Meeting Room Policy

It is the policy of the Oakland Public Library to allow the use of its meeting rooms by groups and organizations when these facilities are not needed for activities sponsored in whole or in part by the Library. A group is defined as 6 or more people. No group will be permitted use of the rooms if that usage would be disruptive of the programs and activities of the Library. Permission to use the rooms does not imply Library endorsement of the goals, policies or activities of any group of organization. The library reserves the right to revoke permission previously granted if deemed appropriate.

The mission of the Oakland Public Library is to inform, inspire, and delight our diverse community as a resource for information, knowledge, and artistic and literary expression, providing the best in traditional services, new technologies, and innovative programs. The function of the Oakland Public Library facilities is to provide a safe and supportive environment that furthers this primary purpose and encourages the use of the Library's information, educational and recreational materials, programs, and services. In order to achieve these aims, the Library must maintain a safe and reasonably quiet environment that takes into account the safety and welfare of its patrons, buildings and staff. Public use of the meeting rooms is not the primary purpose of the Library and shall not be allowed to disrupt its main purpose.


  1. Permission to use a Library meeting room may be granted to a City of Oakland department or commission or other governmental agency directly serving residents of Oakland, and to public, private and non-profit civic, cultural, educational, political, religious, and charitable groups and organizations. Private, for-profit businesses may be permitted to use the Library meeting room, but shall not be permitted to charge entry fees, or collect fees, nor sell items during such meetings.
  2. The Library may grant priority for use of its meeting rooms to groups and organizations affiliated with the Library or to the City of Oakland.
  3. Meeting Rooms are not intended to be used for private events such as social events, parties, memorial services, fundraisers, etc.

Rules and Restrictions

  1. Library personnel in charge of the meeting room have authority over the use of the room. Applications should be addressed to the branch librarian or the scheduling coordinator. This policy does not guarantee an applicant the facility or the time requested. This policy reserves the right of the Director of Library Services to overrule a grant, denial or modification of permission to use Library facilities in a way that best promotes the operation and purpose of the Library.
  2. Meeting rooms shall be available only during the regular business hours of the Main Library or branches. Meeting rooms must be restored to order and vacated fifteen minutes prior to library closing time.
  3. The Library reserves the right to collect fees for the usage of the meeting rooms according to a fee schedule approved by the City Council. The Library also may collect reasonable reimbursement for any additional costs or damage incurred for use of a meeting room.
  4. The Library reserves the right to attend any meetings held in its facilities (except lawful executive sessions of government bodies) to verify that no illegal activities are taking place on the Library's premises.
  5. The Library can impose reasonable conditions for the use of its meeting rooms to ensure that public or private property is not damaged through use of its facilities, and to ensure that the safety, welfare and comfort of the public is not disturbed. The use of the meeting room must not disturb the normal activities of the Library. Illegal activities shall not be permitted in the meeting rooms or on Library premises and such activity will result in immediate eviction and denial of future use of the Library's meeting rooms by groups or individuals violating this policy.
  6. Groups and organizations which use the Library's meeting rooms shall adhere to regulations regarding the number of persons allowed to occupy a room at any given time. The numbers shall not exceed the limit prescribed and posted in that facility. The room shall be left in the same condition in which it was found, including the placement of chairs and tables. Groups shall be held responsible for any damage to the room and/or furnishings. Failure to adhere to these conditions may result in loss of future privileges in the use of any Library facility.
  7. Alcoholic beverages and smoking will not be permitted on Library premises.
  8. No admission fees may be charged or products or services sold by any business, outside group, or organization using a Library meeting room except for library sponsored programs in which titles by a featured speaker/performer may be offered for sale by the speaker/performer or by the library Friend's organizations or a bookseller (bookstore or publisher representative acting on behalf of those organizations). The speaker/performer must notify the library when planning to offer titles for sale. In all cases, the speaker/performed or his/her representative collects payment, not library staff. The exception is made because many of these works are published by small presses or are locally produced, and it is a service to library patrons to make them available. Groups and organizations may conduct customary activities such as collecting dues from members or refreshment money, but cannot solicit donations. Groups and organizations formed to support the programs and activities of the Library may use Library facilities for fundraising purposes in support of the Library. In such cases, proof will be required of receipt of a Charitable Solicitation Permit from the Office of the City Administrator, 238-6914.
  9. Except for Library or Library co-sponsored activities, groups and organizations which use the Library meeting rooms shall arrange for and provide their own special equipment needs.
  10. Publicity notices promoting a meeting or event being sponsored by an outside group or organization must include the following disclaimer: "The Oakland Public Library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of meetings or meeting room users." Publicity notices/public fliers promoting a meeting must be shown to the library employee in charge of the meeting room for approval (by initials), prior to distribution.

Application for Use of Meeting Room

  1. Written application must be made to the Library employee in charge of the meeting two weeks in advance of use. Applications shall then be submitted to the head of the branch library where the room is located, the Supervising Librarian, or Scheduling Coordinator. If there is a question about a group or organization's eligibility in determining use of the meeting room, the Library may request to examine that group's by-laws. Cancellation of reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance to be eligible for a reservation fee refund. Reservations are made for a specific time and overtime fees may be charged. All applications are public documents and shall be available for inspection upon request at the Library's facilities.
  2. Permission to groups and organizations using the meeting rooms may be granted for multiple meetings for a period not to exceed three consecutive months. Renewal applications may be submitted at any time during current usage. Prior use of meeting rooms does not entitle applicants to future use. This restriction does not apply to Library functions, or to those of any other City department or governmental agency directly serving Oakland residents.
  3. The Library reserves the right to revoke or modify permission to use its meeting rooms, or to modify conditions imposed on the use of the rooms, in order to adapt to the operational needs of the Library or the priority needs of Library users cited under section two of this policy. Applications may be denied on the basis of availability of space, frequency of use or requests for space by other groups and organizations, or, for other reasons that are in conflict with the primary purpose of the Library or with any regulations set forth in the Meeting Room Policy.
  4. Denial, grant, or modification of an application for use of the meeting room may be appealed in writing by the applicant or by any person adversely affected by the decision to the Director of Library Services, whose decision shall be final.
  5. The Director of Library Services may authorize additional rules that are consistent with this policy and assist in its implementation.

Rev. 3/9/01; 8/4/05; 5/25/11