Home Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Policies Meeting Spaces Policy

Hillsborough County
Department of Library Services
Policies and Procedures Manual

Subject: Meeting Spaces

Effective: March 23, 2017

Supercedes: January 2016

Suggested Review: 1 Year

  1. Purpose:
    1. The library’s meeting spaces are intended to be used for library related functions. The library encourages other citizens and community group access to those rooms as part of a program of service to further the library’s objectives.
    2. The library’s objectives are to promote lifelong learning, enhance quality of life, encourage individual intellectual freedom, and broaden horizons for all Hillsborough County residents.
    3. Use of meeting spaces shall have the following priority:
      1. Early voting or voting precinct locations coordinated in conjunction with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office which preempts all other uses.
      2. Library sponsored or co-sponsored programs.
      3. Organizations in partnership with the Library, including Friends of the Library, the Hillsborough Literacy Council, etc.
      4. Individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations, and other governmental agencies.
    4. The Library reserves the right to deny meeting space access to any group pursuant to this policy.
  2. Policy:
    1. All use of meeting spaces must be free and open to the public.
    2. Meeting spaces may only be used by individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations that do not unlawfully discriminate in their membership practices. Persons, groups, corporations, or other legal entities engaging in any commercial activities or for-profit transactions may not utilize meeting spaces. (Exception: Individual and small group tutoring in support of K-12 education.)
    3. Library staff may request proof of non-profit status and will follow up with appropriate local, state, or federal agencies for verification of this status.
    4. No sale of items, solicitation or selling of goods or services, or fund raising activities directed toward the public may take place in meeting rooms and/or community rooms unless the individual, community group, or non-profit organization is acting as a co-sponsor or partner for a library program, event or service.
    5. Meeting spaces are not available for private social gatherings (parties, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, family reunions, graduation ceremonies, etc.)
    6. Use of facilities is governed by Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Policy, Section Number, Policy for Use of County-Owned Real Estate and Administrative Directive AD-08, Political Activity.
    7. The individual completing the Application for Use of Library Meeting Spaces (Application) must have a current Hillsborough County library card in good standing with no outstanding fines or fees. Those residents without a library card are encouraged to apply for one.
    8. All persons attending must conform to guidelines set forth in the Library’s Code of Conduct(LS 502).
    9. The Library, the Board of County Commissioners, the Public Library Board, and the Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, Inc., neither endorse, approve nor disapprove the aims, policies, viewpoints or activities of groups utilizing meeting spaces.
    10. Individuals, community groups and non-profit organizations may not reserve meeting spaces more than twice per month, nor more than three months in advance to ensure fair availability to all citizens.
    11. Walk-in requests for immediate use of meeting spaces are based on availability and compliance with this policy.
    12. The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library features the Ada T. Payne Community Room. The size, scope, and nature of the events held in this room require particular operating procedures. Individuals, community groups, and non-profit organizations may reserve the Ada T. Payne Community Room up to six months in advance. This advance time period reflects the possible planning requirements for events held in this space and ensures equitable access for all citizens. Use of the special features of this room, including the catering kitchen, sound and lighting systems, are self-service.
    13. Meetings generally are scheduled to take place within regular library hours of operation.
    14. Events or meetings being held in the Ada T. Payne Community Room are to end no later than 9 p.m. Requests for use of the room later than 9 p.m. require approval by the Library Director.
    15. Meeting spaces must be left in the same condition and arrangement in which they were found prior to usage. Responsibility for any damage to property or loss of library equipment must be assumed by the individual, community group, or non-profit organization using the room.
    16. Accidents are to be reported immediately to library staff.
    17. Library staff may attend or observe any meeting or any program at any time.
    18. The name, address, and/or phone number of any library may not be used as the address or headquarters of any group. No individual, community group, or non-profit organization may imply library sponsorship agreement without prior approval, and such approval shall be in writing and in accordance with library policy.
    19. The individual, community group, or non-profit organization using the meeting space is responsible for its own publicity unless the library has a formal sponsored or co-sponsored agreement and it is outlined therein.
  3. Procedure:
    1. Applications:
      1. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations wishing to reserve meeting space must submit a completed application with sufficient processing time, usually two to three business days. Last minute requests will be considered on an individual basis and handled appropriately.
      2. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations wishing to reserve meeting space outside of the operating hours must complete and submit an After Hours Permission Addendum at least one month prior to use.
        1. Only those actively participating in the meeting or event are to be admitted into the building.
        2. All exterior doors must remain closed while the meeting or event is in progress. Doors should never be left propped open.
        3. At the conclusion of the meeting or event, ensure that everyone has left the building before closing.
        4. Set the building alarm and ensure the door(s) are locked.
        5. Failure to follow these procedures could results in after-hour privileges being revoked.
      3. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations wishing to use the catering kitchen in the Ada T. Payne Community Room for the warming and serving of food, will be assessed a cleaning fee. Payment of the fee must be made prior to use of the room. Applicants should retain receipt for proof of payment. The Catering Kitchen Permission Addendum must be filled out at least one month in advance.
      4. All submitted applications are reviewed prior to confirmation of a reservation.
      5. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations will be notified of the status of their application.
      6. Each application is generally kept on file for one year. The individual, community group, or non-profit organization is responsible for keeping its application current.
    2. Cancellations:
      1. The library retains the right to cancel a meeting space reservation in the event of a scheduling conflict with a library activity or co-sponsored program, or if conditions arise that affect the safety, health, or operation of the facility.
      2. If the library needs to cancel a meeting space reservation, library staff will recommend alternatives for canceled reservations at other libraries where possible.
      3. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations holding reservations are requested to notify the library of any cancellation at the earliest possible date in order to free the meeting space for use by others. Failure to provide timely notice of cancellation on more than two occasions will result in denial of future use.
    3. Use Limitations:
      1. The Fire Marshal’s maximum occupancy limits cannot be exceeded.
      2. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations must check in with library staff upon arrival for any meeting and provide them with an attendance count before departure.
      3. Refreshments other than dry snacks and beverages in covered containers are not permitted in a meeting room unless permission has been granted. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations wishing to bring refreshments must complete and submit a Food & Beverage Permission Addendum and will be assessed a non-refundable cleaning fee. Payment of the fee must be made prior to use of the room. Applicants should retain receipt for proof of payment. Failure to obtain an approved Food & Beverage Permission Addendum will result in a cleaning fee being assessed as well as possible denial of future use.
      4. Serving or consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited unless prior application approval has been obtained from the Library Board per LS 534, Alcohol Use Policy.
      5. Storage space for equipment, supplies, materials, etc. belonging to individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations cannot be provided by the library.
      6. Sound amplification in a meeting space must not impede regular operations of the library.
      7. Copyrighted or commercially produced films, videos, and DVDs must have public performance rights in order to be viewed in a meeting room.
      8. Individuals, community groups, or non-profit organizations’ activities may not adversely affect library operations.
      9. Anyone failing to follow the above use limitations are at risk of having their meeting space privileges revoked.
  4. Authority:

    Pursuant to Section 5(1) of Chapter 84-443, Laws of Florida, the Library Board has the duty and the responsibility, among others, to serve in a recommending capacity to the Director of Library Services and to the County Administrator in respect to all matters pertaining to the public library.