Palo Alto City Library Community Room Policy

The Palo Alto City Library’s mission is to enrich lives and engage the community with knowledge, information, and enjoyment. The Library has a community room available for public use by organizations for educational, cultural, intellectual, civic, or charitable activities.

Organizations that are eligible to reserve the room are as follows, listed in priority order:

  • City Library programs and meetings.
  • City Library related groups (e.g. Friends of the Library or Library Foundation)
  • Other City of Palo Alto departments.
  • Other governmental and civic entities directly serving Palo Alto residents.
  • Public, private, and not-for-profit educational, cultural, intellectual, civic, or charitable organizations.
  • Other groups not described above and not excluded as provided in this policy

Event Guidelines:

  • Events shall be open to the general public and free to attend. City meetings such
    as staff meetings and trainings need not be open to the public.
  • Organizational dues or nominal amounts to cover the cost of refreshments may be collected. Library-sponsored or co-sponsored events for organizations whose purpose is to provide financial support to the library (for example, Friends of the Library or Library Foundation) may have collections during library fundraising events, including book sales, lectures and similar occasions.
  • The community rooms are not intended for private events or social uses such as parties and play groups.
  • Commercial uses and advertising, admission fees, donations, raffles, collections, fees, or other sales are prohibited except as provided in this policy, including use by any organization making sales or solicitations for any type of product or service, including non-profit or community groups and for-profit or private business organizations.
  • The individual assuming responsibility for the community room must be 21 years or older and have a Palo Alto City Library card in good standing.
  • Use of the community room must take place during Library business hours. Events should end at least 30 minutes prior to the Library’s closing time, with sufficient time to ensure that the room is cleaned and restored to the condition in which it was found 15 minutes prior to Library closing time.
  • Insurance is required to use the community room. A certificate of general liability insurance that names the City of Palo Alto as an additional insured in the amount of one million dollars is due 30 days prior to event. For your convenience, insurance can be purchased through the City of Palo Alto.
  • Groups using the community room should help Palo Alto reach its Zero Waste goal by eliminating waste wherever possible, recycling, and reuse.

Fees & Reservations:

  • Reservations for the room may be made up to one year in advance.
  • The room must be reserved at least one week in advance of the meeting, provided the room is available.
  • Fees are non-refundable and payable one week in advance:
    • El Camino Real Room (Downtown Library, 60 person max.):
      • Resident: $34 per hour
      • Non-resident: $51 per hour
  • Confirmation of rental must be received 72 hours after initial request. If no confirmation is received, the room may be reserved by another user.
  • If clean-up by the group is not satisfactory or requires library staff to stay past normal hours of operation, the individual/community group will be charged for any labor and expenses incurred by the library for staff overtime or to restore the community room to its original condition.
  • Non-city affiliated groups are limited to two meetings each month.Reservations can be made in person, e-mailing librarycommunityrooms@cityofpaloalto.org, or by calling (650) 329-2516. An application form must be submitted and, as needed, Palo Alto residency and/or non-profit verification will be required. No reservation is confirmed until the application has been approved. Approval is dependent upon intended use, availability, and agreement to abide by guidelines.
  • The individual reserving the community room is responsible for the proper use of the room. Responsibility and use of the room is not transferable to another individual, organization, or alternate date.
  • Charges for Library and City meetings, and events co-sponsored by the Library or serving as a Library fundraiser may be waived, as determined by the Library Director.
  • Applications may be denied based on availability, frequency of requests for use, or other reasons that conflict with this policy and the purpose and priorities of the Community Room.
  • The Library reserves the right to modify or cancel reservations with reasonable notice based on the operational needs of the Library and eligibility priorities outlined in this policy.
  • The Library reserves the right to attend any meetings held in the Community Room to ensure compliance with this policy.

General Information and Rules for Room Use:

  • Events must comply with all Library policies and should not interfere with Library operations. The library must maintain a safe and reasonably quiet environment; any public use of meeting rooms that, in the judgment of Library staff, interferes with Library operations will be required to immediately cease and may result in loss of privileges to use the room on future occasions.
  • The Library’s contact information cannot be used as an official address for any organization using the community room.
  • Any publicity made by the group for the meeting should include the following disclaimer: “This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the City of Palo Alto. The City is not responsible for information provided at or about events held in Library meeting rooms. This requirement shall not apply to use by the City or for Library affiliated groups in which the event is in fact cosponsored by the City).
  • Groups are responsible for the set-up and clean-up of the community room within the timeframe of their reservation. The room should be returned to the original condition it was made available. Groups shall be financially responsible for any damage to the room, furnishings or equipment; causing damage or failing to accept responsibility may result in loss of privileges to use the room on future occasions.
  • Decorations and presentation materials cannot be posted on walls.
  • The community room is equipped with video-broadcasting projection systems. Groups must request equipment needs at time of reservation. Staff will have equipment set up and will instruct the group on how to use; however staff will not operate the equipment during the program and no broadcast capability is implied. For broadcast assistance, user may contact the Media Center and all associated costs are at the user’s expense.
  • Light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted in the community room, if it is specified at the time a reservation is made.
  • The Library is not responsible for the loss or damage to individual or group property before, during, or after an event. The Library cannot store or oversee equipment and supplies for any group using the community room.
  • Failure to comply with the Library’s policies may result in loss of community room privileges. Loss or damage to Library property will result in assessed charges.
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