Public Meeting policy

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Adopted January 13, 1997

Policy revised November 17, 1997

Policy revised March 12, 2001

 Policy revised November 12, 2002

Policy revised April 11, 2005

Policy revised March 6, 2006

Policy revised January 11, 2010

Policy revised March 14, 2011

Policy revised November 14, 2011

Policy revised January 13, 2014

Policy revised October 13, 2015

Policy revised March 7, 2016

Policy revised August 9, 2021

The library’s public meeting rooms are reserved primarily for programs conducted or sponsored by the library, and secondarily for meetings of institutions, groups and associations that serve residents of the Bethlehem Central School District. The library adheres to the American Library Association’s policy statement Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, which states that facilities should be made available “on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.” Meetings must be open to the public.

Library programs and events take precedence over meetings of outside groups.  The library may pre-empt reservations of outside groups for library purposes upon four weeks’ notice.  In such cases, the library will make every effort to find alternative meeting space for the affected group within the library.

Reservations requests may be made on the library website.  All applications will be considered pending until approved by the library. Groups needing assistance with this process may call the library information desk. The library cannot guarantee that reservation requests made less than one week in advance will be accommodated.

Groups are limited to one meeting a month. Additional meetings may be allowed if space is available. Requests for additional meetings may be made no more than four weeks in advance of the requested date.

Groups that do not show up to use the room within the first 30 minutes of their reserved time may lose the use of the room for the remainder of the reserved time.  The second time a group does not use a previously reserved meeting room without prior notice the library may suspend that group’s meeting privileges for one year.

General Rules of Use

  1. No admission fee or required donation may be charged. A sponsor of a meeting or program may request a fee from participants only to the extent that such fee covers the cost of materials furnished to participants.  Such charges should not be construed as an admission fee, and attendance may not be limited to those individuals who pay the fee.  No portion of any fee shall accrue to the benefit of an organization or individual.
  2. Except as stated in #14 below, meeting rooms may not be used for sales promotions, social affairs, or for the benefit of private individuals or commercial concerns engaged in marketing goods or services.
  3. Permission to use the rooms does not imply library endorsement of the goals, policies, or activities of any group or organization. Except as a designation of location, the name of the library may not be used in any publicity relating to use of meeting rooms. It must be clear in any publicity that Bethlehem Public Library is not a sponsor of any meetings or events.
  4. Meeting rooms are available for use during the library’s normal hours of operation. Meetings should not be scheduled for the first hour the library is open if extensive setup is necessary.  Programs should be planned so that meeting space will be vacated fifteen minutes before the library closing time (8:45 p.m. or 4:45 p.m.).  If a meeting extends beyond the library’s usual closing time, the organization will be charged a $50 service fee.
  5. Meeting rooms and kitchen must be left clean and all trash put in receptacles. Projects involving glitter are not allowed in the meeting rooms. The library will charge a minimum of $50 if extra custodial service is necessary. All food and beverages must be removed from the refrigerator at the end of the meeting.
  6. Groups shall not exceed the legal posted capacity of the meeting room and hallways may not be used as overflow viewing space for meetings.
  7. Replacement or repair of any library property that occurs during the meeting will be the responsibility of the group.
  8. The library cannot provide operators for audiovisual equipment. Staff from the library’s Information Desk may provide instruction for operation of equipment as needed, with advance notice.
  9. Room setup configurations can be selected at the time of booking. Special setup requests may be accommodated within reason and depending on availability of staff. Changes in room set-ups and equipment requirements must be submitted at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.
  10. The library will provide no storage space and assumes no responsibility for equipment or personal articles belonging to individuals using the meeting rooms.
  11. An adult must be in attendance for the duration of events held by groups whose members are under the age of 18.
  12. Library personnel must have free access to meeting rooms at all times. The library retains the right to monitor all meetings conducted on the premises to ensure compliance with the above rules.
  13. Piano
    • The piano is tuned on a regular basis. Additional tuning must be arranged and paid for by the user and tuning time booked with the library.
    • The piano may not be used for casual playing or for outdoor performances.
    • No mechanical or electrical equipment may be attached to the piano.
  14. Group Music Recitals
    Teachers residing in the Bethlehem Central School District may reserve the Community Room for no more than two group music recitals per year.  All general meeting room policies stated above will apply.  Upon room reservation, a $100 fee will be charged to help defray the cost of tuning the piano. This charge may change to reflect current pricing. One reserved, supervised rehearsal session may be booked if space is available.
  15. Film screenings
    Groups must secure public performance rights to screen films in library meeting rooms, and provide the library with proof of same. The library is not responsible for securing these rights, nor is it liable for a group’s violation of this regulation.

Infringement of any of these regulations shall be grounds for denial of future use of meeting space.

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