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Purpose: Hartford Public Library (HPL) encourages public use of meeting rooms as gathering places to exchange ideas, access and share information and participate in programs created for public enjoyment, public education and civic engagement.

HPL’s Board of Directors adopts the following rules, regulations and fees for public use of meeting rooms and event spaces:

  • Reserving a Room: To reserve a meeting room or event space, please visit Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Room reservations will be considered if booked two weeks in advance of the meeting date. Please see the meeting room policy when reserving a meeting room. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Program Office at or 860.695.6320.
  • Space Priority: Programs and functions hosted or presented by the library will be given priority. HPL may cancel a reservation made by a non-library organization or individual, if the space is needed for library purposes.  HPL will make every effort to provide adequate notice and will attempt to find the most convenient alternate date or suggest another location.  HPL has the right to cancel or deny future booking requests and existing contracts for any individual or group which violates stated policy, regulations or procedures. 
  • Prohibited Activities: Library meeting rooms and event spaces may not be used for any activity that is incompatible with the library environment or interferes with its operations or is considered to be dangerous to people or property. Sales of products or services, charging admission or registration fees, and/or soliciting donations other than in conjunction with a program or event sponsored or hosted by HPL are prohibited.  Fundraisers sponsored by non-profit organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Customer Conduct Policy: Those hosting meetings and events at the library and their guests agree to abide by all policies and regulations relating to the use of library facilities, including HPL’s code of conduct, and accept responsibility for any and all damages to the library building, contents and equipment (normal wear and tear excepted).
  • Insurance Requirement: At the sole determination of the Chief Executive Officer or his/her designee, a comprehensive general liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1 million naming Hartford Public Library as an additional insured may be required for certain types of events.  The certificate of insurance must be filed with the events coordinator at least one month in advance of the event.
  • Catering: All food and beverages served at events or meetings must be supplied by and purchased from an approved HPL caterer.  Alcoholic beverages may not be served at meetings or events during hours that the library is open to the public.
  • Fees and Charges: The library may charge any and all applicable fees to any organization or individual using meeting rooms and event spaces.  Subject to the other terms of this policy, no room rental fee shall be charged to any non-profit organization, community group, or governmental organization holding a meeting or event during library hours.
  • Restrictions: The library may impose time, place or use restrictions for the meeting rooms and event spaces to ensure that all customers may use the library to the maximum extent possible during regularly scheduled public service hours.
  • Delegation: The Chief Executive Officer or his/her designee is granted full authority to make exceptions to this policy as deemed appropriate and to establish the procedures and fees necessary to implement it.

For Non-Profit, Community Organizations and Government

  • Non-profit groups or organizations may be assessed fees for special equipment, staff operation, or for use during times when the library is closed. Please see Other Charges section of this policy.
  • A signed confirmation shall be presented to the events coordinator at least two (2) weeks in advance of the event.

For-Profit and Individuals

  • For-profit private businesses, individuals, groups or organizations may reserve rooms on an “as available” basis for a rental fee. Please see Meeting Room Fee Schedule.
  • A signed confirmation and a deposit shall be presented to the events coordinator at least two (2) weeks in advance of the event. The balance of the contract amount is due to the events coordinator on or before the date of the event.

Downtown Library Meeting Rooms and Event Spaces

The Downtown Library has several rooms/event spaces available for public use.

Meeting rooms:

  • Ground Floor Classroom: classroom space, accommodates 30

Event Spaces:

  • Downtown Café- Glassed-in space facing Main Street; accommodates 60-80.
  • Center for Contemporary Culture: large auditorium with seating capacity of 200, standing capacity of 456.

Fee Schedule

Room Rate Full Day Half Day Days
Center for Contemporary Culture $800 $400 Fri/Sat/Sun
$600 $300 M-Thurs
Cafe $500 $250 Fri/Sat/Sun
$400 $200 M-Thurs
Ground Floor Classroom $225 $125 Fri/Sat/Sun
$200 $100 M-Thurs

Government, non-profits, and community groups will not be charged a room rental fee for the use of rooms.  Non-profits must show evidence of 501(c) 3 status.


Based on whether the Library is open for all or part of the program, additional charges apply for all users for facilities, security, and AV staff providing services.  For programs that end after the regular closing of the Library, a minimum charge of one hour will apply.  For programs or events held when the Library is closed to the public, a minimum charge of 4 hours will apply. Rate charges subject to change. The Library reserves the right to determine the appropriate staffing level required for the event based on the size and/or type of event.


Rate per hour

Facilities Staff per person charge


Security Staff per person charge


AV  Staff per person charge


For each event there is a flat $25 Equipment User Fee charged for the use of one piece or any combination of multiple pieces of audiovisual equipment/and or stage set-up.

Room Rentals require a 50% deposit two weeks in advance of the event; balance due on or before the day of the event.  Additional charges may apply if the event exceeds reserved time.

Booking a Meeting Room or Event Space

  • For information about the rooms and details related to their use, please contact the events coordinator at 860-695-6320 during business hours: 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Voicemail messages may be left for the events coordinator who will return calls as soon as possible. All room or event requests will be reviewed to determine eligibility.
  • Meeting rooms are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Meeting rooms are assigned by the events coordinator based on availability and the size of the group.
  • To reserve a meeting room, please visit
  • Meeting room requests can be made at least three (3) months in advance.
  • After receiving the request, the events coordinator will contact the applicant to discuss the event and add furniture and equipment if required.
  • The events coordinator will process the room request and provide an email confirmation for the room reservation to the applicant.
  • A signed copy of a confirmation form sent to the events coordinator guarantees the room reservation.
  • Special events before or after regular library hours should be booked eight (8) weeks in advance. A shorter notice must be authorized by the Public Services Director.
  • An appropriate number of adult chaperones must accompany groups of minors or young children at all times. Please see “Adult Ratios and Maximum Group Size Requirements” guidelines here.
  •  All publicity for programs must include a contact person and phone.  Publicity may not imply that the library endorses or sponsors said program, unless written permission is given from the Library. Meetings or events that are not library sponsored must include in either written or electronic formats the statement, “Sponsored by (the name of the organization or business)”.

