Meeting Room Policy
Policy for Use of Library Meeting Rooms
Policy Statement: The library maintains meeting room facilities to further the library’s mission by facilitating the exchange of information and ideas. When not in use by the library, rooms are made available to governmental agencies and to local organizations of a civic, educational, or cultural nature for meetings and informational presentations of interest to the general public. The Library charges no fee for this service
Library meeting rooms will be available to groups on equal terms regardless of the beliefs or affiliation of those requesting their use. The Library does not necessarily endorse or accept the purpose, views, or policies of groups using Library facilities.
The library’s Meeting Rooms are intended for, in priority order:
- activities and programs of the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library
- activities of the non-profit organizations that support the library, such as the Friends of the Library, Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, Tampa Bay Library Consortium, etc.
- activities related to the operation of city, county or state government agencies
- activities of verified Florida 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that primarily serve the Pinellas Park area
- activities of informal or ad hoc community groups composed primarily of people residing in the Pinellas Park area
- activities of other non-profit organizations or informal groups
All meeting room users and their guests must adhere to the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct and other applicable library policies. Repeated failure to comply with any library policies, misuse of the rooms, or misrepresentation of intended use of rooms may result in termination of room reservation privileges for organizational or group users and possible legal action against individuals.
Open Access: All groups meeting in the library must offer free and open access to anyone* who wishes to attend the meeting. Groups are responsible for providing sign language interpreters or for making other accommodations to comply with the American Disabilities Act if appropriately requested before the event.
Admission fees or requests for any type of donations are not permissible if they impede the ability of anyone to gain entry to the event or to participate equally in the event.
*Groups may require that minors and other dependents be accompanied by an adult.
The Library is responsible for providing a safe, peaceful, and respectful environment in which all users can enjoy library services. While the Library will at all times protect the First Amendment rights of all persons as provided in the United States Constitution, restraint must be used to insure that normal Library uses are not disrupted. The Library reserves the right to refuse use of space 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 is in any other way inconsistent with the terms and conditions of this policy, the Patron Code of Conduct, or other relevant Library policies. Existing reservations may be revoked if such conditions develop.
The library also reserves the right to reject an organization’s application if the intended use is to host a public workshop, information session or other activity for which the organization has no established expertise or training; or if the intended use duplicates a service or program already offered by the library.
Specifically Prohibited Activities
- Parties, receptions, or other social or family functions
- Fundraising or ticketed activities
- Activities involving physical exercise or athletics
- Performance activities that trigger insurance and liability concerns
- Activities intended for business solicitation, sales leads, or other commercial, for-profit, or revenue-generating purposes
- Worship services, partisan rallies, or other ceremonial activities and rituals that are based on participants’ shared religious, political or social beliefs
- Activities involving the participation of minors or other dependents must not have fewer than two adults age 21 or older present at all times. When more than thirty (30) minors or dependents are present, the ratio of adults to minors must not fall below 1 adult for every additional ten (10) minors.
Reservations: Rooms may be scheduled up to 6 months in advance. Groups are limited to 1 reservation of a maximum 3-hour period per month. Reservations may be taken over the phone or through e-mail. Completion and approval of the Meeting Room Application is required.
For those groups that would like to request use of a meeting room more than once in a month, additional meeting dates may be approved, pending availability, only within a 4-day window of the desired date; this intentional short-term window ensures that other potential users have reasonable opportunity for access while still supporting maximum overall usage.
If a group’s contact person changes, the Meeting Room Application must be amended before the group’s next meeting.
Room Options and Capacities
- 12 Person Room measures 10 x 18 feet with central table.
- 50-Person Room measures 23 x 45 feet and accommodates six 5-foot tables with approximately 50 guests. Without tables, maximum capacity is 80.
- 100 Person Room measures 45 x 48 feet and accommodates up to twelve 5-foot tables with approximately 100 guests. Without tables, maximum capacity is 160.
The library reserves the right to make and adjust room assignments based on anticipated, actual, or historical attendance patterns. The library also reserves the right to revoke or reject reservations for organizations whose meetings repeatedly fail to draw any attendance, so as to allow fair opportunity for others’ access.
- Schedule of Room Availability: Library’s scheduled hours of operation – Evening users must clean, reset and vacate rooms before 10 minutes of closing time.
- Duration of Meetings Permitted: In an effort to provide fair and equitable access to all potential users, requests for rooms to exceed a 3 hour period or that require multiple rooms may be refused.
Room Amenities Available
- A Projector and Projection Screen may be requested in advance.
- Use of the Library’s AV system and microphones may be requested.
- Laptops or other computing devices are not available.
Cancellations: Groups are required to notify the library of cancellations so that others can have reasonable opportunity to access the space instead. Groups that fail to use a room on 2 consecutive occasions without prior notification to the library or that cancel/reschedule 5 or more dates in a rolling 12-month period may forfeit all currently scheduled reservations and may be declined for future reservations.
Library Pre-Emption: The Library retains the right to pre-empt any meeting when necessary. Every effort will be made to give maximum notice to groups when scheduled use must be interrupted, although emergencies may result in late notice.
Marketing Materials and Publicity
Organizations or groups that create publicity or otherwise promote the events they have scheduled at the library must not imply sponsorship or endorsement by the Library or the City of Pinellas Park.
- The following disclaimer statement should be included on all flyers, social media posts and other publicity material: “The City of Pinellas Park and the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library are neither endorsing or sponsoring this event nor approving or endorsing the views of the organization sponsoring this activity.”
No organization or group may identify the Library as their headquarters or use the library as a mailing address.
The Library reserves the right to promote events that may be of interest to the community, but is not obligated to do so or to otherwise provide publicity or other marketing efforts on behalf of any user.
- Set-Up & Clean-Up: Room users must perform their own room set-up and return the room to its original condition and configuration. A floor sweeper and wipes for work surfaces are available from library staff if needed.
- Refreshments: Small quantities of dry snacks in sealable containers and non-alcoholic beverages with lids or screw caps are always permissible. Buffets and full hot meal services are not allowed. Other food requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
- Storage: The Library cannot provide storage.
- Signage: Signs, charts or decorations may not be attached to walls; signage desired elsewhere in the library or on exterior grounds must be approved before placement.
- Consumable Supplies: Groups are expected to provide their own supplies.
- Library staff will provide a housekeeping checklist which should be returned to staff upon vacating the room.
Waiver of Liability: All persons using any of these rooms shall be deemed to have released the City of Pinellas Park, its officials and employees from any and all damages arising out of, or resulting from, their use thereof, and further shall be deemed to have agreed to indemnify and save harmless the City of Pinellas Park, its officials and employees of and from all damages and claims, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising out of or resulting from their use thereof.
Per Florida Law (Statute 119), many Library records are subject to State public records rules.