The purpose of this policy is to ensure Essex County’s residents have efficient and equitable access to the Library’s meeting room space. The meeting room may be made available to organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual or charitable activities.

Guidelines for meeting room use:

  1. Applications and reservations: Groups wishing to use the meeting room must fill out an application form prior to the meeting although reservations may be made by phone. Applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis with Library programs and events having priority over all other reservations. Previously scheduled meetings may be cancelled if a Library activity conflicts.  Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Reservations are to be made on a fiscal year basis and for no more than 12 months prior to use. Each group must resubmit their reservations in July. Groups will be limited to 24 meetings per year, with some exceptions allowed based on scheduling needs and availability
  2. Cancellations: If a group needs to cancel a reservation, they should directly notify a library staff member no later than two business days before the scheduled reservation. Because of the high demand for our community meeting space, after three no shows, any subsequent reservations for that group will be canceled and future meeting room privileges for the group will be denied for one year.
  3. Housekeeping: Groups using the meeting room are responsible for setting up tables and chairs and for cleaning up all areas they use. Light food and drinks are permitted in the meeting room, provided the group cleans up immediately after the meeting and removes trash upon departure.
  4. Prohibited activities: Direct sales or money-raising activities are not allowed. Smoking or alcohol is not permitted. The meeting room is not intended for private gatherings or functions, including family reunions, birthday parties, funerals, baby showers, etc., unless a specific exception is made by the library director.
  5. Business use: Essex County businesses may be permitted to use the meeting rooms at no charge for employee training or informational purposes. For any other purposes, for-profit businesses may be charged $20 per hour. Fees must be paid before the business uses the room.
  6. Advertising and endorsement: Any advertising items about meetings and events may not suggest or imply in any way that the library is sponsoring the event. The fact that a group is permitted to use the meeting room does not in any way constitute an endorsement of the group’s policies or beliefs.
  7. Available hours: The meeting room is available during regular Library business hours. The meeting room must be vacated no later than ten minutes before the Library closes. The Library’s hours are:
    Monday-Tuesday        10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    Friday                          1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    Saturday                      10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  8. Penalties: Groups not honoring the above guidelines shall have future requests for use of the meeting room denied. The representative individual who signed the meeting room application form is responsible for any damages to the premises or equipment incurred by the group’s members. The library reserves the right to refuse the use of the meeting room to any group whose history indicates they might be physically destructive.

Updated July 17, 2019 by the Essex Public Library Board