Recurring Reservations

  • Groups may request consecutive meetings for three (3) months; however, the library will not guarantee the same location for each time.
  • Reservations for a range of four months in advance can be requested by submitting a completed Room Reservation Form.


  • Cancellations should be made at least 24 hours in advance or as soon as possible by calling the events coordinator at 860-695-6320.
  • The 24-hour notice is waived for weather-related cancellations.
  • The event is not canceled until the events coordinator issues a notice of cancellation.
  • A for-profit room cancellation with less than 24-hours notice will result in forfeiture of the deposit, unless the cancellation was initiated by the Library. A non-profit room cancellation with less than 24-hours notice will be charged a cancellation fee.

Room Set-up

Room set-up, if required, is the responsibility of the event host. The events coordinator will assist with the room setup to accommodate reasonable meeting needs. Special room setups are limited to certain spaces. Library staff can set up the space for an additional charge.

Audiovisual Services and Equipment

If needed, the library can provide audiovisual equipment and technical support service for an additional fee. Only authorized library staff can operate the equipment. Please see available Audiovisual Equipment listed below.   Use of audiovisual equipment other than that owned by the Library is not permitted.

Safety Considerations

A number of safety issues connected with holding events at the library are listed below.

Exit Doors
Egress routes may not be obstructed in any way and exit signs must remain clearly visible. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Room Capacity
The maximum capacity set by law is posted in each meeting room. Exceeding the maximum capacity of a room is prohibited by law.

Candles, Smoke and Open Flames
Candles, incense or any other smoke or flame-producing device are not permitted in the library. Such devices could easily set off the fire alarm system which would cause the evacuation of the building and summon the fire department.

Decorations used at events cannot obscure exit signs or doors. Nothing may be taped or affixed to any part of the rooms. Glitter and confetti is strictly prohibited.

Electrical Cords
Use of electrical cords must be approved by the events coordinator prior to their use. All electrical cords and cords on any equipment must be taped down by library staff.

Moving Equipment and Furniture
Fixed equipment or furniture must not be moved without the consent of the events coordinator. Only the events coordinator can arrange any modifications to fixed equipment and/or furniture.  Should any equipment or furniture be moved without permission, the group will be held financially responsible for any damage caused.

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages may not be served in the library during hours that the library is open to the public. Alcoholic beverages are restricted to wine, beer and champagne and may only be served at events scheduled for after the library closes to the public. Any exceptions must be approved, in advance, by the Chief Executive Officer or his/her designee.

At events held after library hours, alcoholic beverages may not be served if there are minors present. This clause may not, however, pertain to any group that includes minors as part of the scheduled entertainment. The Chief Executive Officer or his/her designee must approve this waiver in advance of the event.

An organization wishing to serve alcohol as a part of an after-hours event is required to secure a temporary permit or license, and submit it to the events coordinator two (2) weeks in advance of the event. Any required permits, special insurance or licenses will be the responsibility of the organization hosting the event.

Event Insurance

Groups or organizations requesting the use of alcohol must procure and have in force a comprehensive general liability insurance policy to submit to the library two (2) weeks in advance of the event. The limit for bodily injury and property damage shall not be less than $1,000,000.00 per occurrence. A certificate of insurance naming Hartford Public Library and Board of Directors as additional insured must be submitted to the events coordinator two (2) weeks in advance of the event. Alcohol must be contained within the building, and within the area where the event is taking place.

Large events such as civic or conference receptions may also require event insurance. A determination will be made before confirmation is approved.


During regular business hours, the Downtown Library has limited free parking in the Arch Street garage. There is metered parking in that garage and on Main, Sheldon and Arch Streets surrounding the Library. After 6:00 p.m., customers may park in the Arch Street garage for free. The events coordinator can arrange use of the Sheldon Street parking lots if necessary.

Clean Up

At the conclusion of your meeting, put litter in the trash container and report any problems that may remain.

We ask your cooperation at the conclusion of your meeting:

  • Leave the meeting room as clean and as orderly as possible.
  • Place all trash in receptacles provided by the Library.
  • Report any spills immediately to the events coordinator or manager-in-charge.
  • Remove all personal effects, equipment and decorations.
  • Library staff will remove any equipment provided.
  • Special cleaning requirements or damage caused during use of a meeting room or event space will result in an additional charge to the user.

Audiovisual Equipment Listing

The library reserves first priority for use of any audiovisual equipment at all times; and, in rare instances, may pre-empt the scheduled use of equipment for an event. Scheduled use of audiovisual equipment is on a first-come, first-served basis. For each event, a flat $25.00 user fee is charged.  Full refund of the Audiovisual Equipment Fee will be given if the required 24 hour cancellation notice is given by the customer. Fees may apply to:

Center for Contemporary Culture (CCC)

  • The CCC has a sound system with multiple microphones.
  • Each area can be separately controlled with its own mixer.
  • Adaptive listening devices are available in each room.
  • CCC has a screen available at no charge.

Other Equipment

  • Lapel Microphone
  • Wireless hand held microphone
  • Overhead projector
  • Portable lectern with microphone
  • Portable screen
  • DVD player
  • Microphone
  • Projector cart
  • Easel for flip chart pad holder (Flip chart pad not provided)
  • CD player
  • LCD projector – portable
  • Lectern
  • Stage


Parking information