Meeting Room Policies and Guidelines

Meeting Room Policy

(A)  This rule applies to the use of a Library meeting room by members of the public. It does not apply to use of a Library meeting room by the Library or by another department of the City of Austin.  This rule is cumulative of other Library use rules. This rule supersedes another Library rule to the extent of a conflict.  This rule may be referred to as the Meeting Room Policy. 

(B)  Terms of Use.

(1)  The use of a Library meeting room by a group or a customer signifies the group’s or customer’s acceptance of the terms of the Meeting Room Policy.

(2)  There is no charge for meeting room use. 

(3)  The use of, and the scheduling of the use of, a meeting room is subject to the needs of the Library, and may not interfere with the Library’s operations or the use of the Library by customers. City or Library needs preempt any other scheduled event in a meeting room. 

(4)  The use of a meeting room does not constitute Library or City of Austin endorsement of a viewpoint expressed by a group or by a participant in a meeting or activity. 

(a)  A group using a room may not advertise or announce an event to be held in a meeting room if the advertisement or announcement states or implies the endorsement of the Library or the City of Austin. 

(b)  An announcement or notice to publicize an activity may not be posted or distributed on Library premises without advance approval from the librarian in charge. 

(C)  Who May Use a Meeting Room?

(1)  A Library meeting room may be reserved by a not-for-profit, non-commercial group of at least three individuals engaged in an educational, cultural, intellectual, or civic activity.  If a meeting room is equipped with videoconferencing equipment installed by the Library it may be reserved by a group or by a single individual.

(2)  A use of a meeting room must be open to the public and may not be restricted to the membership of the group.  A member of the public that sees a meeting taking place may enter and participate in the meeting. 

(3)  A customer may not reserve a meeting room for individual use.

(a)  A Library customer may, upon request, use a meeting room which is not in use until the next group’s reservation time. 

(b)  A customer must sign in at the service desk for individual use of a meeting room. 

(c)  Other customers may use the room at the same time, in the same manner.  

(4)  A child under the age of 10 may not be in a meeting room unless accompanied by a person who is at least 17 years of age, and who is responsible for the child’s behavior. 

(5)  A meeting room may not be used for commercial purposes. A group or customer using a meeting room may not solicit money or another thing of value, charge admission, or sell, or advertise for sale, goods or services. 

(6)  A meeting room may not be used for a social gathering such as a wedding shower, a baby shower, a birthday party, a dance, or a similar activity. 

(7)  A meeting room may not be used for a political rally or a campaign for or against a specific ballot issue or candidate. However, a meeting room may be used for a forum or study group on a political issue. 

(8)  A meeting room may not be used to provide a direct healthcare service, including an examination, a hands-on demonstration, or a treatment. However, a meeting room may be used for a forum on or the sharing of information about healthcare services. 

(9)  Permission to use Library meeting rooms will be withheld from a group that has failed to comply with the Meeting Room Policy or from a group that damages a meeting room, the carpet, equipment, or furniture, or causes a disturbance. 

Reserving a Meeting Room

(1)  A group may request the use of a meeting room online, in person, or in writing. The Library will consider requests on a first-come, first-served basis. 

(2)  To provide an opportunity for other groups to use the meeting rooms, a group may use a meeting room at a particular branch only once each month, and may reserve only one meeting room for use at the same time. 

(3)  A group that is cancelling a meeting must provide notice of the cancellation to the Library’s Meeting Room Coordinator as soon as possible. A group forfeits its reservation if the group fails to appear within 30 minutes after the scheduled time.  

(4)  If a group fails to appear for two consecutive meetings without making a cancellation, all future reservations of the group are cancelled until the group reschedules. 

(5)  Meetings may not be scheduled before or after library hours. Group representatives may not enter library buildings, nor will deliveries be accepted, before the regular opening time. 

(6)  A group may not assign or transfer its reservation to another group. 

Care and Use of a Meeting Room

(1)  A group or customer using a meeting room may not make noise that disturbs another Library customer or the Library staff. 

(2)  A group or customer using a meeting room must completely vacate the room at least 15 minutes before the Library’s closing time. 

(3)  A group or customer must leave a meeting room in the condition in which the room was found. 

(4)  The Library does not set up or arrange furniture or equipment in a meeting room.

(a)  If a group or customer rearranges the furniture, the group or customer must return the furniture to the original arrangement before leaving the room.

(b)  A group or customer may not bring furniture or equipment from the main area of the library into a meeting room. 

(c)  A group may bring its own furniture or equipment into a meeting room with advance approval by the Meeting Room Coordinator. 

(i)  Arrangements for the use of such furniture or equipment must be made at the time the room is reserved. 

(ii)  A group or customer must notify Library Security or the Branch Librarian when furniture or equipment is brought into the Library, and must promptly remove the furniture or equipment at the end of the meeting.

(d)  A group or customer may not store equipment, furniture, supplies, or personal effects in a meeting room before or after use.

(5)  A group or customer may not leave trash in a meeting room. A group that has produced trash during a meeting must remove that trash from the library at the end of the meeting. 

(6)  A group or customer may not affix, tape, or fix with an adhesive any item to any part of a meeting room, including a wall, door, window treatment, or woodwork. 

(7)  The library does not provide audio, video or other equipment other than that which is already installed in the room.  Written instructions for the use of the equipment within the meeting room are posted in the room. The Library does not assist with the equipment. 

(8)  A group or customer must keep all doors unlocked at all times. Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangement to provide clear access to exits. 

(9)  A group or customer must use a public entrance for all access to and from the building, including all deliveries. 

(10)  Attendance at a meeting is limited to the capacity of the individual meeting room. Seating or furniture may not be placed in a corridor outside the meeting room. 

(11)  Food and Drink in a Meeting Room: 

(a)  Food and drink may be consumed in a meeting room if the food or drink is individually packaged and does not have to be maintained at a certain temperature, for example:  packaged snacks, individual containers of soda, whole pieces of fruit, and cookie trays. 

(b)  Food items that are not individually packaged or that must be maintained at a certain temperature require a temporary food permit issued by the Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department. 

(c)  Kitchen facilities or equipment are not provided by the library, except for minimal kitchen facilities at the Carver Branch and the Austin History Center which may be used with permission from the librarian in charge. 

(d)  Protective mats or tablecloths must be used on tables when refreshments are being served.   

(12)  The individual making the reservation, as well as the group as a whole, is responsible for damages that result from the group’s use of the meeting room. 

(F)  The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable accommodations will be provided on request.  

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request.

Questions not covered in this policy should be addressed to Library Administration, 512-974-7449. To discuss exceptions to this policy, please ask the librarian in charge of the building where the meeting room is located.