MEETING ROOM POLICY
Public Libraries have traditionally provided free meeting space for the members of their communities to encourage free expression and free access to ideas presenting all points of view on subjects of all kinds. The Smyth County Public Library supports this concept and endorses the American Library Association Bill of Rights which states:
“Libraries which maintain meeting rooms, exhibit space, or other facilities open to the public should make them available on equal terms to all persons, regardless of their beliefs or affiliation.”
The Library meeting rooms have two major functions: they accommodate programs sponsored by the library as part of its overall responsibility to offer factual, imaginative, scientific, artistic and cultural information to the communities; secondly, they serve as community meeting rooms. In fulfilling the second function, broadest possible use of the meeting rooms by the general community is encouraged. The library’s role as a cultural and educational center makes it an ideal place for the interchange of ideas.
The meeting rooms are available to any organization subject to the conditions in this policy and availability. The meeting rooms are open only to organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities.
PROCEDURE GOVERNING PUBLIC USE OF THE MEETING ROOM:
1. Application for use of the meeting room is made through the Reference Department of the Library. The application must be signed by a representative of the group, prior to use of the room, stating that these policies have been read and understood. Telephone reservations are tentative only, and a signed application must be on file in the Library before the event. The meeting room will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Library functions will have priority over any other use of the meeting room. The meeting room can only be booked three months in advance, except for Library sponsored programs.
2. The Copenhaver Meeting Room is available only during the open hours of the library. Groups must consist of at least six individuals. Only the library or library group may sponsor a fund-raising or purely social program in the library.
3. The group representative is responsible for notifying the reference desk of the group’s arrival. A library staff member will unlock the meeting room door and should be notified immediately when the meeting is over so the door can be locked.
4. NO FEE WILL BE CHARGED FOR USE OF THE ROOM. However, if there is damage to the premises or equipment as a result of group use, the group will be responsible for payment of any damage as a result of their use. Groups may not charge an admission fee, nor may a collection be taken; however, fees may be charged for materials, only, for workshops or classes. The only exceptions are in the case of paid registration at conferences or institutes, programs held in cooperation with the Library, or payment of fees for regularly scheduled education courses for which special permission must be obtained from the Library Board. Also, no products may be sold.
5. Groups using the meeting room are responsible for their own set up of chairs, tables, etc., and must clean up the room and return it to the condition in which they found it. Tables, chairs, chalkboards, audiovisual equipment, i.e., television and VCR are stored in the closet, located at the rear of the meeting room. Equipment or special furniture to be provided by the Library must be requested at the time the room is booked. If audiovisual equipment is booked, the organization must provide a qualified operator. Time for setup and cleanup should be allowed in the application request. No library employee will be available for moving or rearranging furniture. Groups will be held responsible for damages to any library facilities, including furniture, carpeting and equipment.
6. Light refreshments may be served in the meeting room. No alcoholic beverages may be served on library property. Please remove all food and garbage from the meeting room. No food or drink is allowed in the lobby area. A garbage dumpster is located on the Cherry Street side of the building. NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED IN THE LIBRARY.
7. The Library can assume no responsibility for private property used on Library premises. Private property to be used, demonstrated, exhibited, shown or merely brought into the Library must be the owner’s responsibility.
8. The Library reserves the right to move a meeting to another suitable location within the Library. Rarely, a meeting may be cancelled, with ample notice, to accommodate a library sponsored program.
9. All publicity must carry the name of the organization sponsoring the meeting. No program in the Library may be broadcast without permission of the Library Board. The only fund-raising events that may be held are those benefiting the Library. The fact that a group is permitted to meet at the library does not in any way constitute an endorsement of the group’s policies. The library is not responsible for contents of programs.
10. Groups that plan to meet for longer than a two hour period, should ask all participants in their meeting to park in the graveled parking lot at the rear of the Library. Parking in the paved lot at the rear of the building is for library patrons.
11. In the event of inclement weather, the library may close, therefore the applicant is responsible for calling the library for the opening and closing schedule. In the event of a power failure, etc., the library will notify the applicant as soon as possible.
12. Telephone messages for those attending meetings will not be taken by the Library staff.
13. Baby-sitting services are not provided by the Library. Adults attending meetings should not leave their children unattended in the Library. Meetings or programs may not disrupt the use of the Library by others.
14. A group or organization that does not adhere to the meeting room regulations or doesn’t require its members to adhere to the regulations may lose meeting room privileges for a specified time or permanently, as directed by Library Administration.
15. The person or persons to whom a permit to use the meeting room is issued, shall be responsible for any and all damage to County property and shall assume the expense of and indemnify and save harmless the County, its employees and officers free and against any and all claims, liabilities, judgments, costs, causes of action, judgments, damages and expenses whether in law or equity or otherwise, and shall pay all attorneys fees, court costs, and other costs incurred from or sought to be recovered from the County, its employees, and officers for reason of damage to property, personal injury or death of any person rising from the applicant’s use of the meeting room. The Library Director, with the concurrence of the County Attorney may require such public liability insurance as is deemed necessary to protect the interest of the County.
Approved by Library Board of Trustees 3/17/2003
To book a meeting room please book online using your library card or call the appropriate branch. For the Copenhaver or DC Miller Law Office in Marion, please call 276-783-2323 ext. 235.