple, family, or organization making a philanthropic gift to the Foundation in support of the Library
  • Honoree - a person publicly recognized by the Library for extraordinary service or accomplishment 
  • Due Diligence - the process of preparing an in-depth documented case on the history and actions of the donor or honoree to assess whether or not there are conflicts that would cause misalignment between the donor or honoree and the mission and vision of the Library. 
  • Gift Agreement - the document which outlines the understanding between the donor and the Foundation regarding gift acceptance, gift use, gift amount, payment terms, and recognition in alignment with this recognition policy.


The Denver Public Library Commission (Commission) has authority over naming of any Library asset 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.



A Library asset may be named only if one or more of the following criteria are met: 

  • The nominee is a distinguished person who has provided extraordinary service to the community who merits special recognition.
  • The nominee has made a philanthropic gift to benefit the Library at or above the minimum amount associated with the asset to be named.
  • Individuals currently employed by the Foundation, Library, the City of Denver, the State of Colorado and sitting elected officials are ineligible for naming; Eligibility will be reinstated five years after the end of employment due to departure or retirement or the end of an elected official’s service in office.

Due Diligence

  • The Library may conduct due diligence reviews to confirm no conflict of interest and an appropriate association between the donor, honoree or organization and the Library.
  • The Library may consult legal counsel in the course of conducting the due diligence review.
  • The nomination of a corporate enterprise for naming recognition shall result in additional legal review in order to meet private-use bond regulations.
  • At the direction of the Library Commission, a community poll may be used to ascertain public opinion.
  • The Library wishes to be proactive in responding to changes in societal values and norms that affect naming recognition. Any concerns regarding naming recognition need to be provided in writing to the City Librarian who will maintain a process for review, reconsideration and possible revocation of naming recognition.

Recognition Signage

The Library, Foundation, and appropriate designers will create signage components which correspond to the size of the gift, the architecture in which it is placed, and the materials, themes, and content appropriate to the audience who will see the signage.


Naming recognition by the Library requires substantial consideration and a formal review and approval process. Therefore, naming recognition may not be publicly announced until after the nomination has been approved by the Commission.

Naming recognition resulting from philanthropic giving assumes that all pledge payments stipulated by the Gift Agreement will be made on or before the stated schedule. The Library may choose to install naming signage before all payments have been made. This decision requires the approval of the City Librarian.

Duration of Recognition

The Foundation will establish a duration appropriate to the amount and type of gift received and the likelihood of change in the location or function of the nameable asset. Unless otherwise stated in the Gift Agreement, all naming opportunities based on philanthropic giving will have a limited duration. All honorary naming recognition will be assumed permanent, at least for the useful life of the asset in its current condition. When the duration of a naming opportunity ends, the naming is deemed to have “retired.” A public record of all retired namings will be maintained by the Library and Foundation.

Change of Naming Signage 

The Library reserves the right to change or update naming signage as needed, with approval of the City Librarian. The City Librarian has the authority to change or update naming signage or recognition displays without review or approval by the Library Commission.  

Removal of Naming Signage 

Under certain circumstances, the Library Commission may elect to revoke naming recognition and remove any associated signage. The decision making process will follow the Library’s Recognition Revocation, Removal and Renaming Procedures.

Revocation of recognition and removal of the associated naming signage will result from:

  • A decision by the Library Commission following substantial due diligence and deliberation finding the reputation, behavior, or business practices of the donor or honoree to be misaligned with the mission of the Library.
  • Notification from the Foundation that the donor has not completed associated pledge payments  and has been deemed unlikely to complete the payments.

All recognition and naming signage is subject to stipulations for the removal of recognition within this policy. 

Prior Circumstances

Naming signage in existence prior to the date of this policy shall remain in effect as is, subject to stipulations in the associated Gift Agreement, if one exists. In light of other documented agreements, existing naming signage will be assumed permanent for the useful life of the asset in its current condition. 

In the event that retirement of naming or change of recognition is indicated for an existing naming, the Foundation will coordinate negotiations with the donor, a descendant, or trusted representative of the donor. The City Librarian may be requested to participate. The change must be reviewed and endorsed by the City Librarian and approved by the Library Commission before being executed. 

This policy shall not preclude or prevent the Library Commission from modifying, changing, renovating or disposing of any Library asset.

Approved by the Denver Public Library Commission June 2022