Evanston Public Library
Facilities Policy
Amended Nov. 16, 2022

Rules for Library Use

The Library’s rules are designed to promote the safety and security of the Library’s patrons, staff and collections, and to ensure that the Library remains a space for everyone  to read, work, study, connect and build community. If your circumstances make it difficult for you to comply with Library rules, please talk to our staff who may be able to connect you to helpful resources. 

  1. Be respectful and do not interfere with other people using or working in the Library. 
  2. Eat food or snacks in designated areas only. Beverages in covered containers are welcome anywhere. 
  3. Alcohol, drugs, vaping, and smoking are not allowed. 
  4. Service dogs individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities are welcome. Pets are not allowed.  (Refer to ADA guidance on service animals.)
  5. The Library is not responsible for unattended items. 
  6. Children age 11 and older may be at the Library without a caregiver’s supervision. (See unattended children below for more details)
  7. Don’t solicit, petition, canvass, or sell on Library property.
  8. Don’t use roller skates, roller blades, skateboards or other recreational mobile devices on Library property.
  9. Always wear shoes in the Library. 

Suspension of Library Privileges

The Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 75, Paragraph 5/4-7, permit the Library Board “To exclude from use of the library any person who willfully violates the rules prescribed by the board.”

Library privileges may be suspended for the persistent and willful violation of the Library’s posted rules and violations of the law. 

Facilities Guidelines

Unattended Children 

Whether or not they are present, parents or guardians are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their children in the Library until they reach the age of eighteen (18).

Supervision guidelines for children

  • Ages 7 and under: Must be within reach of a caregiver who is age 14 or older at all times. 
  • Ages 8-10:  Must have a caregiver who is age 14 or over in the Library. 
  • Age 11 and older: May be at the Library without a caregiver’s supervision provided they conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the Library’s expectations.

If these guidelines are not followed, staff members will attempt to locate the caregiver of a child under the age of 11. If the caregiver is not in the building or cannot be contacted, staff is authorized to call the appropriate City of Evanston authorities  to ensure the safety of the child. 

Unattended children at closing

If a child under the age of 11 is left unattended at the time of closing, the Person In Charge and another member of the staff will attempt to reach the caregiver and/or remain with the child for a period of fifteen (15) minutes. If a parent or other responsible caregiver does not pick up the child during this period, staff is authorized to call the appropriate City of Evanston authorities to ensure the safety of the child.

Guns on Library Property

The Evanston Public Library follows Illinois State Law [430 ILCS 66], which prohibits the carrying of any weapon, including concealed or partially concealed, in Library buildings or on Library property. 

If library staff observe a weapon on Library property, the police will immediately be called.


The exhibit space of the Evanston Public Library is a library resource to be used to fulfill the Library’s mission statement. It is the intention of the Library Board that the Library’s program of exhibits represents the intellectual, cultural, and ethnic diversity of Evanston. Creators who use this space release the Evanston Public Library, its Board, and its employees from any liability for injury or damages, destruction, loss or theft of any item or items that may occur during the exhibit period or during installation or removal of the exhibit. The Library does not provide any security or insurance for artwork exhibited. 

Library Bulletin Boards, Flyers, and Community Marketing 

A limited amount of bulletin board space is available for postings by nonprofit organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities in Evanston. The Library is not responsible for the care or return of posters. The following items will not be accepted for posting:

  • Advertisements of products or services offered by commercial organizations or individuals
  • Requests for contributions
  • Petitions
  • Electioneering materials

Political Activity

The Library is governed by the City of Evanston’s policy concerning the use of municipal buildings by candidates for Federal, State, and Municipal elected office, the Democratic, Republican, and other parties, and all other individuals or organizations advocating a position on an election issue.

The Library’s public meeting rooms may be used for any political activities related to an election, until one-hundred (100) days prior to the election, except for Municipal election activities. Municipal election activities may be held until the petition filing deadline, which is seventy-one (71) days before the election. After these deadlines, the meeting rooms may only be used for candidate forums when the following conditions are met:

  1. All candidates are invited to attend.
  2. The forum is sponsored by a non-partisan group.
  3. All candidates for a particular office must agree in writing to attend the forum or indicate in writing that they do not oppose the forum being held even though they are unable to attend.

Fees will not be charged for candidate forums meeting these conditions, but all other meeting room rules must be observed.

See the “Public Conference Rooms and Public Meeting Room Rentals” section of this policy, below, for further guidance.

No spaces other than the public meeting rooms may be used for political activities.

Areas for Young People in the Library

The Evanston Public Library has two areas of the Main Library – the Children’s Room and the Loft – set aside to provide library service to young people. The Library staff will ask adults who are not using the special collections and services of these areas to relocate to other areas of the Library.

The Loft

The Library’s teen space, known as the Loft, is intended for young people in grades 6 through 12 or ages 11-18. Other library patrons, like adults and younger children, are permitted to use the space when they require collections or services that are only available in that space, but they will not be permitted to use this space for general reading, studying, or hanging out. The Loft will not be open all of the hours that the Library is open, but will be open at those times teen users can be expected to be present.  


Public Conference Rooms and Public Meeting Room Rentals


All public conference rooms and public meeting rooms are available during the Library’s regular hours. 

