Meeting Rooms Policy

The Forbes Library offers two meeting rooms, the Watson Room and the Friend of Forbes Community Room. This policy has been formulated to ensure that Northampton residents have the greatest possible access to educational and cultural opportunities. The Library meeting rooms are primarily for the use of the library, library related organizations, and library sponsored programs. When not required for the use of the library or library related organizations, they may be used by other groups.

The Bak Study Room on the second floor is for small group use.

The Library encourages events that are open to the public free of charge. Meeting rooms are made available as a public service and booking a room in no way constitutes an endorsement of the program or philosophy of the group or the individuals using the facilities. The Trustees of Forbes Library reaffirm the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights which states that facilities should be made available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliation of individuals or groups requesting their use.

The Forbes Library charges some groups and individuals for the use of its facilities. Room rentals are paid to the Forbes Library and funds are deposited into the Library’s Programming Fund. Staff and officers of the Friends of the Forbes Library may use the rooms for Library sponsored events without charge. There is also no fee for library agencies such as WMRLS and MBLC.

Descriptions of the Rooms

The Watson Room is located on the Mezzanine level. It measures approximately 18′ x 10′ and contains one 6′ x 4′ conference table. The table seats eight. With extra chairs, the room itself can accommodate 12 to 15 people. The Friends of Forbes Community Room is located on the Basement level. It measures approximately 22′ x 31′. Up to 8 conference tables and 50 chairs are available to furnish the room.

Eligible Organizations (in priority order):

  • Library Programs
  • Library Related Groups, such as Friends of Forbes Library
  • Civic, School and nonprofit groups presenting meetings of public interest
  • Other groups not included above, and not specifically excluded in the Forbes Library Meeting Room Policy

Reservations

Reservations may be made in person, via email, or over the telephone with the Director, Assistant Director or Circulation Supervisor. A completed application and payment of the fee, if applicable, confirms the reservation. The signer of the agreement will be held responsible for any damages to the facilities. Clean up charges will be assessed in cases of unusual wear and tear on the room.

A non-Forbes Library sponsored group may use one meeting room no more than twice per month. Space may be reserved up to 1 month in advance for prime time (Mon and Wed after 6 p.m.) and up to 3 months in advance at other times, on a space available basis. Library staff may reserve rooms for library events up to 24 months in advance. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Cancellation of a reservation must be reported 5 days (of Library operation) in advance. Refunds of half of the paid rent will be refunded with the previously mentioned five day notice. Failure to cancel or to appear for a reservation will result in forfeiture of room use privileges. The Library reserves the right to refuse service to patrons with an outstanding Library bill over $75.00.

Questions about this policy should be directed in writing to the Assistant Director. The Assistant Director will interpret the room use policy.

Library audiovisual equipment may be reserved for a small fee on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance. Equipment fees are non-refundable. Current equipment includes TV, VCR, DVD, laptop, microphone, LCD projector,

Special Conditions for Use of the Watson Room

  1. Groups sponsoring events are responsible for liability of the participants, both active participants and the audience, in any program on Library property.
  2. The Library will refuse space to individuals or organizations, which have previously failed to comply with stated conditions for use. This includes (but is not limited to) failure to allow staff to follow normal lock-up procedures, excessive noise which causes complaints from other Library users, or failure to make a reasonable effort to clean up after serving refreshments.
  3. No food or beverage other than water is allowed in the room.
  4. All meetings must be scheduled and held during library open hours and the room must be cleared one half hour before library closing time.

Special Conditions for Use of the Friends of Forbes Community Room

  1. When reserving a room, specify the number of chairs needed and other equipment needed. The Library will provide chairs and tables assigned to each room and other equipment, as available. The event sponsor must set up equipment and chairs. After the event, the room must be returned to the condition in which it was found. Furniture from other rooms in the Library may NOT be used.
  2. All events, including clean up, must conclude one half hour before the library’s closing time. Groups meeting AFTER HOURS must pay $50/hour to a qualified staff person in addition to any room rental fee.
  3. Sponsors of events serving beverages and refreshments are responsible for all clean up and other food arrangements. The Library does not provide flatware or serving dishes. Should cleaning be required after an event, the event sponsor will be charged the actual cost of the cleaning.
  4. Groups sponsoring events are responsible for liability of the participants, both active participants and the audience, in any program on Library property.
  5. The Library will refuse space to individuals or organizations which have previously failed to comply with stated conditions for use. This includes (but is not limited to) failure to allow staff to follow normal lock-up procedures, excessive noise which causes complaints from other Library users, or failure to make a reasonable effort to clean up after serving refreshments.

Meeting Room Use by Political Groups

The Forbes Library building and property are publicly owned by the City of Northampton and subject to restrictions set forth by the State of Massachusetts on the use of public buildings for political use.

The Forbes Library is committed to providing varied programming to our patrons and to respect and make available all viewpoints. The Assistant Director is in charge of programming and reserving spaces. The Library Director and Board of Trustees reserve the right to cancel an event if this policy is violated.

A political party or political group may use space at Forbes library for a program provided that

  • The event features a guest speaker on a theme or topic and is not a campaign rally
  • The event is open to the public
  • An admission fee is not charged
  • It is held during open hours and staff are available and present
  • No fundraising or collecting of money can take place in the building or on the property
  • No distribution of campaign or party/group related buttons, flyers, posters, etc. in the building or on the property
  • The event must be advertised as “Presented by group x” and “held at Forbes Library.” Forbes Library must not be listed as a host or sponsor on any flyers or advertising.

Snow Days—Bad Weather Guidelines

Library activities and services will be open as usual unless specific announcements are made to the contrary. Such announcements will be made on the library website, www.forbeslibrary.org, the library’s voice mail message, 413-587-1011, via radio station WHMP Northampton 1400 AM, TV Stations WWLP Channel 22, and WGGB Channel 40. Signs will be posted at the Library entrances if the Library closes after it has opened.

Rescheduling events: The Library Office staff will attempt to contact sponsoring organizations if the Library closes, forcing cancellation of a program. An attempt will be made to reschedule, based on space available. Organizations are allowed to reserve “snow dates” if they wish. However, it is the group’s responsibility to ascertain that the Library has not opened for the day by checking the above mentioned sources.

Approved by Board of Trustees 5/22/2006. Updated 4/21/2011.