Approved by the Board of Trustees
March 14, 2005
ST. JOSEPH PUBLIC LIBRARY
MEETING ROOM POLICY
In keeping with the Library’s mission to offer a welcoming place for community interactions, meeting rooms at the East Hills Library and Washington Park Library are available for use by community groups for meetings which are open to the public, foster personal growth, community interaction, and when not needed for Library purposes. Use of the Library meeting rooms does not imply endorsement by the Library staff or Board of Trustees of the viewpoints presented.
The St.Joseph Public Library meeting rooms are available for use on a reserved-only basis to non-profit organizations, government agencies, groups engaged in educational, civic, cultural, religious, hobby, and other activities involving personal growth, recreation, or service. The Library encourages the widest possible use of groups so long as the use does not conflict with the functioning of the Library. Use of the Library meeting rooms does not imply endorsement by the Library staff or Board of Trustees of the viewpoints presented.
To ensure the general availability of Library meeting space to the public, the Library will generally limit multiple reservations by the same group. Only the Library and its tenants may schedule regular meetings. Certain groups meet a specific need which is also part of the Library’s expressed goals for itself. These groups may be considered an exception and granted regular meetings if they desire.
The Library reserves for itself the top priority in reserving rooms for Library programs and programs the Library sponsors or co-sponsors. With regard to the East Hills Library only, the Convention and Visitor’s Center located on site will have priority use of meeting rooms second only to that of the Library. Other groups will then be afforded the opportunity to reserve use of the Library. Every attempt will be made to schedule so that no reservation, once confirmed, is cancelled or forced to reschedule by a use with a higher priority, however the Library reserves to itself the right to take this action if it deems it necessary. In the event a confirmed reservation is cancelled or forced to reschedule, every attempt will be made to provide more than a week’s notice of the change and indeed, the length of the notice period will be a significant consideration in whether the action is warranted at all.
Generally speaking, programs at the Library must be open to the general public and fees may not be charged for attendance. Programs involving the sale, advertising, or promotion of commercial products or services, are prohibited. Commercial programs listed or presented as informational, educational, or instructional must remain so, and presenters shall make no direct solicitation of attendees to secure clients or customers for their commercial purpose. Programs requiring partial reimbursement for the actual costs of providing the program will be reviewed on a case by case basis for possible exemption from the rule prohibiting fees. Fund raisers are not permitted.
Meeting rooms are available to qualifying groups on an equitable basis. Qualifying groups can reserve room(s) as space is available. Neither the name nor address of the Library may be used as the official address or headquarters of any organization that uses a Library meeting room. TheSt.Joseph Public Library will make no effort to censor or amend the content of a meeting in a Library facility.
The Library Director, the Branch Manager of each facility or their designee will review all requests for meeting room use and determine eligibility prior to granting approval. TheSt.Joseph Public Library Board of Trustees is the final authority in granting or refusing any appeal or exception to the policies stated in this document.
The Library reserves the right to limit advance reservations to the current Library programming season. Reservations may be denied for lack of room availability, inability to determine that a group qualifies, determination that a group does not qualify, activities for which the available rooms are not designed, for the planning, promotion or carrying out of activities which are unlawful, for past failure to honor reservations and library policies, for using the room improperly during previous use, or for any reason that the Library Director, the Branch manager or the St. Joseph Public Library Board of Trustees deems appropriate. The Library will make a good faith attempt to make the rooms broadly available and to simplify the process of reserving a room to the maximum extent practicable.
CONDITIONS OF USE
Generally speaking the Washington Park Library and the East Hills Library are the only libraries which have rooms available for public reservation and use.
Meetings must be held during regular Library hours. Meetings of a tenant of the Library are exempt from this provision. While the Library may make exceptions to this requirement for programs that further Library goals, the Library is generally unable to provide for programs falling outside regular Library hours.
Meetings must end on time so the room can be cleared or prepared for other meetings. All meetings must end 15 minutes before the Library closes.
Meetings should generally be open to the public, except that public governmental bodies may hold a closed session pursuant to the provisions of State statutes and regulations. Due to the public nature of the meeting rooms, reservation requests shall not be protected as a Library circulation transaction, but treated as public documents. Library meetings or meetings of the Friends of the Library may be closed in accordance with the Missouri Sunshine Law. Meetings by a tenant of the Library may be open or closed reflecting the legal requirements for the meetings in question.
Groups are responsible for the requirements and for providing requested accommodations for meetings or programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Smoking within the building is prohibited. The Library is a smoke free facility. Ash trays are available to smokers who wish to smoke outside the Library buildings themselves.
Food or Drink
Groups who use the Library rooms may serve light refreshments (note: alcoholic beverages are prohibited) when their plan to do so has been pre-approved by the Library.
With regard to the East Hills Library, considerations for approval include the following: generally the Library will not approve catered refreshment other than that provided by the coffee shop vendor on site, generally the Library will not approve the use of refreshments purchased off site and served in the Library, the Library will generally approve the use of homemade refreshments at meetings, the Library will consider exceptions to the above rules when the coffee shop is unable to provide the requested service at competitive prices.
The Library staff is unable to provide childcare services or facilities for the supervision of the children of persons attending a meeting in Library meeting rooms. (Please review the Library policy on unattended children.)
