Meeting Room Policy
The meeting rooms of the Merrick Library are an integral part of the Library’s resources. To provide for their proper assignment and use by community organizations when they are not in use for library purposes, the Board of Trustees has adopted this set of regulations.
Types of Meetings
Priority for meeting room use will be assigned in the following manner, in accordance with the New York State Education Law, Section 414:
- For instruction in any branch of education, learning or the arts;
- For holding social, civic and recreational meetings and entertainment and for other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community; but such meetings, entertainment and uses shall be non-exclusive and shall be open to the general public;
- For polling places;
- For civic forums
Rooms are not available for:
- Personal use;
- Conducting of religious services;
- The benefit of private individuals or for commercial purposes or support.
A “community organization” is defined as one that meets at least once a year and at least 51% of whose members are residents of the Merrick Union Free School District.
The Merrick Library reserves the right to request a current membership list with the names and addresses of all members, should a question regarding the composition of a group arise.
Eligible citizens have the right to use library meeting rooms for “community meetings” which are not sponsored by a political organization.
Election law sl-104(3) defines “political organization” as any party which, in the last preceding election for governor, polled at least fifty thousand votes for its candidate for governor, or any organization affiliated with a subsidiary of a party. An organization not meeting this definition shall not be barred from using the Library’s meeting rooms for a “political meeting”.
A publicly elected official is not a “political organization” within the meaning of Education Law s414 (1) (e) even if he/she is a candidate for re-election or election to another political office.
Whether sponsored by the library as part of its programming activities or as a result of a request from an individual or an organization, a candidate for public office shall not be barred from using the Library’s meeting rooms for a community forum as the term is used in Education law s414 (1) (e), so long as the program taking place is not sponsored by a “political organization” as defined above.
Library sponsored programs will always be given preference for use of the rooms.
- Application for use of a meeting room, indicating starting and ending time of the meeting, must be made in advance on a form provided by the library. It must be returned to the Library’s Business Office for approval by the Library Director. Notice of approval or denial will be mailed to the applicant. No meeting room may be used without the express permission of the Library Director or his/her designee.
- Applicants must be 21 years of age.
- Reservations will not be taken by phone.
- All bookings will be on a first come, first served basis, subject to the Library’s right to limit usage to permit more equitable use of meeting rooms.
- Bookings may be done for a period not to exceed 6 months.
- All applicable fees must be paid in advance.
- Organizations given permission to use the Library building do so under the conditions specified by the Library Board. Such permits are not transferable and may be revoked at any time prior to the date of the event specified.
- If a group is denied the use of the meeting room by the Library director, it can appeal to the Library Board for a decision review by writing the Library Board President.
Days and Hours of Meetings
The rooms will be available as follows:
Monday through Thursday 9:30 A.M. – 9 P.M.
Friday 9:30A.M.- 6 P.M.
Saturday 9:30 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Meetings cannot be held on holidays the Library is closed.
- No admission fee may be charged for any meeting.
No collection may be taken before, during or after the meeting.
No groups can use the meeting room if a registration or tuition charge is required of those attending.
No product or service may be sold, except in the case of payment of materials required for educational or group discussion use.
- ALL MEETINGS MUST BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Organizations meeting on library premises may find that nonmembers enter their meetings. Such persons may be informed of the nature of the meeting, but may not be excluded if they wish to remain.
- Arrangements for furniture, equipment, and setup of room must be detailed on the Meeting Room Reservation Form at least one week prior to the date of the meeting. A responsible officer must sign for all equipment and must see that it is returned to the Cleaner in good condition at the end of the meeting.
- Please note the fire exits in the room. Fire laws stipulate that they cannot be blocked at any time.
- Meetings which would interfere with normal library activities and work because of noise and other factors will not be permitted. Since the library is located in a residential area, we request that persons attending the meeting be as quiet as possible, both on their arrival and departure from the building.
- The library will not provide storage for the property of any organizations which meet in the building.
- Smoking is not permitted in the meeting rooms or anywhere in the Merrick Library.
- Light refreshments (i.e. light snacks and beverages…no prepared meals) are allowed, but no alcoholic beverages may be served. If food is served at a meeting or program, it is the responsibility of the organization to make sure no food is left on tables and that the coffee pots are cleaned.
- The rooms are not available for parties or meetings of a strictly social nature
- Publicity is the responsibility of any group reserving the meeting rooms. No printed material may be distributed on Library property without permission of the Library Director. The sponsoring group must be identified on all publicity displayed or published. Neither the name nor the address of the Merrick Library may be used as the official address or headquarters of any organization. No mail or shipments of materials will be accepted for individuals or organizations. Further, the library phone number shall not be used by any groups in meeting announcements.
- The Merrick Library is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
- No tacks, nails or scotch tape are to be placed on doors, walls or furniture.
- Tipping of library employees is prohibited.
- Groups may arrange to use library audio/visual equipment such as projectors, video monitors, etc. where they are available. However, no one shall operate library equipment unless they are properly trained. This may require a member of the group to make an appointment with a library staff member prior to the meeting to receive training.
- The use of a library meeting room is a privilege and not a right. Accordingly, the Library reserves the right to deny the use of any meeting room to any group that does not comply with the above regulations.
The Group’s Responsibilities
- The group must select one individual who will see that the group has abided by the library’s meeting room policies and procedures. That person will also be the liaison with the library.
- Organizations using the meeting room are responsible for reimbursing the library for any damage that may occur to the library building or equipment. A minimum charge of $25.00 will be assessed for any special cleaning or repairs made necessary by a group.
- Report to the Merrick Library Business Office any difficulties or problems with library property or appliances.
- Neither the library nor its employees shall assume responsibility for the property of groups or organizations. At the end of each meeting, all of an organization’s property must be removed from the library.
- Organizations using the meeting rooms must notify the person in charge if someone in the group is handicapped or using a wheelchair.
- Organizations using the meeting rooms are responsible for announcing to the group the location of fire exits and the fire exit paths.
- Maximum occupancy will be posted.
- If a meeting is canceled, the Library should be notified as far in advance as possible (minimum of one week). Failure to notify the Library in a timely manner may result in loss of meeting room privileges.
- The organization agrees to hold harmless the Library and its Board of Trustees for any loss, damage, or injury by reason of any act or negligence on the part of the organization, its members, officers, agents or any person using the premises on the invitation or permission of the organization.
- Violations of these policies may result in suspension of the group’s meeting room privileges.
Revised September 18, 2007
Revised May 19, 2009