Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Resource Team, Date: 6/26/2022
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee, Date: 7/6/2022
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees, Date: 7/21/2022
The designated public meeting rooms (multi-purpose rooms, auditoriums, conference rooms, study rooms, classrooms, and/or other designated areas) in Athens Regional Library System facilities are designed to advance the ideas and purposes expressed in the library’s mission and vision statements, strategic direction, and library tactical plans. The facilities serve as a public resource to residents and organizations within the five counties of ARLS by providing access to libraries and other programs for educational, informational, cultural, and civic functions of the community.
Even when reserved and being used by groups not affiliated with the library, library meeting rooms remain public areas of the library; no areas of the public library are considered to be for private use.
Meeting room spaces are not available at the following branches: East Athens Library Resource Center; Lavonia-Carnegie Library; Lay Park Library Resource Center; Winterville Library.
Equal Opportunity of Access
- The library’s meeting rooms are available on an equitable basis to all groups in the community, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
- All activities taking place in the meeting rooms must be free of charge and open to the public, staff, law enforcement, and press. Admission fees, solicitations, payment of dues, and registration of attendance are not permitted; no purchases may be required for attendance.
- Activities held in the library meeting rooms cannot be closed to any person on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, national origin, disabling condition, or any other legally protected category.
- In order to maintain equitable opportunity of access for all community groups, reservations will not be accepted for a series of meetings which will designate the library as a regular meeting place, other than for events sponsored by the library, or by the library’s partners or affiliated agencies and organizations. No more than three dates may be reserved at one time for one group.
- Use of the meeting rooms by outside agencies does not constitute an endorsement by the library, library staff, local Board of Trustees, or the Athens Regional Library System Board of Trustees of the viewpoints expressed by the participants in programs or meetings.
- Outside advertisements for programs held in the library should include the identification of the sponsoring organization. No advertisement or announcement implying endorsement by the library will be permitted. The library requests prior approval of outside advertisements which include the library’s name and location information.
- Meetings and events sponsored or co-sponsored by the library and the library’s partners and affiliated agencies and organizations are allowed precedence over all outside groups or individuals.
- Meetings and events of agencies of local and state governments which provide funding for the libraries.
- All other reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis, with preference given to groups located in the ARLS service area.
- The library reserves the right to revise any schedule of meetings if necessary and to preempt established reservations upon reasonable notification of the group(s) involved.
Reservations and Scheduling
- Reservations for use of a meeting room are made according to procedures established by the individual library management staffs (see Meeting Room Guidelines and Procedures and the Reservation and Agreement Form for each location). Anyone using a room which requires a reservation must complete and sign the Reservation / Agreement
- Form prior to using the room. This form shall require that the applicant give the name of the organization, the full name and address of the applicant, and the phone number of the person responsible for the meeting. This form shall be signed by the applicant before the meeting room(s) will be opened. Completed Reservation / Agreement Forms are public records and are subject to lawful open records requests.
- Reserved meeting rooms are available only for use by groups or organizations located within the ARLS area of service.
- Reservations are accepted for groups or organizations based outside the five counties served by the Athens Regional
- Library System but these groups or organizations are required to pay a maintenance fee to be determined by the serving library.
- Reserved meeting rooms are available only for use by groups of at least three people.
- Reservations must be made by an adult (18 years of age or older). Groups with participants younger than 18 years of age must have adult supervision. The adult who signs the reservation must arrive prior to the beginning of the event, must be present throughout the entire event, and must remain until the departure from the library campus of all under-age attendees.
- The signee/contact person for each group is responsible for ensuring that each member of his or her group is aware of and abides by all library regulations and policies.
- No group may assign its reservation to another group.
- Reservations will be accepted only within six months prior to the meeting date.
- Meeting rooms are not available during library holidays or during emergency library closings.
- Meetings may be held in library auditoriums or multipurpose room(s) before or after regularly scheduled library hours only when prior arrangement has been made and approval has been given by library staff for the hours requested.
