| NH Law states in RSA "202-A:11 Powers and Duties. – Except in those cities where other provision has been made by general or special act of the legislature, the library trustees of every public library in the state shall:
I. Adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for its own transaction of business and for the government of the library; ..."
The first responsibility of a board of Library Trustees is to adopt their own bylaws and to set the rules - usually stated as POLICIES - for the operation of the local Public Library. To assist in this process, the NH State Library provides the following materials for those setting policy for the use of their library meeting room(s).
The American Library Association: Meeting Rooms
The American Library Association Interpretation of the "Library Bill or Rights" with regard to Library Meeting Rooms.
The Mid-Hudson Library System in New York State suggests that those drafting Meeting Room policies consider these questions
- Why does the library have a meeting room?
- What is the primary purpose of the meeting room?
- How does the use of the meeting room support the library's mission?
- What events or programs may occur in the meeting room?
- What events or programs are prohibited, if any?
- Who may reserve the meeting room? Adults only? Young adults? Children?
- Is there a fee for the use of the meeting room? If yes, at what point must the fee be paid?
- Under what circumstances is the fee waived? If a meeting is cancelled would the fee be refunded? If yes, under what circumstances?
- May the meeting room be used when the library is closed? If yes, is there an additional fee to cover the cost of staff who must stay until the event is over?
- May the individual or group using the room charge a fee for people to attend the program they are offering in the library's meeting room? If so, may fees be collected on the library's premises?
- Will the individual or group that is renting the meeting room be expected to sign an agreement that states the terms and conditions of the usage of the room?
- How far in advance may a meeting room be reserved? Do library events take precedent?
- May the group renting your meeting room use the library's AV equipment? Is there a fee? Are staff required to set up the equipment?
- Who is responsible for meeting room set up and clean up?
- May food and beverages be consumed in the meeting room?
- May alcohol be consumed in the library's meeting room?
They also offer several sample policies
LibraryLaw.com lists a number of court cases and news reports about library meeting room use.
Sample Policies Disclaimer
All sample policies included here are provided as examples, with no assurances that their individual contents are still current, or have passed any legal review, or would apply in any other individual situation. Some policies also incorporate procedures and/or forms.
Sample Policies from New Hampshire:
Sample Policies from other states: