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Meeting Room Use Rules

Large group seated in Lecture Room with person presenting at front

The mission of the Bellingham Public Library is to connect our community with each other and the world to read, learn, meet and discover. We follow best practices and standard procedures to provide safe, welcoming meeting rooms for library programs and other eligible uses.

The requirements below apply to all eligible uses by community groups, per library Use of Meeting Rooms Policy.

Overall responsibilities

  • All meeting room users must follow library Use of Meeting Rooms Policy, Meeting Room Use Rules, Rules of Conduct, and other applicable library policies, city policies and state law.
  • Failure to comply with these requirements and with staff requests while administering them may lead to termination of the meeting, loss of future meeting room use privileges, and potentially other consequences depending on the situation. Please see the Rules of Conduct for more detail.
  • The person who registers for meeting room use (“User”) is responsible for the actions of their guests and is responsible for ensuring compliance with all applicable rules, policies and other requirements and any damage to library property during meeting room use.
  • Users are responsible for operating electronic equipment provided in the meeting room and ensuring their devices are compatible with library equipment. Library staff are not available to set up, troubleshoot, provide or operate library or user equipment. Instructions for equipment use are available.
  • The library is not responsible for loss of or damage to materials or equipment owned by the registered user, or other organizations or individuals while using library meeting rooms.

Availability, reservations and registration

  • The Library and Bellingham city government have priority for meeting room use in library facilities. The library may cancel reserved facilities for library or city needs with reasonable notice to the reserving party. Severe weather, emergency closures or other unforeseen conflicts may require cancellation of room reservations with little notice.
  • Meeting rooms for public use are available during regular library open hours only.
  • Use of library meeting rooms is limited to non-commercial informational, cultural or civic meetings and programs. Library meeting rooms are not available for commercial and personal or private uses.

Definitions (from policy):

Non-commercial use: Library meeting rooms are available for non-commercial use only. Non-commercial use is defined as uses by not-for-profit groups receiving no commercial benefit by using a library meeting room, including non-profit and governmental organizations. Meetings or programs must not require payment to enter, but passive solicitation of paid memberships or donations is acceptable. Meetings or programs may or may not be open to the public.
Commercial use: Library meeting rooms are not available for commercial use. Commercial use is defined as meeting room use by groups or individuals that receive a commercial benefit. This includes selling products or services, active solicitation of donations, fundraising activities, charging admission fees, offering money-making activities, holding sales, training or staff meetings for a for-profit organization, or promoting a commercial business.
Private events: Library meeting rooms are not available for personal or private use such as groups or individuals gathering for private or personal purposes, such as birthday parties, weddings, memorial services, baby showers and similar events.

  • Non-commercial meeting room use is allowed free-of-charge after registering, agreeing to room use expectations and library approval.
  • Use is limited to once per month per group, and can be reserved up to 90 days in advance.
  • Each use is limited to no more than four hours, including set up and clean up.
  • Reservations must be requested at least three business days in advance of requested date of use. Weekends, library holidays and days of scheduled or emergency library closures are not considered business days for purposes of library meeting room reservations and use.
  • Reservations are not final until notice is provided by the library that a reservation request has been confirmed.
  • Prior use of meeting rooms does not entitle or guarantee future use.
  • Users are required to register and agree to Use of Meeting Rooms Policy, Meeting Room Use Rules, Rules of Conduct and other requirements prior to approval of request and use of meeting room.
  • The person who registers must be age 18 or older, and at least one adult age 18 or older must be present when youth groups use the meeting rooms.
  • Individuals or groups providing false or misleading information to reserve meeting rooms will be considered in violation of library Rules of Conduct.
  • Out of courtesy to the library and other users, users who find they must cancel a reservation should notify the library as soon as possible using contact information provided.
  • The Bellingham Public Library Director establishes processes for approving, scheduling, security, user access and other meeting room use needs, per Use of Meeting Rooms Policy. Denial or modification of a request for meeting room use may be appealed in writing to the Director, whose decision is final.

Access, equipment and use

  • Meeting rooms are kept locked when not in use. Room access will be provided by staff when the registered user checks in at the public services desk in the library where the reserved room is located.
  • Users are responsible for room set-up and take-down within the time of their reservation. Set-up and take-down must be completed during library open hours. Access will not be provided prior to the library opening or after library closing time. Library staff are not available to assist with set-up and take-down.
  • Meeting rooms must be vacated 15 minutes prior to library closing time. Failure to comply is considered a violation of library Rules of Conduct and may result in loss of meeting room use privileges or other consequences.
  • Rooms must be cleaned up and returned to their original configuration at the end of the reservation.
  • Users shall arrange for and provide for their own special equipment needs and supplies. While food and beverages are permitted in meeting rooms, users must supply their own equipment for preparing it (including coffee makers). Library staff are not available to provide supplies or special equipment.
  • Library staff may enter any meeting room at any time during meeting room use.
  • The group is responsible for ensuring that attendance at its meeting does not exceed the maximum occupancy for the meeting room as set by the Bellingham Fire Marshal.
  • Alcohol, smoking, vaping, candles and use of open flames prohibited.
  • Meeting room use must not disrupt library use by patrons or interfere with staff operations.
  • Users may not post signs or other materials in the library without prior approval from the library.
  • Users are responsible for communicating event details to their presenters and attendees. Library staff are not available to provide meeting room or event support, publicity or coordination.
  • Any publicity of a meeting or event being held in a library meeting room must identify the sponsoring organization and must state “This program is not sponsored or endorsed by the Bellingham Public Library.

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