Public Meeting Space Policy

Meeting rooms and other designated areas at some locations of the Athens County Public Libraries are available for reservation and use by organizations and individuals free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

In keeping with the library’s mission of providing free access to all, entrance fees or admission charges are prohibited, donations may not be solicited, items and/or services may not be sold (excluding meals and program materials), and no private parties may be held. As a public space, the library cannot guarantee the privacy of meetings taking place at the library, and individuals and organizations holding meetings at the library cannot restrict access to the space.

Some designated outdoor spaces may be reserved by organizations and individuals that are based or reside in Athens County and neighboring counties for civic or educational events. All events must be free and open to the public. Due to the public nature of the space, events may not extend past 9:00 p.m., may not exceed two hours in duration, and should be respectful of local community standards. Events that cause a disturbance will be shut down and the individuals or groups responsible may not be allowed to use the space in the future. Any outdoor activities must respect the safety of the audience and the condition of the physical space. The spaces must be left in the same condition they were found. Unscheduled use of outdoor spaces will be accommodated to the extent it meets the criteria above.

Meeting spaces are available for public use during normal library hours. All meetings and events must conclude 15 minutes prior to the location closing. Special arrangements can be made for meetings to begin prior to the location opening as long as regularly scheduled staff members are on site. Special arrangements can be made for meetings to continue after the library closes as long as a responsible party has arrived before closing.

Due to high demand for meeting space, library administration may limit the number of times an organization or individual may use the meeting spaces and may limit how far in advance organizations and individuals may reserve the meeting spaces. Meetings and events must conclude at the scheduled time in order to allow other groups access to the space. Library use of meeting space takes precedence over any other use and the library reserves the right to cancel use of the meeting space by an outside organization if the meeting space is needed for library purposes. Groups are responsible for arranging chairs, tables, and other equipment provided in the meeting spaces to meet their own needs. Following their use of the space, groups must return the space to its original state.

Individuals reserving the meeting space must be at least 18 years of age. The person making the reservation is responsible for ensuring that no alcoholic beverages are allowed on the premises and no smoking is permitted. All meetings or events must have at least one person in attendance who is at least 18 years of age and who will be responsible for the group and use of the meeting space. For safety reasons the stated capacity for each space must not be exceeded. Meetings held in any meeting space must not disturb normal library operations. The library reserves the right to stop meetings that are disruptive to normal library operations. Library meeting spaces may not be used for any activities prohibited by law.

The following disclaimer is to be posted within the meeting space and must also be included on any public advertisement of the meeting:

“Athens County Public Libraries do not advocate or endorse the policies or purposes of any group or individual using library meeting spaces. The library is not liable for injury to person or property arising out of use of the meeting space by an outside group or individual.”

The Library reserves the right to reject any application if it is determined that the organization has abused its past privileges in any way as determined by library administration, including but not limited to: violation of any of the preceding policy and procedures, disruptive behavior, vandalism, theft, failure to exit the building on time, and failure to appear for a scheduled meeting. The acceptance of Library policy and procedures (electronically or in person) assigns responsibility for loss or damages to the space and loss or damage to any library property or equipment used during the meeting to the person submitting the application. The library reserves the right to prohibit any person, group or organization from using the library meeting space.

Adopted March 19, 2019