Somerville Public Library Meeting Room Policy

Somerville Public Library Meeting Room Policy

Purpose

The Board of Library Trustees allows the use of the Auditorium and Conference Room in the Main Library for civic, educational, philanthropic, and recreational purposes having a substantial nexus to the Somerville community. In allocating the use of Library Auditorium and Conference Room, the Board of Trustees and library staff shall not discriminate on the basis of the political or religious beliefs of applicant groups, or on any other constitutionally or statutorily prohibited basis.

Somerville Public Library, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations that include the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to, or in the administration of, its programs, services, and activities for the public. The Auditorium in the Main Library is wheelchair accessible. In accordance with these laws, the Somerville Public Library will make reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental limitations of people with disabilities in order to provide an equal opportunity to enjoy and participate in the Library’s programs, services, and activities available to the public. The Library will not retaliate against any individual who has complained or opposed a violation of the ADA Section 504. Individuals who need auxiliary aids for effective communication of any other reasonable accommodation are invited to make their needs known to Library personnel.

The Library is responsible for providing a safe, peaceful, and respectful environment in which to read and study. No use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room will be allowed that is likely to disturb library patrons in their customary use of library facilities, impede library staff in the performance of their duties, or endanger the library building or collection. Use of the Library Auditorium for library purposes shall take precedence over all other uses.

The Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall not be used for entrepreneurial or commercial purposes, for the solicitation of business, for profit or for fundraising unless proceeds are to benefit the Somerville Public Library. No goods or services shall be promoted, sold, or exchanged upon the premises or by sample, pictures, or descriptions without prior approval by the Library Director.

With permission of the Library Director, profit-making organizations may use the Library Auditorium or Conference Room for a $250 fee, check payable to the Somerville Public Library.

Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Board of Library Trustees as it deems in the best interest of the Library and the community.

Requirements for Room Reservations

All groups using the Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall complete, submit and, at the request of the library staff, update the online application form. The individual who submits the application form assumes responsibility for any personal injury or property damage resulting from their use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room and will be responsible for payment of any claims resulting therefrom.

No group may reserve or use the Library Auditorium or Conference Room unless it complies in all respects with the provisions of this policy and submits, in fully executed form, the application and indemnification agreement called for in this policy, and any insurance certificate requested pursuant hereto.

Any false, misleading or incomplete statement on the application form shall be grounds to forbid the use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room by the applicant group.

Permission to use the Library Auditorium or Conference Room is not transferable to another organization.

The Board of Library Trustees and the library staff reserve the right to reject a reservation request if the anticipated meeting is likely to be unreasonably disruptive to regular library functions, too large for the applicable room capacity, disorderly, dangerous to persons or property, or in any other way inconsistent with or in contravention of any of the terms and conditions of this policy. In determining whether such a likelihood exists, the Board of Library Trustees and/or the library staff may take into consideration the contents of the application form, the history of the group’s Library Auditorium or Conference Room use in the Library, the history of the group’s use of meeting facilities elsewhere, and such other information as they may deem appropriate.

The Board of Library Trustees reserves the right to determine, in its reasonable discretion, whether any proposed use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room will require a police detail or other extraordinary police protection, and if so the anticipated cost thereof. In making this determination, the Board of Library Trustees may take into consideration the contents of the application form, the history of the group’s Library Auditorium or Conference Room use in the Library, the history of the group’s use of meeting facilities elsewhere, and such other information as such Board may deem appropriate, and may consult with the Chief of Police or his/her designee. If the Board of Library Trustees determines that such police protection will be reasonably necessary, the group seeking to reserve the use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall be required, as a condition of such reservation, to pay to the Board of Library Trustees by such date in advance of the meeting as the Board of Library Trustees reasonably sets, the anticipated cost of such police protection, and such sum shall be applied thereto, with any surplus being returned to the group after the meeting. The group shall be liable to the Board of Library Trustees and/or the City of Somerville for any deficiency.

Reservations may be made up to one year in advance for up to four (4) meetings annually. Reservations shall be accepted, subject to the provisions of this policy, in the order received.

Minors may not reserve the Library Auditorium or Conference Room, nor may they serve as sponsors.

Rules for Use

All meetings shall be open and free of charge to the public. No person shall be excluded from attendance except in order to comply with the occupancy limit applicable to the Library Auditorium or Conference Room.

The occupancy limit in the Auditorium in the Main Library is seventy-five (75) persons. And the occupancy limit in the Conference Room is twenty-five (25) persons.

Groups shall, at their own expense, procure any license or permit necessary for the conduct of their meetings.

Groups using the Library Auditorium or Conference Room may arrange the available tables and chairs as they choose, provided that all pieces of furniture are returned to their original positions at the close of the meeting. Because the Library is unable to set up and break down rooms, groups requiring this service should ask at the Reference Desk for alternate sites in the Somerville area.

