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Hennepin County Library Administrative Policies

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Section: LA4

Regulations for Reserving and Using Public Gathering Places

Policy History:

Date Approved: 02/18/2010
Next Review Date: 10/01/2012
Reviewed/Revised Date: 10/27/2011

Responsibility: Library Services
Review Cycle: Every 3 years; more frequently as needed.

The purpose of this policy is to establish specific regulations that ensure the fair and consistent application of the Hennepin County Library Board Reserving and Using Public Gathering Places Policy.

This administrative policy is reviewed every three (3) years by the Library Services Division Manager (or designee) in consultation with the Operations Division Manager (or designee) and in conjunction with the Hennepin County Library Board's review of the Reserving and Using Public Gathering Places Policy (LB 16). Upon completion of the review, this policy is revised or reaffirmed.

This policy governs the reservations and customer use of the following public gathering places.  

  • Meeting Rooms: Room capacity is 21 or more.  The space can be configured in different ways to meet the needs of different types of groups. Best suited for programs and events.
  • Conference Rooms: Room capacity is 10-20. Spaces have less flexibility than meeting rooms. Room configuration may be fixed.
  • Study Rooms:Room capacity is 4-10. Study rooms have fixed room configuration and are designed for small group conversations and study.
  • Piano Room: Room at Central Library. Created for the musical enjoyment of customers who wish to play the piano.
  • Rental Venues:  Five specific spaces at Central Library that have reservation and use fees. These spaces offer more services and available hours than any of the other reservable places.  Events management and exclusive catering services are offered by a contract vendor. 


Intended Purpose and Use Priorities:
Public gathering places are made available to the public regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Gathering places are available in libraries throughout Hennepin County in order for groups to come together to learn and exchange information and ideas.  We strive to make spaces available to groups on a fair and equitable basis.
Gathering places are not intended for commercial use.  Commercial activities are prohibited. There will be no collection of admission fees or tuition, sales of products or services or other direct fund raising activities.  Exceptions may be made for library-sponsored groups, programs, or events.
No gambling, games of chance, bingo, casinos or wagering of any kind may be a part of any program, meeting, or event.
With the exception of the rental venues, gathering places cannot be used for purely social purposes which include but are not limited to parties or events (e.g. weddings).
Meeting rooms are intended for larger groups, and therefore minimum attendance requirements may be imposed.  Meeting rooms are not intended for private use, study, tutoring, or one-on-one discussions. Individuals and small groups under the minimum required may use a meeting room if it is not reserved for that day and they agree to this use policy.
Priorities for reserving and using gathering places are given in the following order:

  1. Library sponsored and co-sponsored programs and activities.
  2. Use by Hennepin County departments and units.
  3. Programs and activities conducted by library partners.
  4. All other groups (general public); availability is on a first come first-served basis.

Reservation Requests:
Customers interested in reserving a public gathering place must complete the online Room Reserve application form and agree to these reservation and use regulations.  Supplying an e-mail address allows customers to receive confirmation of their reservations and any additional communication that may be necessary. If applicant does not have an email address, staff may mediate the process and submit the application on behalf of the customer.
The applicant (contact person) is liable for any damages to facilities and furnishings.  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to reserve meeting rooms or rental venues.  
Advance reservation requests can be submitted according to the following timetable:

  • No more than 3 months in advance for members of the general public.
  • No more than 4 months in advance for Hennepin County departments and library partners. Staff mediation will be required for requests made 3-4 months in advance.
  • No more than 2 years in advance for Library sponsored and co-sponsored programs and activities.

Reservation requests for the rental venues at Central are handled by the contract vendor; requests may be placed up to one (1) year prior to the event.
Reservation Confirmations:
Permission to use a public gathering place does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the program or point of view expressed.
A confirmation of the reservation request will be e-mailed to the applicant within four (4) business days of submission or if applicable, four (4) business days after receipt of associated fees.  
Payment for any room set-up service fees or AV use fees must be received seven (7) days prior to the reserved date. If fees are not received, customer may still use the room, but room set-up and/or AV equipment will not be provided.
Reservation confirmations for the rental venues at Central are handled by the contract vendor.
Reservation Requests Denied:
A reservation request may be denied if:

  • Application does not meet intended purpose requirements and use priorities.
  • Request is for recurring meetings. To ensure accessibility to a wide variety of groups, the Library may limit the frequency of meetings for any group to no more than once per month.
  • Customer has previously failed to use library gathering places in accordance with this policy.


Customers should notify the library as soon as possible if it is necessary to cancel a reservation.  Repeated cancellations or failure to notify the library of a cancelled meeting may result in forfeiture of future reservation privileges.

Room set-up and take down service fees and AV equipment fees will not be refunded to customer if reservation is cancelled less than 48 hours prior to the scheduled date.

Cancellations of rental venue reservations are managed by the contract vendor.

The Library reserves the right to revoke customer permission to use a space if it is needed for Library or County use.  Alternate locations will be sought as needed.

