Meeting Room Policy

Omaha Public Library welcomes the public use of its meeting facilities in keeping with the Library’s mission that recognizes our role as a community meeting place. Meeting rooms are primarily for use by the library to present library-sponsored events. The library reserves the right to cancel reservations for meeting rooms if the space is needed for library activities.

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

First preference will be given to groups that are using or sponsoring the use of library materials or events. Examples of this category are: Friends of Omaha Public Library, genealogical groups or clubs, and book discussion groups.

Second preference will be given to organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual or service oriented activities.

Generally speaking, Omaha Public Library’s meeting rooms are not available for private social gatherings, for money-raising, commercial purposes, or for the benefit of private individuals or commercial concerns. However, program presenters at library-sponsored events may request to sell related products at the events. These requests must be approved by the Library Director or Assistant Library Director, the products must be related to the program or event held, and may be presented only within the program space or meeting room. Aggressive selling will not be allowed. Items may be displayed and made available before or after the program, and participants may be informed that items are available for purchase if interested. A minimum of 10% of all proceeds must be donated to the Friends of Omaha Public Library.

Except as required by federal or state statute for social service agencies or related entities or as otherwise prescribed by governmental rule or regulation, meeting rooms may not be used by 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 are not allowed. They are not available to non-profit organizations or trade associations formed for the benefit of commercial concerns. However, a commercial entity or professional practitioner may use a library meeting room to provide an educational event open to the general public related to his or her field of expertise. In such a case, an educational opportunity offered by an expert provides benefit to the public. 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 Omaha Public Library.

REGULATIONS

  1. Advance reservation of meeting rooms is required for all non-library groups. To encourage use of library materials as well as library facilities, a valid Omaha Public Library card in good standing (fines or fees that are less than $10) is required of the individual submitting the meeting room reservation request.
    • Reservations for use of meeting rooms shall be approved by the library staff member in charge of the meeting room schedule in each building.
    • A meeting room reservation request must be completed and submitted by the group requesting use of a meeting room at least seventy-two hours in advance of the meeting room use. All meeting room requests must be approved by a designated library representative before a meeting room may be used. It is understood that inquiries concerning a meeting room reservation will be referred to the person submitting the request.
    • Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first served 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 four (4) hours per day and more than five (5) meetings per month. Exceptions may be granted by the Branch Manager.
    • 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 will be cause for refusing future requests by that group for meeting room space.
  2. Neither the name nor the address of Omaha Public Library 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. Further, the library phone number shall not be used by any groups in meeting announcements
  3.  Each group using meeting rooms is expected to leave the room in the same condition in which it was found. 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.
  4. Neither the library nor its employees shall assume responsibility for any property of groups, individuals or organizations. At the end of each meeting, all of an organization’s property must be removed from the library.
  5. Meeting rooms are available during the hours the library is open to the public
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Use of library meeting rooms is free-of-charge; donations are always welcomed and appreciated.
  9. All Omaha Public Library buildings are smoke-free. Smoking, open flames, burning incense, and lit candles are prohibited
  10.  Light refreshments are permitted, but with the exception of coffee and tea, they shall not be prepared on library premises. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
  11. Each group using meeting rooms is expected to inform staff when the meeting is finished and report the number of attendees.
  12. 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.
  13. Groups shall not exceed the legal posted capacity of the meeting room. It is the group’s responsibility to monitor compliance with these regulations and to deny admittance to the room to people who would cause the group to exceed the posted capacity.
  14. 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.
  15. Meeting room groups must adhere to all the Library’s policies.
  16. Joint facilities such as South, Saddlebrook, AV Sorensen, and Florence branches have separate meeting room policies. Please refer to them if requesting a meeting room at these locations.

Study Rooms

Study Rooms (available in some locations) are intended for use by students working on a school project, literacy tutors, business people, or individuals 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 Terms of Use for study rooms at the combined use facility.

In addition to the above regulations, otherwise eligible groups may from time-to-time be denied use of meeting rooms if granting the request would result in undue interference with regular library operations. Undue interference includes, but is not limited to: insufficient parking places for library customers, noise level of the group, food odors, unsupervised children, etc.

The library reserves the right to revoke permission to use any meeting room to any group or organization which violates or refuses to comply with the rules and regulations established for use of the meeting rooms.

Approved by the Board of Trustees
of the Omaha Public Library June 17, 2015
Updated & Re-Approved October 18, 2017

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