Materials may not be attached to walls.

The Library is not responsible for equipment, supplies, materials or other items owned by a group and used by them at the Library. No storage is provided.

Use of the telephone or relaying of telephone messages is not provided by the Library.

Smoking and controlled substances are prohibited. Light refreshments, including non-staining non-alcoholic beverages, are permitted, provided the group cleans up. No food is to be left on the premises. A small kitchenette is adjacent to the Library Auditorium and may be used by groups using the Library Auditorium, provided that the area is completely cleaned by the group after the meeting.

Each group using the Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall be responsible to ensure that it is returned to the same condition after the meeting as it was prior to the meeting. Failure to restore the Library Auditorium or Conference Room to such prior condition shall render the group liable to the Board of Library Trustees for the cost of repair and cleanup and may result in forfeiture of future bookings.

Under no circumstances may use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room interfere with the use of the Library by other patrons, the work of the library staff or any other aspect of normal library operation. Meeting activities must be confined to the Library Auditorium or Conference Room. Approaching library users for the purpose of encouraging participation in the group’s activities is prohibited.

All persons attending a meeting in the Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall comply with all requests by library staff and, if applicable, the Somerville Police Department. Individuals who fail to comply will be required to leave the library building. Groups who fail to comply, or whose leaders fail to comply, will be prohibited from using the Library Auditorium or Conference Room.

Indemnification and Insurance

All groups using the Library Auditorium or Conference Room shall execute and deliver a written undertaking in a form to be prescribed by the Board of Library Trustees by which such groups shall agree to hold the Board of Library Trustees, and the City of Somerville, and all library staff, harmless from and to indemnify them against all costs, damages, losses, claims, and expenses incurred, directly or indirectly, as a result of such group’s use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room. Such costs, damages, losses, claims, and expenses shall include, without limitation, any damage to the Library Auditorium or Conference Room or any other part of the library building, grounds or collection; the cost of employee overtime, if occasioned by the use of the Library Auditorium; the cost of police protection, if deemed necessary by the Board of Library Trustees; and any claim asserted by any third person against the Board of Library Trustees, the City of Somerville, and/or any library staff on account of any alleged injury causally related to the meeting, together with defense costs including reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The said written undertaking shall also constitute a release by the group and each and all of its members of any claim against the Board of Library Trustees, the City of Somerville and the library staff for any injury to persons or damage to property suffered by such group or any of its members during or as a result of the use of the Library Auditorium or Conference Room, except insofar as such injury or damage is directly and solely caused by the negligence or intentional misconduct of any person belonging to or acting on behalf of the Board of Library Trustees, the City government of the City of Somerville or the library staff.

The Board of Library Trustees reserves the right to require any applicant group to supply a certificate of insurance, from an insurer licensed to do business in Massachusetts, in such amount and in such form as the Board of Library Trustees may reasonably deem appropriate, such amount not to exceed $1 million, naming the Board of Library Trustees as an additional insured, and covering damage to the library building, grounds and collection and injury to persons occasioned by the meeting. Such certificate shall evidence that the insurance it represents is not cancelable except on at least ten (10) days’ written notice to the Board of Library Trustees. In the event of such cancellation, the meeting reservation shall be canceled unless the group forthwith substitutes a new insurance certificate meeting the aforesaid requirements.

Publicity

In allowing a group to use the Library Auditorium or Conference Room, the Board of Library Trustees and library staff do not imply any endorsement of the group’s beliefs, policies or program. No group shall in any of its publicity state or suggest that the Somerville Public Library, the Board of Library Trustees, the City of Somerville or the library staff sponsors or endorses the meeting, the group or any
particular set of ideas.

Any publicity for the event must include the following statement: “This event is free and open to the public.”

Groups may identify the Library and provide its address in their publicity for the meeting, but may not give out the Library’s telephone number or invite potential attendees to contact the Library.

To aid with publicity, the event will be posted in the Library’s online events calendar.

Parking

There is limited on-street parking and limited parking at the adjacent lot, both subject to posted limits. Parking spaces are more available during after-school hours.

Hours and Fees

There is no charge for Library Auditorium or Conference Room use during the Library’s regular hours of operation, unless it is booked by a profit-making organization. The Library Auditorium is available only during regular library hours. All programs must end 15 minutes prior to closing.

The Library Auditorium will not be available when the library building is closed due to emergency conditions or inclement weather. The library is not responsible for costs incurred if a meeting is canceled due to circumstances beyond the Library’s control.

With permission of the Library Director, profit-making organizations may use the Library Auditorium or Conference Room for a $250 fee, check payable to the Somerville Public Library, which must accompany the completed reservation form.

Cancellation

Cancellation of Library Auditorium or Conference Room reservations is required 24 hours
in advance. Failure to notify library staff of cancellation may result in denial of future request and
forfeiture of any fees.