Amenities and Service Limitations:
Available services vary for each location.  The Room Reserve site details the specific hours, amenities and services that are offered for each gathering place.  An outline of the overall amenities and service limitations is described below.
HoursReservations are limited to library operating hours for most locations. After-hours reservations are available at Central Library’s five rental venues.

The Library will provide the necessary tables and chairs. Any additional furnishings (e.g. podium, kitchenette etc) vary by location.
Room set-up and take-down service: This service is available for a fee at select locations.  Fees may be waived for tax-supported organizations, the Hennepin County Library Board, the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, and Hennepin County Library Friends groups.

  • Community library meeting rooms:  Not available. Customers are responsible for meeting room set-up and take-down. 
  • Area library meeting rooms (Southdale, Ridgedale, Brookdale):  Available. Customers (including County Department staff) who wish this service choose from a list of established meeting room configurations when the reservation request is submitted.  Customized room set-ups are not available.  Fees must be received before reservation is confirmed.  If customers do not choose this service, they are responsible for room set-up and take-down. 
  • Central Library’s rental venues. Available. Basic room set up and take down services are included in the rental fee at Central Library’s five rental venues.

Wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet: Wireless Internet is available in the libraries’ public gathering places and throughout the buildings.
Audio-Visual Equipment: Availability varies by location.

  • Community libraries: Not available. Groups may bring their own audiovisual equipment. Staff are not available to provide AV equipment support.
  • Area libraries: (Southdale, Ridgedale, Brookdale): Requests for AV equipment must be submitted at least 14 days in advance of scheduled date. See the Room Reserve site for item specific availability and associated fees.  Groups may bring their own audiovisual equipment.  Staff are not available to provide AV equipment support. 
  • Central Library’s rental venues:  See the Room Reserve site for item-specific availability.  Additional equipment may be available from the contract vendor.

Catering and events management: Available only at Central Library’s rental venues where a private events management and catering firm, contracted by the Library, provides events management and exclusive catering services.
Communicating scheduled meetings:  Hennepin County Library will communicate scheduled meetings (group name, time, date, and place of meeting) in the Room Reserve calendar and may also post information at the library where the meeting is being held.  Customers may not use the name of the library in any publicity for non-library sponsored or co-sponsored meetings except to designate the meeting location. 
Customer Responsibilities and Use Regulations:
All groups shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless Hennepin County, its officers, agents, and employees from and against any and all claims, suits, actions of any kind, arising and resulting and accruing from an negligent act, omission or error of the group resulting in or relating to personal injuries or property damage arising from the group’s use of the library.
Gathering places are a part of the library—they are a part of public places that are shared by many.  Customers using public gathering places have a responsibility to:

  • Comply with all Federal, state, and local laws.
  • Follow all Hennepin County and Library policies including the Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy.
  • Comply with rulings of local municipality as to the capacity of rooms and other safety regulations.
  • Not interfere with the operation of the library and hinder its customers.

Appropriate use of gathering places requires customer common sense.  Staff will use their best judgment in determining inappropriate use and discuss with customers any activities that are unsuitable for the public gathering places.
Specific use regulations include but are not limited to the following:

Food and Beverages: Use regulations vary by type of room.

  • Meeting Rooms: Food and beverages are allowed only if they are commercially prepared. Groups are required to provide all supplies and are responsible for clean-up.  No alcoholic beverages may be served.
  • Conference Rooms and Study Rooms: Covered beverages only.
  • Piano Room: No food and beverages of any kind.
  • Rental Venues:  A private events management and catering firm, contracted by the library, provides exclusive catering services and is the sole food and beverage provider for the rental venues.  Some exceptions for small groups may be made by the catering firm. Alcoholic beverages may be served by catering firm personnel at events that are closed to the general public.

No candles or flames of any kind may be used.

No balloons of any kind may be used.

Hennepin County Library may not be used as the official address or headquarters of any organization.

The library may not be used to store equipment, material, or supplies.

Tobacco use is prohibited on all property owned by Hennepin County government. 

Consequences of Violations:

If cleaning service beyond normal vacuuming and trash removal is required, clean-up will be billed at the rate established in the Hennepin County Library Board Fee and Fine Policy.

Failure to follow this policy may result in the loss of future reservation and use privileges.

In the case of any disputes over use of meeting rooms, the Library Board will be the final authority in granting or refusing permission for use of library meeting rooms, per MN Statutes 383B.239.
Associated Policies and Laws:

  • Hennepin County. Countywide Building Use
  • Hennepin County. Tobacco Free Property Policy
  • Hennepin County Library Board. Patron Use of Library Spaces Policy
  • Minnesota Statute 609.595. Damage to Property
  • Hennepin County Library Board. Fee and Fine Policy
  • Minnesota Statute 609.72 Disorderly Conduct




Replaces the following Hennepin County Library Administrative Policies: Meeting Rooms: Regulations for Use—Public; Meeting Rooms: Regulations for Use—County Departments. Replaces Minneapolis Public Library Board Facility Use Policy (#3006).