Neighborhood Library Meeting Room Guidelines

Neighborhood Library Meeting Room Guidelines

The meeting rooms in the Houston Public Library (HPL) Neighborhood Libraries are available at no charge for use by community groups for informational, educational or cultural meetings and programs when not needed for Library purposes. Use of the meeting room does not constitute Library or City endorsement of the viewpoints, beliefs, ideas or policies expressed by organizations or individuals using the space.

Meetings must be free and open to the general public. Library staff retains the right to attend any meetings or events scheduled at the Library to ensure  compliance of the room usage.

Eligible groups include:

  • groups or organizations affiliated with the Library or the City of Houston;
  • civic, educational, and nonprofit groups presenting meetings of public interest;
  • non-partisan events such as a public forum open to all candidates or town hall meeting held by current elected officials.

Excluded meetings include:

  • personal events such as birthday parties, baby showers, etc.;
  • meetings requiring payment for admission, a registration fee (including fees taken off-site), materials fee or required donations;
  • programs involving the sale, advertising, marketing, promotion of commercial products or services, or programs sponsored by a business firm, regardless of purpose;
  • political campaigning or political fund-raising activities.

Meeting Room Requests

  • To make a reservation, complete the Meeting Room Request form and then bring the completed request form to your Neighborhood Library. You may call the library for availability; however, the room is not considered reserved until a completed and signed form is on file in the location.
  • Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Meeting rooms are only available when the library is open to the public and all meeting rooms must be vacated at least 15 minutes before the regular closing time of the library.
  • Meeting Rooms may be reserved up to 90 days in advance with no more than six (6) applications from the same group within a 90-day period.
  • Each meeting requires a separate Meeting Room Request form.
  • The Library reserves the right to change or cancel reservations if a building or weather-related emergency occurs or a special Library program or need intervenes.
  • Groups have the right to cancel a scheduled meeting but must notify the Library as soon as they are aware of the need to cancel (preferably at least 72 hours in advance).
  • Rooms are equipped with tables and chairs, but groups are responsible for their own set-up or any additional equipment needs.

Serving Refreshments

  • Groups using the meeting rooms may provide their own light refreshments (single-serving, prepackaged snacks such as cookies, crackers, chips, etc.) and drinks in covered containers without incurring a fee.
  • Fees apply if groups wish to serve other food including, but not limited to, carry-out or delivered meals, covered dish meals, or other prepared food.
  • Food service requiring any on-site preparation is prohibited.
  • When food is served, groups must provide their own cups, napkins, plates, etc. and remove all evidence of the food at the close of the meeting.

Group Expectations

  • All groups must comply with Library Rules.
  • Adult supervision is required for any event attended by individuals under the age of 18.
  • The Library may withhold use of the meeting room from any group or organization due to violation of the rules or misuse of the Library's facilities.
  • All Fire Regulations must be followed including room capacity and clear aisles, exits, and doors. In addition, candles and other open-flame devices (lighters, matches, torches, etc.) are prohibited.

Publicity

  • A copy of all publicity must be submitted to the Library Manager or designee for approval prior to publication or distribution.
  • Publicity must include the following statements:
    • "This program is not sponsored or endorsed by the Houston Public Library."
    • "If you have a special physical or communications need that may impact your participation in this activity, please contact (name) at (phone number), (email) at least 72 hours prior to the event to discuss accommodations. We cannot ensure the availability of accommodations without prior notification of need."
  • If someone needs special accommodations, the group is responsible for providing the accommodations.