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Code of Ethics

I. Professional Integrity

All staff, Commissioners and volunteers of the Detroit Public Library (the “Organization”) act with honesty, integrity and openness in all their dealings as representatives of the Organization. The Organization promotes a working environment that values respect, fairness and integrity.

II. Mission

The Organization has a clearly stated mission and purpose, approved by the Board of Commissioners in pursuit of the public good. All of its programs support that mission and all who work for or on behalf of the Organization understand and are loyal to that mission and purpose. The mission is responsive to the constituency and communities served by the Organization and of value to society at large.

III. Governance

The Organization has an active governing body that is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of the Organization and oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of the Organization. The governing body:

  • Strives to ensure that its Commissioners have the requisite skills and experience to carry out their duties and that all members understand and fulfill their governance duties acting for the benefit of the Organization and its public purpose;

  • Has a conflict of interest policy designed to ensure that any conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof are avoided or appropriately managed through disclosure, recusal or other means;

  • Is responsible for hiring, firing, and regular review of the performance of the Director/CEO, and determines that the compensation of the Director is reasonable and appropriate;

  • Requires that the Director and appropriate staff provide the Board of Commissioners with timely and comprehensive information so that the Board can effectively carry out its duties;

  • Requires that the Organization conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty;

  • Requires that the Organization promotes working relationships with Commissioners, staff, volunteers, and program beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness;

  • Insists that the Organization is fair and inclusive in its hiring and promotion policies and practices for all board, staff and volunteer positions;

  • Requires that policies of the Organization are in writing, clearly articulated and officially adopted;

  • Determines that the resources of the Organization are responsibly and prudently managed; and

  • Strives to ensure that the Organization has the capacity to carry out its programs effectively.

IV. Legal Compliance

The Organization is knowledgeable of and complies with all laws and regulations.

V. Responsible Stewardship

The Organization and each affiliated or controlled nonprofit manage their funds responsibly and prudently. This should include the following considerations:

  • It spends a reasonable percentage of its annual budget on programs in pursuance of its mission;

  • It spends an adequate amount on administrative expenses to provide effective accounting systems, internal controls, competent staff, and other expenditures critical to professional management;

  • The Organization compensates staff, and any others who may receive compensation, reasonably and appropriately;

  • The Organization has reasonable fundraising costs, recognizing the variety of factors that affect fundraising costs;

  • The Organization does not accumulate operating funds excessively;

  • The Organization prudently draws from endowment funds consistent with donor intent and to support the public purpose of the Organization;

  • The Organization ensures that all spending practices and policies are fair, reasonable and appropriate to fulfill the mission of the Organization; and

  • All financial reports are factually accurate and complete in all material respects.

VI. Openness and Disclosure

The Organization provides comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and is responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. All information about the Organization will fully and honestly reflect the policies and practices of the Organization. Basic informational data about the Organization, such as audited financial statements will be posted on the Organization’s website or otherwise made available to the public. All solicitation materials accurately represent the Organization’s policies and practices and will reflect the dignity of program beneficiaries. All financial, organizational, and program reports will be complete and accurate in all material respects.

VII. Program Evaluation

The Organization regularly reviews program effectiveness and has mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. The Organization is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and develops mechanisms to promote learning from its activities and the field. The Organization is responsive to changes in its field and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.

VIII. Inclusiveness and Diversity

The Organization has a policy of promoting inclusiveness and its staff, board and volunteers reflect diversity in order to enrich its programmatic effectiveness. The Organization takes meaningful steps to promote inclusiveness in its hiring, retention, promotion, board recruitment and constituencies served.

IX. Fundraising

The Organization is truthful in its solicitation materials. The Organization respects the privacy concerns of individual donors and expends funds consistent with donor intent. The Organization discloses important and relevant information to potential donors.

In raising funds from the public, the Organization will respect the rights of donors:

  • To be informed of the mission of the Organization, the way the resources will be used and its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes;

  • To be informed of the identity of those serving on the Organization’s governing board and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities;

  • To have access to the Organization’s most recent financial reports;

  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given;

  • To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition;

  • To be assured that information about their donations are handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by the law;

  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing the Organization will be professional in nature;

  • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the Organization or hired solicitors;

  • To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that the Organization may intend to share; and

  • To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Approved by the Board of Commissioners


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