Naming of Library Facilities

It is the policy of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library to identify libraries by the geographic location or neighborhoods served, rather than by named individuals. This will improve participation in and accessibility to the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library by the general public. Under rare and extraordinary circumstances, the Board of Directors of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, in its sole and absolute discretion, may choose to honor an individual for his or her lifetime contributions to the library system by adding the name of such individual to the geographic branch name.

The Board will consider the following factors in making such a naming decision:

  • The person considered must be deceased for at least one year before being considered for a library facility name. This restriction permits the Library Board to evaluate the lifetime contributions and accomplishments of the proposed honoree and protects from making decisions in reaction to transitory or emotional considerations.
  • The proposed honoree is associated with a myriad of services and has dedicated a substantial amount of energy, time, resources, leadership and/or volunteer service to improve and benefit the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system or the library facility in question. The depth and breadth of the contributions must be obvious and compelling and must reflect a dedication and beneficence to the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library over a great span of time.
  • There must be a strong consensus among library users and residents of the surrounding neighborhood to add the name of the proposed honoree to the library facility in question.
  • The proposed honoree should reflect the spirit of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library’s mission of free and equal access to information for all.
  • The new name should not carry the banner of a transitory cause, no matter how worthy, but rather, reflect the tradition and stability of the Library as an institution. The public’s interest must be served by approving the proposed name.
  • Any such action shall be in accordance with federal, state and local law.

In summary, adding the name of a person to a library facility is reserved for the rare individual whose dedication and service to the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system is extraordinary, unique and of the highest quality. The Library Board has sole authority and discretion on naming branches and facilities in its system.


Procedures for evaluating facility naming proposals

  1. Any member of the Library Board of Directors or member of the public may propose a name to be added to the geographic name of a library facility. This request shall be submitted in writing to the Library Board of Directors and shall provide supporting documentation, using the factors set forth above, demonstrating the qualifications of the proposed honoree to receive such an honor.
  2. If the naming proposal appears to meet the factors set forth above, the Chair of the Library Board of Directors shall place the proposal on the Library Board agenda for general discussion and for public comment at one or more regular or special meetings of the Library Board of Directors.
  3. Upon approval of the Board of Directors to proceed, the Board Chair shall schedule a meeting in the branch library facility or elsewhere in the neighborhood served by such facility to obtain direct testimony from members of the public living in the neighborhood of the facility.
  4. At any time after giving proponents of the name addition and the public an opportunity to be heard, after obtaining testimony from residents and patrons, and upon proper notice, the Library Board of Directors shall call for a vote on the issue.
  5. The affirmative vote by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Library Board shall, in its sole and absolute discretion, be required to approve the addition of a person’s name to a library facility.
  6. The Library Board shall, either at the time it approves the addition of an honorific name or in a subsequent meeting, designate the method of display of the name addition. The manner of such display may, in the discretion of the Board, be by exterior building signage, interior plaque, or any other means appropriate to the specific site. The Library Board may choose to assign any cost related to the name change to the proposing party.


Naming of Interior Spaces

Other naming opportunities are available within new buildings or existing buildings undergoing significant renovation and expansion. These opportunities may be identified by the Library Director in consultation with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Foundation or the Library Board and may include such areas as meeting rooms, auditoriums, reading lounges, special use areas, collections, equipment, gardens and green spaces or other interior and exterior spaces. All naming opportunities shall be subject to Library Board approval.

  • Naming opportunities are available for individuals, families, foundations, and corporations making a significant contribution to the project.
  • The Library Director, in consultation with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Foundation, shall be responsible for determining the manner in which the name is recognized (e.g., signage).
  • A list of the interior naming opportunities and costs shall be submitted to the Library Board for approval.
  • The Library Board must approve the name chosen by prospective donors to ensure that it reflects the tradition of the Library as an institution and that it will maintain the credibility of the Library with the general public. 


Name Recognition of Endowment Funds

The amount required for the Library Board to consider a named endowment shall initially be set at $25,000 but shall be reviewed from time to time by the Library Board. A named endowment may be requested by the donor or may be proposed by the Library Board. The request shall be evaluated by the Library Board for approval, in its sole discretion. The initial minimum investment of $25,000 must be funded within ninety (90) days, or the donated amounts will become part of the general library endowment.


Duration or removal of naming or name recognition

Naming rights in honor of an individual are generally expected to last for the useful life of the space or program; however, as determined in the sole discretion of the Library Board of Directors, the naming associated with a library facility, room, area, or collection shall end under the following circumstances:

  • A building, room, area, or collection is to be demolished.
  • A building, room, or area changes function to the extent that the purpose for the naming or name recognition is no longer relevant.
  • When extraordinary circumstances dictate, in the judgment of the Library Board, the name may be removed to preserve the overall credibility of the Library System. Such removal shall require a 2/3 majority vote of the Library Board. The Library Board shall notify the donor regarding the consideration to withdraw the name and provide a reasonable time, as determined at the sole discretion of the Library Board, to correct the deficiency. In the event the Board votes to remove the name, funds already collected shall not be returned to the donor.

In the case of pledged donations or deferred gifts, the naming agreement may take effect with the first payment, following approval by the Library Board. In the case of failure of the donor to uphold the agreement, the Library Board may withdraw the naming commitment

Approved 11-19-14