Meeting Room Policy

PURPOSE:

OPL welcomes the public use of its meeting facilities in keeping with the library’s mission that recognizes its role as a community meeting place.

POLICY:
Meeting rooms are primarily for use by the library to present library-sponsored events.

When not in use for library-sponsored events, meeting rooms are available for use by community groups that meet OPL’s guidelines and for purposes that are consistent with the library’s mission, goals, and objectives.

Meeting Room Booking Priority

  1. OPL sponsored events.
    1. In special circumstances presenters may request to sell related products at events. These requests must be approved by the executive library director or assistant director. A minimum of 10% of all proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Omaha Public Library.
  2. Groups that are using or sponsoring the use of OPL materials or events.
    1. Examples of this category are the Friends of Omaha Public Library, genealogical groups or clubs, and book discussion groups.
  3. Organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or service oriented activities.
    1. Meeting rooms are not available to non-profit organizations or trade associations for the benefit of commercial concerns. An exception may be made for a commercial entity or professional practitioner who uses an OPL meeting room to provide a free educational event, related to their field of expertise, which is open to the general public.
  4. Federal or state social service agencies or related entities or as otherwise prescribed by governmental rule or regulation.

OPL meeting rooms are not available, without limitation, for:

  • Raising money
  • Commercial purposes
  • Private individuals’ or commercial concerns’ benefit
  • Private social gatherings
  • Groups whose meetings are closed to the general public
  • Meetings for which tuition, membership fees, or other fees are charged or may be recouped through sales or commissions at a later date

Eligible groups may, from time-to-time, be denied use of meeting rooms if their request would result in undue interference with regular library operations.

OPL reserves the right to cancel reservations or revoke permission to use any meeting room for any group or organization which violates or refuses to comply with the rules and regulations established for using the meeting rooms or any OPL policy.

Guidelines for Meeting Room Use

  1. Use of OPL meeting rooms is free-of-charge. Donations are always welcomed and appreciated.
  2. Groups using meeting rooms must adhere to all OPL policies.
  3. Advance reservation of meeting rooms is required for all non-library groups. To encourage the use of library materials as well as library facilities, a valid OPL card in good standing is required of the individual submitting the meeting room reservation request.
    1. Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first serve 90-day rolling basis. A group may not book more than one meeting room in the same facility during the same time period (for example, reserving all meeting rooms in one location on the same day). A group may not request a meeting room for more than 4 hours per day and more than 5 meetings per month. Exceptions may be granted by the branch manager.
    2. A meeting room reservation request must be completed and submitted by the group requesting use of a meeting room at least 72 hours in advance of the requested date.
    3. Reservations for use of meeting rooms shall be approved by the OPL staff.
    4. The submitted meeting room request constitutes an agreement that a meeting will take place. Failure to cancel the meeting 24 hours prior to the reserved time or failing to show may be cause for refusing future requests by that group for meeting room space.
  4. Light refreshments are permitted in the meeting rooms. All refreshments, other than coffee and tea, shall not be prepared on library premises.
  5. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
  6. Any special table or seating arrangements shall be the responsibility of the group using the meeting room. When scheduling, groups should allow extra time for setting up the room before the meeting is to start and for returning it to its original condition when the meeting is over.
  7. Groups may arrange to use library audio/visual equipment where it is available. However no one shall operate library equipment unless they are properly trained. This may require that a member of the group make an appointment with a library staff member prior to the meeting to receive training. Staff cannot guarantee that personal electronic items will work with library audio/visual equipment.
  8. Groups shall not exceed the legal posted capacity of the meeting room. It is the group’s responsibility to monitor compliance with the capacity regulations. The group must refuse people admittance to the room if their entry exceeds the posted room capacity.
  9. OPL or its employees shall not assume responsibility for any property of groups, individuals, or organizations. All property belonging to an organization must be removed from the library at the end of each meeting.
  10. Groups shall vacate meeting rooms promptly upon the reservation end time to ensure the room is available for the next group. Meetings will end 15 minutes prior to the time that the library closes to the public.
  11. Each group using meeting rooms is expected to inform staff when the meeting is finished and report the number of attendees.
  12. Each group using meeting rooms is expected to leave the room in the same condition in which it was found.
  13. Each group shall be responsible for damage to the room and its contents, including any library equipment used by the group. A charge will be assessed for any special cleaning or repairs made necessary by a group.
  14. All OPL buildings are smoke-free. Smoking, open flames, burning incense, and lit candles are prohibited.
  15. Tacks, nails, glue, or tape shall not be used on walls, furnishings, or equipment except in meeting rooms with appropriate surfaces such as tackable walls, cork-boards, or whiteboards.
  16. Neither the name nor the address of OPL may be used as the official address or headquarters of any organization. No mail or shipments of materials will be accepted for organizations or individuals. The library’s phone number or logo shall not be used by any groups in meeting announcements.
  17. The fact that a group is permitted to meet in the library does not in any way constitute library endorsement of the group’s policies or beliefs. Purposes, objectives, or views of groups using the meeting rooms shall not be advertised in any way to suggest that they are endorsed by OPL.
  18. Saddlebrook, AV Sorensen, and Florence branches are joint facilities and have separate meeting room policies. Please refer to individual branch policies if requesting a room at these locations.
  19. Study rooms (available in some locations) are intended for use by individuals or small groups seeking a quiet study area. They are not additional meeting rooms and will not be reserved. Study room use is limited to a 2-hour limit per day. Exceptions may be granted by the branch manager. The South Omaha Library Meeting Room Policy outlines use for study rooms at that joint facility.

IMPLEMENTATION:

All OPL personnel shall be responsible for enforcing this policy.

Approved by the Board of Trustees
of the Omaha Public Library December 15, 1999
Re-approved July 18, 2019

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