Public Conference Room Use 

Both the Main Library and the Robert Crown Branch Library have conference rooms that are intended for the use of small groups. They are not available for public meetings or commercial use. Some rooms are only meant for families, children, or teens.  Each room has a group size limit. These rooms may be used free of charge and reserved through the Library’s website, by phone or in person. 

Public Meeting Room Use and Rental Policy

The Main Library has rooms that can be rented by outside groups for a fee.  These rooms are available for public meetings of nonprofit organizations engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, or charitable activities in Evanston. Library-sponsored programs have priority in reserving meeting room space. 

The Library’s public meeting rooms are not available to commercial enterprises (organizations or individuals that promote or cause the sale of property or services for monetary gain) or for purely social functions (functions designed for entertainment through companionship with friends and associates such as receptions, showers, birthday parties, dances, and mixers).

Use of the public meeting rooms does not constitute Library endorsement of the viewpoints expressed by the participants in the meetings. No advertisement or announcement implying such endorsement will be permitted. No organization meeting at the Library shall use the Library as its official address. Organizations using the public meeting rooms are not permitted to store items in the rooms.

Meetings may not disturb the normal operations of the library or create an unsafe environment.

The Library maintains the right to cancel any meeting room reservation for any reason. The decision of the Executive Director to cancel a reservation is final.

All meetings must be open to the public and attendance may not be restricted. 

Renting Public Meeting Rooms

Main Library public meeting rooms must be rented by calling 847- 448-8650 or online . Applicants must be 18 or older. The application will be reviewed by Library staff before approval of the reservation. When a reservation is approved, payment will be charged to the credit card provided in the application form. The person submitting the application form will be held responsible for all fees and damages. The Library should be notified of any canceled meetings or programs. Failure to notify the Library of a cancellation at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance will result in the forfeiture of meeting room fees.

Admission Fees Not Allowed

Organizations using the public meeting rooms may not charge an admission fee.  Organizations using the meeting room may request a free will donation, but making such a donation must in no way be a requirement for attending the meeting. 

Sales of Goods During Public Meetings

Organizations using the meeting rooms will be permitted to make sales under the following circumstances:

  • The sales must be confined to the meeting room space and no effort can be made to solicit other library patrons.
  • The sale must be for the benefit of the nonprofit organization making use of the meeting room.
  • Making a purchase must in no way be a requirement for attending the meeting.
  • The sales must be an inconsequential part of the program scheduled for the meeting room.
  • The sale of goods that directly or indirectly benefit the Library will be permitted in areas of the Library other than the meeting rooms. When an author takes part in a Library-sponsored program, the Library may arrange for the sale of the author’s works at the program.

Kitchen Use and Food Service

Simple refreshments or snacks may be served at public meetings. The kitchen cannot be used for cooking. Groups using the kitchen are expected to leave it in the condition they found it; failure to do so will result in a clean-up charge.

Set-up and Clean-up

Trash should be picked up and the kitchen should be cleaned by the group using the room. Set-up and clean-up should be accomplished within the time period for which the room is rented. If it is necessary for Library staff to clean up following a meeting, the individual, group, or organization making the reservation will be charged for the necessary time according to the current schedule of fees .

Additional Meeting Room Rules and Regulations

The following rules and regulations apply to all groups using the meeting rooms in the Main Library:

  1. Attendance at a meeting may not exceed the maximum number of people certified by the Fire Department as the occupancy limit for the room.
  2. Groups whose members are under the age of 18 must be accompanied by one adult chaperone for every fifteen (15) participants.
  3. Hazardous materials including, but not limited to, candles, paints, solvents, and explosives are prohibited.
  4. Groups using the facilities must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and upon 48 hours’ notice are responsible for providing qualified interpreters and/or auxiliary aids as requested.

Damages and Liability

The Library is not responsible for the loss of, or damage to, any equipment or materials owned or rented by an individual, group or organization using its meeting rooms. Any individual, group, or organization using the meeting rooms shall be held responsible for willful or accidental damage to the Library building, grounds, collections, or equipment caused by the group or organization, its members, or those attending its program.

Any individual, group, or organization holding a meeting in the Library must fully release and discharge the Evanston Public Library Board, the Evanston Public Library, the City of Evanston, its officers, agents, and employees from any and all claims from injuries, including death, damages, or loss, which may arise or which may be alleged to have arisen out of, or in connection with, the meeting. They must further indemnify and hold harmless and defend the Evanston Public Library Board, the Evanston Public Library, the City of Evanston, its officers, agents and employees from any and all claims resulting from injuries, including death, damages, and losses, including, but not limited to the general public, which may arise or may be alleged to have arisen out of, or in connection with, the meeting.

Denial of Meeting Room Privileges

Failure to abide by the Library’s meeting room policy and rules of conduct may result in the cancellation or refusal of future reservations.

Appeals of Administrative Decisions Concerning Facilities Use

Anyone who believes that they have been unfairly suspended or denied permission to use the meeting rooms, the bulletin boards, or other Library facilities or to distribute materials and is not satisfied by the decision made by the Library Director or designee, may appeal to the Library Board. Notice of an appeal should be made in writing to the Library Director, who will inform the appellant of the date of the meeting at which the appeal will be heard.


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