- Additional requirements for meetings outside regular hours may apply in specific branch library locations.
- Room set-up and clean-up are not provided by the library; the reserving group is responsible for setting up chairs and tables for its events and for putting them away when the meeting is finished. Groups should schedule the reservation to include set-up and clean-up time. Specific set-up and clean-up guidelines will be provided by the individual library when a reservation is made.
- Patron Responsibilities and Conduct policy and all other local library and Athens Regional Library System (ARLS) policies apply to all meetings and attendees.
- Meetings cannot disrupt the ability of the library to conduct its business in a normal or orderly manner because of noise, crowding, parking, or other factors.
- Rulings of the local Fire Marshal as to the capacity of people in the rooms, and other matters of safety, must be observed in all areas of the library. Rules are posted in each location.
- Private gatherings, parties, celebrations, confidential meetings, legal depositions, and commercial gatherings are not allowed in the public meeting rooms.
- Events sponsored by the library or official library partners may include vending or fund-raising, others may not.
- Fees for participation in workshops, study groups, discussion series, conferences, and similar meetings may be collected only if it is to defray direct cost of the materials to be used in that program.
- No group, other than the library and library-sponsored organizations, may use the library as its official address.
- No public meeting rooms (including small study rooms) may be used for sleeping or for storage of personal belongings.
- In the event of a library weather-related emergency, meetings may be canceled and any fees paid will be refunded.
- Applicant and groups with reservations are responsible for checking with the library to confirm availability during inclement weather. Library staff will attempt to inform applicant, or contact person if otherwise noted, of emergency library closings due to other circumstances.
- Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the meeting rooms or any area of the library.
- The library has a limited supply of various kinds of audiovisual equipment which may be used within the meeting rooms. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure their personal equipment, such as laptop computers, is compatible with the library’s audiovisual equipment. The library assumes no responsibility for private equipment used in the building.
- The library does not provide storage space for property or supplies of groups or organizations using the meeting rooms.
- No advance deliveries of equipment or supplies will be accepted by the library for groups using the meeting rooms.
- Anything left in the meeting rooms will be disposed of as the library sees fit.
- Library staff will not take or deliver messages for meeting participants; no phone is available for public use.
- The Library Boards and staff do not assume any liability on or for groups or individuals attending a meeting in the library and assume no responsibility or liability for private property brought into the building or onto the library campus.
- Future use of the meeting room may be restricted or denied by library staff for any violation of library policy.
- Damage to library property or a room left in a condition that requires extra cleaning or maintenance is the responsibility of the group using the room. The reservation signee will be charged with any resulting repair or cleaning fees. Damage to library property may also result in the applicant being denied further use of the facilities. These determinations will be made by the Athens Regional Library System Executive Director.
Review and Appeal
- The ARLS Executive Director reserves the right to review any and all requests for use of library meeting rooms and may reject any which he/she deems unsuitable or inappropriate.
- Question, concerns, and/or issues regarding meeting room policy, charges, and/or the content of programs or events held in the meeting rooms should be registered in writing to the attention of the Branch Manager of the library. A written response from the Branch Manager should be expected within 10 days of receipt of a review request.
- An appeal of the Branch Manager’s decision may be filed by submitting a formal Request for Reconsideration of Library Resource or Service form addressed to the ARLS Executive Director within 10 days after notice of a decision is given to the person requesting review. The Executive Director will respond to this appeal within 10 work days.
- In the event of a further appeal, the local Library Board of Trustees will hold, during the next regularly scheduled quarterly Board meeting, a hearing for the purpose of hearing evidence relevant to the appeal.
- Within 30 days after conclusion of the hearing, the Board of Trustees will make a written recommendation regarding the matter.
- An appeal may be filed in writing to the Athens Regional Library Board of Trustees within 30 days. The decision of the ARLS Board is final.