The group is responsible for leaving the room in the condition in which it was found. Charges will be assessed for damages or required extra cleanup. Representatives of the group may inform library staff at the end of their meeting that they have cleaned the room and request an inspection. Library staff will inspect the room as soon as possible. Library staff will not leave a single staff person manning the circulation desk nor will they leave while patrons are waiting to be served or if, in the opinion of the staff on duty, patron service would be otherwise compromised. The representative of the group using the room may elect to wait until library staff can inspect the room. In the event the room is unable to be inspected before another group uses the room, neither group will be charged for any damage to the room discovered after the meetings conclude.
Any equipment and displays brought in for a meeting must be removed at the end of the meeting. The Library is not responsible for lost or stolen items or damage to items which the group has brought onto the premises.
Damages to the Library’s premises, equipment, or furnishings as a result of meeting room use will be charged to the group responsible. The group or organization and its members, jointly and severally, will assume and bear full responsibility for loss of, or injury, or damage to, any property of the St. Joseph Public Library caused or inflicted by the organization, its members, affiliated persons, guests, or invitees.
The Library has a limited supply of folding tables and chairs available for public use. While the Library will make an effort to accommodate the group using the space, the Library does not provide special room set-up or arrangements. Each group should be prepared to arrange the space to their specific needs.
Equipment and Media
The Library has a number of pieces of audio-visual equipment which may be used in its meeting rooms. The exact type and availability of the equipment will vary. It is suggested that needed equipment be requested at the time of the room reservation. The Library cannot provide operators for the equipment. If Library equipment is to be used, the individual operating the equipment must make arrangements with Library staff, at a time convenient to Library staff, to receive basic training on use of the equipment prior to that use.
Signs, working papers, or posters may not be attached to the walls of the meeting rooms. Notice of public meetings at the Library may be posted in the Library and will generally be limited to the lobby area. Groups reserving space should make arrangements with the Library for posting.
In the event that group wishes to bring in special furnishings or equipment for any event, the group shall be solely responsible for the safety of that material. The Library may require proof of insurance to protect the Library from any damage caused by that equipment or the costs of any damage to that equipment while it is located in the Library. The Library reserves the right to prohibit the use of any equipment within the building as it deems fit. Special attention will be paid to equipment with heating elements or for refrigeration.
Groups which wish to display handicrafts, artwork, or other material within the Library may apply to reserve space for that purpose. The Library reserves the right to review and approve such applications on a case by case basis. The group sponsoring the display is solely responsible for the safety of the materials displayed. The Library may require proof of insurance coverage for the value of the display, a damage deposit, or a waiver of responsibility on the Library’s part when the Library deems it appropriate. This requirement may be waived if members of the group are continuously present to provide security for the display during the hours the hours the building is open to the public.
All persons, groups, or organizations using Library facilities take the premises “as is” and assume all risks of injury, including death or property damage, to members of the group, organization, event participants, and event spectators which might arise out of activities or out of conditions present on the facilities and groups.
Every person, group, or organization using Library facilities shall indemnify, hold harmless, and defend the Library, its Board of Directors, and its employees from any and all liability or financial loss, costs, or expenses (including reasonable attorney’s fees and legal costs) resulting from any suits, claims, losses, or actions brought against the Library and/or employees which results directly or indirectly from wrongful or negligent actions of permittee including its sponsor, spectators, participants, members, officers, directors, or agents. Wrongful or negligent actions include, but are not limited to, failure to adequately inspect, discover and remedy, or warn of defect in the premises or grounds.
Certification to Use Meeting Space
Reservations to use Library meeting space will not be finalized until the requesting organization has been certified to use Library meeting space. An authorized adult representative of the group must apply for certification.
Before accepting application the Library will ask the applicant to read the Library Meeting Room Policy. By signing the application form the applicant agrees that the rules, policies, and conditions in the Library meeting room policy have been understood and certifies the group’s acceptance of them. This would include the financial obligation to pay for any damages caused to Library equipment or property beyond normal wear and tear whether the damage is caused purposefully or accidentally. Failure to abide by these regulations may disqualify the group from future use of the rooms as a minimum penalty.
Organizations which can provide the Library with proof of insurance as part of their application are encouraged to do so. Depending upon the nature of the use, the Library may require such proof of insurance before approving the group’s application to reserve rooms. The Library also reserves the right to require a damage deposit, or a waiver of any responsibility on the Library’s part when the Library feels it is warranted.
The meeting room application will expire one year from the date signed. At that time a new application will need to be submitted and approved. Groups using Library space are encouraged to update their certification during the month before the certification expires.
Room reservations may be requested but cannot be confirmed until the application for Certification to Use Meeting Space form has been completed, signed, processed, and accepted. After a Certification to Use Meeting Space is on file with the Library, requests to reserve space are accepted by phone, in person, or in writing.
The Library will review requests to insure an approved certification is on file, the use is consistent with the certification, the requested use does not conflict with uses already scheduled, the use falls within Library hours, the use is appropriate to the building, and such other considerations as the Library may deem appropriate. When it deems it appropriate, the Library may require proof of insurance prior to making a reservation.
The Library will make every effort to review reservation requests in a timely manner; however the applicant is encouraged to minimize last minute requests for space. The Library will not guarantee review within any specific time period. The representative of the group is encouraged to inquire as to the progress of the review should they feel any concerns.
Generally speaking, reservations are made for a single meeting or event. At the conclusion of that event a reservation may be requested for another meeting or event. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Library. Considerations for exception may include such items as a program that occurs over more than one day, programs that support the library’s specific goals for Library programming for the community, and events the Library may wish to co-sponsor.
Groups using Library space are encouraged to update their certification during the month before the certification expires to ensure uninterrupted ability to reserve space.