Exhibit Policies and Spaces

The Kennedy Library’s exhibits program fosters collaboration, student engagement and discovery through partnerships with faculty, students, and members of the Cal Poly community. Our programs highlight work by students and faculty at Cal Poly, and often feature exciting and unique holdings of the library’s Special Collections and Archives.

The library sponsors its own exhibits and considers requests to provide temporary/rotating space for academic departments, student groups recognized by the university, and faculty and students who wish to sponsor an exhibit. Exhibits are managed through the library’s Communications and Special Initiatives group, with support and final approval of the office of the Dean of Library Services.


Gallery Display Procedures
Kennedy Library provides a creative and inspired environment for students, faculty and the community to share their work. Please download our informational handout Guidelines for Community Exhibits and Gallery Spaces.

Exhibit policies

All library exhibits are guided by the library’s mission, values, and vision and by campus policies on freedom of expression.

The library’s exhibits program involves the academic community in visual learning experiences that are informative and educational in nature and reflect the diversity of the university’s curriculum and community. Exhibits supporting the library’s goals and curricular goals of academic programs are given priority.

Because library exhibition spaces are not exclusively gallery spaces, and are not a public forum, all displays must be suitable for view by the broad community of people who visit the library. For additional guidance on the suitability of a proposed exhibit in the library, please see our guidelines for community exhibits and gallery spaces.

Community exhibit spaces

In addition to the Gallery at the Commons on the second floor, used for its major fall and spring exhibits, Kennedy Library offers the campus community several smaller gallery and display spaces.

These spaces offer students, current and former faculty and staff attractive public spaces to share projects and artwork in a relatively informal setting. These spaces are ideal for display of two-dimensional selected creative works by students or faculty, informational displays relating to research at Cal Poly, and similar projects that are relatively limited in scope.

Currently these spaces include:

  • The Library gallery — Located under the stairwell near the library’s main entrance, the gallery is a modern, innovative display space for students and the community to showcase their work in a variety of ways. Artwork can be installed with magnets on glass boards, displayed on a digital monitor, or framed and hung from the gallery rail system.
  • Café gallery — Located in the second floor Learning Commons, this space includes two area galleries — one near Julian’s Cafè and the other in the larger lounge area. Both spaces feature gallery rail systems and track lighting and are suitable for framed two-dimensional works. Artwork must be ready to mount with wires attached.

Promotional display spaces

There are bulletin boards on all floors that do not require reservation.

The library also has a small display case and enclosed bulletin board that can be reserved for campus event and student club information, at the top of the second floor landing.
To check display case reservations or discuss using the display case or bulletin board, please contact Administrative Services Assistant Cara King at ude.yloplac@92gnikc or (805) 756-2345.

General guidelines

  • Due to the open nature of the library’s public spaces, neither the University nor the library can assume responsibility for the security of exhibit items.
  • Because of the nature of the display area as a gathering space the galleries are unable to accommodate freestanding artwork or displays.
  • Any costs incurred are the responsibility of the exhibitor.
  • The exhibitor is responsible for “hanging” the show. Library staff is available to help guide and advise but is not available to hang the physical works.
  • As noted in our exhibit policies above, the library retains the right to determine the suitability of any proposed exhibit. For further guidance please see our guidelines for community exhibits and gallery spaces.