Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Committee proposes use policy for new library meeting rooms

     Members of the Belleville Area District Library Board are considering a new use policy for the facility.
     While homeowners associations, civic organizations and group will be welcome to use the meeting rooms, those promoting a political viewpoint or platform will not. Members of the board met earlier this month to discuss the new use policy according to report from Mary Jane Dawson, chairperson of the library use policy subcommittee. She said that preliminary discussions would prohibit the use of the meeting rooms for political gatherings, the sale of products or private parties while communities groups and associations would be welcome along with groups that do not promote a particular political viewpoint but provide information, like the League of Women Voters.

     Dawson explained that the committee was considering requiring a financial deposit for use of the rooms which would be returned to the user if the rooms were left in order following the gathering. She said the committee was not in favor of deposits by credit card as a refund would be difficult to process and would prefer the deposit be in cash or check. Another fee for the set up of the room is also being considered, she said and stressed that library events will always take precedence in scheduling.
     No political fundraisers would ever by allowed at the library, she said, and her remarks were supported by members of the board in attendance, along with a prohibition against alcohol in the building. While it was agreed that an office holder, already elected, who wished to use the facility for informational purposes would be welcome, no political campaigning would be an acceptable use.
     Dawson stressed that the policy was still fluid and under discussion and that no final policy had been drafted as yet. She also said that a application for use form would need to be designed.
     Library Director Mary Jo Suchy suggested that the board would have to be flexible with the new policy and put it into use for 30 days or so to determine how well it was working.
     Dawson agreed noting that "nothing is set in stone" and that the proposed policy "is all talk now."