Meeting Room Policies and Guidelines

Meeting Room Policies and Guidelines

Meeting RoomThe Austin Public Library welcomes public use of its meeting facilities in keeping with the Library’s mission “to provide a wide range of information and services to enrich the lives of all members of our community.”

The Meeting Room Policy establishes rules and procedures for the use of the Library’s meeting facilities. The librarian in charge of the building where the meeting room(s) is located is responsible for implementing this policy and for maintaining reservation lists.

Use of Library meeting rooms by any group signifies acceptance of the terms of this policy.

General Guidelines  

Meeting rooms at the APL are designed to meet general, non-commercial, informational, educational, cultural, and civic needs including activities such as discussion groups, panels, lectures, conferences, and seminars.

To be eligible to use a meeting room, any group or organization must be not for profit and should include three or more individuals.

There is no charge for meeting room use.

Use of the Library’s meeting rooms does not constitute Library or City of Austin endorsement of viewpoints expressed by participants in the program. Advertisements or announcements implying such endorsement are not permitted.

All activities held in the Library’s meeting rooms must be open to everyone.

Commercial uses of meeting rooms are prohibited; this includes solicitations, admission or other charges, money-raising activities, and/or sales. Delivery of direct, hands-on healthcare services is also prohibited.

Meeting rooms may not be used for social gatherings such as showers, birthday parties, dances, etc.

Meeting rooms may not be used for political rallies or campaigns for specific partisan political issues or candidates (however, forums and study groups are permitted).

Meeting rooms may not be used to provide any kind of direct healthcare services including examinations, hands-on demonstrations, or treatments (however, the sharing of information about healthcare services is permitted).

Noise levels from meeting rooms must not disturb library patrons or staff.

All meeting rooms must be completely vacated prior to the Library’s closing time. Exact times may vary by location.

City or Library needs may preempt any other scheduled event.

Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Smoking, alcoholic beverages, open flames, burning incense, and lit candles are not allowed.

Reservations  

Requests for use of a meeting room may be made online, in person, by telephone, or in writing. Requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis.

Reservations will only be held for 10 days until signed reservation form is received. If your planned meeting will take place in less than 10 days and the meeting room is available, a reservation will be tentatively accepted with the signed form due at least 3 days prior to the meeting.

When making a reservation, please provide:

  • Name of organization
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the responsible person
  • Total number of persons expected to attend

Reservations may be made for the current calendar year.

To provide an opportunity for all groups to use the meeting rooms, a group may use a meeting room only once each month, and may reserve only one meeting room for use at the same time.

Notice of cancellation should be made to the library’s Branch Manager or Assistant Manager as soon as possible. After 30 minutes a group may forfeit its reservation if it fails to appear as scheduled.

If a group fails to show for two meetings in a row and does not call to cancel, all future reservations are forfeited until the group calls to reschedule.

Meetings will 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.

Groups may not assign or transfer their reservations to other groups.

An individual library customer may, upon request, use a meeting room which is not in use until the next group’s reservation time. Please sign in at the circulation desk for individual use. If other individuals want to use the room at the same time, they may do so; consistent with APL’s policy of having the room open to all.

Care and Use of Facilities  

Please leave meeting rooms as they are found. If the furniture is rearranged, it should be returned to the original arrangement at the end of the meeting.

The Library cannot provide AV or other equipment.

Furniture and/or equipment from the main area of the Library may not be brought into meeting rooms.

Personal furniture or equipment may be provided by a group with prior approval. Arrangements for the use of any personal furniture or equipment should be made at scheduling time. In order to ensure easy removal of equipment after the meeting, the appropriate staff member (either Library Security or the Branch Librarian) should be notified when the equipment is brought into the building.

Equipment, supplies, or personal effects cannot be stored or left in Library meeting rooms before or after use.

Keep all exits unlocked at all times. Open aisles must be maintained within the seating arrangement to provide clear access to exits.

Public entrances are to be used for all access to and from the building, including all deliveries.

Any announcements or notices to publicize an activity should not be posted or distributed on library premises without prior approval from the librarian in charge.

Attendance at meetings will be limited to the capacity of the individual meeting rooms as listed at the end of this policy. Seating and/or supplementary furniture are not allowed in corridors outside the meeting rooms.

Food and drink may be consumed in the meeting rooms as long as the food or drinks are individually packaged such as packaged snacks, individual containers of soda, pieces of fruit, box lunches, etc. Food items that are not individually packaged such as a sandwich tray, cookie tray, pizza, etc. must be served by an individual who has completed an accredited food handler training program. Contact the City of Austin Health Department by calling 3-1-1 for further information. Kitchen facilities or equipment will not be provided by the Library. (Minimal kitchen facilities are available at the Carver Branch and the Austin History Center with permission from the librarian in charge.)

All trash resulting from the serving of refreshments must be removed by the organization.

The individual making the reservation, as well as the group as a whole, will be held responsible for any and all damages that may occur as a result of the use of the facilities.

Permission to use Library meeting rooms may be withheld from groups that have failed to comply with the Meeting Room Policy and from any group that damages the room, carpet, equipment, or furniture, or causes a disturbance.

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.

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 and whole pieces of fruit. 

(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.

 

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