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Meeting Room Policy

The Detroit Public Library offers free use of meeting rooms for community gatherings, meetings and programs that are consistent with the library’s mission.

The Detroit Public Library enhances the quality of life for the diverse and dynamic community in the City of Detroit. The library enlightens and empowers its citizens to meet their lifelong learning needs through open and equitable access to information, technology, and cultural/educational programs. The Detroit Public Library system will provide easy access to local and global information that will assist all users in the development of a lifetime of enrichment and growth.

In addition to free use of meeting rooms, the Detroit Public Library also has available at select library locations, spaces that can be rented for a fee, for special events.  Please see Detroit Public Library Spaces for details.  Spaces rented for a fee for special events, are exempt from the policy of “free and open to the public.”

  1. Detroit Public Library programs and sponsored events have priority in the use of meeting room space. The library reserves the right to reschedule confirmed meeting room reservations to accommodate library-sponsored programs and events. Cancellations by either the group or the library must be made 24 hours in advance of the meeting date.
  2. The use of meeting rooms is granted on a first-reserved basis.  Meeting rooms may be reserved with a minimum of one week’s notice or up to one year in advance.  If available, meeting rooms may also be assigned to walk in requests.
  3. All meetings must be open to the public.
  4. No admission fees may be charged, and no donations of money or other property may be solicited or collected from the audience, absent for a clear public purpose.  In such cases, pre authorization must be granted through the Executive Library Director. No promotions or sales of services, products, merchandise, materials or other items are allowed. 
  5. Sales of services, products, merchandise, materials or items or solicitations for donations authorized pursuant to a library-sponsored program or event, or on behalf of the Friends Foundation of the Detroit Public Library, are permitted.
  6. Neighborhood library meeting rooms in locations that do not have quiet study rooms may not be reserved as "quiet rooms" but may be used as such on a walk-in basis, if not in use. 
  7. The library is not responsible for theft, loss or damage to property, or injury to persons, resulting from the use of its meeting rooms.
  8. Meeting rooms are available during hours when the library is open. Meetings must adjourn 15 minutes before closing time.  Prior authorization is required when a meeting is proposed outside library hours.  The group requesting the space must agree to and pay the associated costs. 
  9. Light refreshments may be served, but groups may not prepare food on library property.
  10. Groups are responsible for cleanup and for any damages to library property resulting from the use of its meeting rooms.
  11. In publicizing a meeting to be held in a library meeting room, the sponsoring group must be clearly identified. Groups must not imply library sponsorship of their program or organization in their publicity.
  12. With prior approval, groups may post signs in library-approved locations.
  13. Tables and chairs are available at each location. AV is available at select library locations, subject to availability.  No other equipment is provided. Meeting rooms must be left clean, in good repair and in the same condition as found. Any group that damages library property will be liable for costs incurred in connection with such damage and may lose the privilege of using meeting rooms in the future.
  14. An adult age 18 or older must sign the Library Meeting Room Request form and at least one adult age 18 or older must be present when youth groups use the meeting rooms.
  15. Each group is responsible for ensuring that attendance at its meeting does not exceed the maximum occupancy for the meeting room as set by the Fire Marshall.
  16. All groups, clubs, entities or individuals using a library meeting room must comply with these rules and with the Standards for Library Behavior. Failure to comply with the rules may lead to immediate termination of the meeting, exclusion of individuals from library premises pursuant to the rules, and/or loss of future meeting room use privileges.
  17. The library makes its meeting rooms available for use by other governmental agencies, or their contractors, when possible.  Agencies holding meetings open only to their own staff may be approved to use the meeting rooms, subject to availability.   An agency that wishes to use a library meeting room during hours the library is not staffed will be referred to Public Services or Marketing for review and decision, and must agree to and pay the associated costs. 


  1. All groups must complete a Library Meeting Room Request and review the Meeting Room Policies. Request forms are available at all library locations where meeting rooms are available and on the library website.
  2. Submit the Request Form at the library where the proposed meeting will be held. The library manager at the location where the meeting is requested will review and approve or deny all applications based on the Meeting Room Policies. When in doubt, the request will be referred to Public Services or Marketing for consultation.
  3. Any applicant denied use of a library meeting room may appeal the denial in writing to the Executive Director of libraries. The executive director will review the application and respond in writing to the applicant.

Library Locations with Meeting Rooms

BranchAccessible EntranceActivity/Community roomRoom CapacityRoom Accessible
Chandler ParkYesYes50No
DuffieldFront has rampYes30No
Elmwood ParkFront and emergency side doorNoN/AN/A
HubbardParking lot door onlyYes50Yes, with an outside door
JeffersonFront and backYes40Yes
LincolnNo, 1 small stepNoN/AN/A
RedfordYesYes, 350, 20, 30Yes
Sherwood ForestYesYes50Yes

Main Library Meeting Rooms

Adam Strohm Hall300 sit down, 400 strolling
Clara Stanton Jones Friends Auditorium370 seats
Conat Room10 conference
Explorers Room75 auditorium style, 85-100 reception
Friends Conference Room40 auditorium style, 26 U-shaped
Old Fine Arts175-195 sit down, 300 strolling
SSER/BST Conference Room10 conference

Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Many libraries provide meeting rooms for individuals and groups as part of a program of service. Article VI of the Library Bill of Rights states that such facilities should be made available to the public served by the given library “on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

Libraries maintaining meeting room facilities should develop and publish policy statements governing use. These statements can properly define time, place, or manner of use; such qualifications should not pertain to the content of a meeting or to the beliefs or affiliations of the sponsors. These statements should be made available in any commonly used language within the community served.

If meeting rooms in libraries supported by public funds are made available to the general public for non-library sponsored events, the library may not exclude any group based on the subject matter to be discussed or based on the ideas that the group advocates. For example, if a library allows charities and sports clubs to discuss their activities in library meeting rooms, then the library should not exclude partisan political or religious groups from discussing their activities in the same facilities. If a library opens its meeting rooms to a wide variety of civic organizations, then the library may not deny access to a religious organization. Libraries may wish to post a permanent notice near the meeting room stating that the library does not advocate or endorse the viewpoints of meetings or meeting room users.

Written policies for meeting room use should be stated in inclusive rather than exclusive terms. For example, a policy that the library’s facilities are open “to organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities” is an inclusive statement of the limited uses to which the facilities may be put. This defined limitation would permit religious groups to use the facilities because they engage in intellectual activities, but would exclude most commercial uses of the facility.

A publicly supported library may limit use of its meeting rooms to strictly “library-related” activities, provided that the limitation is clearly circumscribed and is viewpoint neutral.

Written policies may include limitations on frequency of use, and whether or not meetings held in library meeting rooms must be open to the public. If state and local laws permit private as well as public sessions of meetings in libraries, libraries may choose to offer both options. The same standard should be applicable to all.

If meetings are open to the public, libraries should include in their meeting room policy statement a section that addresses admission fees. If admission fees are permitted, libraries shall seek to make it possible that these fees do not limit access to individuals who may be unable to pay, but who wish to attend the meeting. Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states that “a person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” It is inconsistent with Article V to restrict indirectly access to library meeting rooms based on an individual’s or group’s ability to pay for that access.

Adopted July 2, 1991 by the ALA Council

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