Public Meeting Rooms - Regional Policy

The meeting rooms in all the libraries of the Athens Regional Library System are designed to advance the ideas expressed in their mission statements, i.e., that they should serve as a community resource by providing access to library and other programs for educational, informational, cultural and civic functions of the communities in our region. These meeting rooms are available on equal terms to all groups in the community regardless of the beliefs, or affiliations of their members, provided that the meetings are free and open to the public.

Priorities

  1. Educational, informational, cultural and civic programs sponsored or cosponsored by the Library relating to its collections and services, such as lectures, exhibits, panel discussions, informal seminars, film presentations, etc.
  2. Meetings sponsored by the libraries.
  3. Meetings of the agencies of local government which fund the libraries.
  4. Meeting rooms may not be used for private gatherings or commercial gatherings which advertise a product or service.
  5. All other meetings on a first come, first served basis.

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.

Endorsement

Use of the meeting rooms by outside agencies does not constitute libraries' endorsement of the viewpoints expressed by the participants in programs. No advertisement or announcement implying endorsement will be permitted.

Equal Opportunity

All activities taking place in the meeting rooms must not be closed to any person regardless of age, gender, race, religion, national origin, disabling condition or any other legally protected category.

Reservations and Scheduling

  • Reservations for use of the Meeting Room(s) may be made by completing a reservation form or in some cases by telephone or mail. A Meeting Room form must be completed prior to use of the room(s) and those who sign agree to be responsible for conforming with the conditions set forth on the form and in this policy.
  • Meeting room reservations shall require that a group representative (applicant) complete an "Application for Use of Meeting Rooms" form at least annually. This form shall require that the applicant give the name of the organization, the full name and address of the applicant, the time desired, the number of persons expected to attend, and the phone number of the person responsible for the meeting. This form shall be signed by the applicant before the meeting room(s) shall be opened.
  • Reservations must be made by an adult (18 years or older). The person making the application shall be the contact person, unless specified otherwise, and shall be the only person authorized to make changes in the reservation. Groups younger than 18 years old must have adult supervision who assumes responsibility for the groups' activities and for the care of property and facilities.
  • Requests will be honored on a first come, first-served basis as stated in the priories above.
  • Meetings should be held during library hours. Rooms will not be opened before the appointed time. Groups should schedule the reservation to include set-up and clean-up times. Groups using the meeting rooms are requested to end programs at least 15 minutes prior to the library's closing time.
  • Meetings may be held before or after regularly scheduled library hours only when prior arrangement has been made and approval has been given for the hours requested.
  • Space for a meeting should be requested as far in advance as possible.

Restrictions

  • Rulings of the local county Fire Marshall as to the capacity of people in the rooms and other matters of safety shall be observed at all meetings.
  • All meetings must be open to staff, public and the press.
  • No admission charges may be attached to the meeting rooms, no collection may be taken, no purchase may be required, and no registration of attendance required except for those activities which benefit the libraries directly, such as those sponsored by library Friends groups.
  • Fees for participation in workshops, study groups, discussion series, conferences, and similar meetings may be collected ONLY if it is to defray cost of the materials to be used in a program.
  • In the event of a Library building emergency or weather-related emergency, meetings may be canceled and any fees paid will be refunded. Library staff will attempt to inform the contact person of the closing.
  • The meeting cannot disrupt the ability of the library to conduct its business in a normal or orderly manner because of noise or other factors which will not be permitted.
  • Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the meeting room and any area of the library.
  • No group may assign its reservation to another group.
  • No group meeting at the library shall use the library as its official address.
  • Any group wishing to meet upon a repeating basis must make separate arrangements prior to each need. The library will not accept multiple reservations at any time from any groups, unless the group is library sponsored.
  • The library has a limited supply of various kinds of audio-visual equipment which may be used within the meeting rooms. These items must be scheduled when the room is reserved.
  • Light refreshments may be served. All refreshments must remain in the meeting area. Refreshment supplies such as cups, containers, paper goods, tea and coffee and kitchen utensils, towels, etc. are not provided by the library.
  • The group is responsible for setting up chairs and tables for its members and putting them away when the meeting is finished.
  • Any damage to the premises or library furnishings as a result of the meeting will be paid by the group.
  • The library does not provide storage space for property or supplies of groups or organizations using the Meeting Room. No advance deliveries of equipment or supplies will be accepted by the library for groups using the meeting room. The library assumes no responsibility for private property brought into the building.
  • Library staff will not take or deliver messages for meeting participants.
  • The contact person for each meeting is responsible for ensuring that each member of his or her group is aware of and abides by these regulations.
  • Patron and Responsibilities and Conduct Policy will apply while using meeting room(s).
  • Future use of the Meeting Room(s) may be restricted or denied for any violation of these rules.

Review Process

  • Issues regarding both the Meeting Room Policy and/or the content of programs or events in the meeting rooms should be addressed in writing to the branch manager or the Director of the Athens Regional Library System for local review who should respond within 10 days.
  • An appeal shall be filed in writing with the Director of the library within 10 days after notice of a decision is given to the User.
  • In the event of such an appeal, the Board of Trustees shall hold a hearing for the purpose of hearing evidence relevant to the appeal.
  • Within 30 days after conclusion of the hearing, the Board of Trustees shall make a written recommendation regarding the matter. The written recommendation will be the final decision concerning an appeal.

Study Rooms

  • If provided, study rooms are available upon request during library hours on a first come, first served basis.
  • Rooms may be reserved in advance at some facilities.
  • There may be a time limit imposed on the use of the study rooms.
  • The number of individuals who may be in a study room at one time may be limited by the size of the room.
  • Any conversation in study rooms must be quiet enough so other patrons are not disturbed.
  • Just as throughout the library, no food or drinks are allowed in study rooms.
  • Patron and Responsibilities and Conduct Policy will apply while using a study room.
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