Regulations for the community use of public libraries

Please note this page is currently under review.

The following Regulations are also available as a pdf document at the bottom of this page.


Facilities in Public Libraries for meetings are of the following types:

  • Lecture Halls - These rooms have seating for at least 80 persons. A cine projector can usually be provided, and the room can usually be used independently of the Library opening hours.
  • Meeting Rooms -These rooms have seating for not more than 80 persons. Some rooms have a tea-bar and separate toilet facilities. The rooms may only usually be used when the Library itself is closed.
  • The Public Library - In some cases where no other accommodation is available for meetings, the Library itself is made available for use outside Library opening hours.

1. Title Commencement and Application

  1. The Regulations shall be known as Regulations for the Community Use of Public Libraries and shall come into operation on the First day of March One thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven.
  2. These Regulations shall apply to the community use of Public Libraries and shall have effect subject to any general or specific directions made by the County Council at any time.

2. Interpretation

In these regulations unless the context otherwise requires:

  • "County Council" means Surrey County Council and includes any Committee, Sub-Committee or Officer of the County Council acting under delegated powers
  • "Public Library" means any premises used by the County Council for the purpose of fulfilling its duty to provide a Library service under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964
  • "Area Manager" means a person appointed to that position by the County Council or any other person authorised by the County Council to act on the Head of the Community Service's behalf
  • "Room", "Meeting Room" and "Lecture Hall" include any part of a Public Library used for any purpose by virtue of these Regulations
  • "Hirer" means the person who makes an application to the County Librarian to hire a room in accordance with Regulations 8.1 of these Regulations

3. Limitations on the use of rooms

  1. Public meetings will be permitted only in those rooms which are licensed for the purpose and must in no way interfere with normal operation of the library.
  2. Licences are required for all dramatic, musical or film presentations to which the public are admitted or for which a charge is made. Hirers must notify the Area Manager at least four weeks before such performances. Any scenery, curtains or other materials used on stage for public performances must be fire-proofed.
  3. If the Hirer wishes to relay gramophone records to the public, he must first obtain any necessary licences from the Phonographic Performance Limited and produce the licence to the Area Manager, prior to the Hiring.
  4. In order to comply with the requirements of the Performing Rights Society Limited, all persons hiring the room must supply to the Council through the Area Manager a complete list of musical works, whether published or in manuscript to be performed vocally, instrumentally or mechanically at the meeting room with names of composer, author, arranger and publisher of each such work, and the number of times each will be performed at the function.

4. Priority of use

  1. Priority for the use of Public Libraries will be given to organisations of a civic, educational or cultural nature, but use by other local organisations will be permitted at the discretion of the Area Manager.

5. Conditions of use

  1. The Hirer shall be responsible for the provision of attendants such as door keepers in order to ensure that only authorised persons enter the building.
  2. The Hirer shall be responsible for collecting the keys at the commencement and for securing the room and returning the keys at the conclusion of the period of hire.
  3. The Hirer shall be responsible for the preservation of order during the period of hire and shall be responsible for the conduct of all persons using that part of the public library hired and shall ensure that during such period no inconvenience will be caused to any other persons or staff using the library.
  4. The Hirer shall be responsible for ensuring that cars parked at the Public Library by persons attending the meeting cause no inconvenience to other users of the Library.
  5. The Hirer shall be responsible for any damage done to the Public Library and any damage to or loss of any furniture, fittings, contents and apparatus therein during the period of hire. The County Council shall themselves arrange for the repair of any damage caused or the replacement of any articles lost and the cost of such repair or replacement shall be paid to the County Council by the Hirer upon being requested by the Area Manager to do so.
  6. The County Council will not under any circumstances accept responsibility for loss or damage in respect of any clothing or other articles placed or left in any part of the public library by the Hirer or any other person, or for damage or loss to cars or their contents when left in library car parks.
  7. The County Council reserve the right for their Officers and servants and any authorised agent of the Performing Rights Society Limited or any other body or company having the same or similar rights to enter premises which have been let under these regulations at any time for the purpose of inspection or supervision.
  8. Exit lights must be in use during all public performances.

6. Use of Library Equipment

  1. The Hirer shall be responsible for arranging tables and chairs for the meeting and for replacing them when the meeting has finished. All seats at public performances must be fastened together by use of the devices provided on the chairs.
  2. All kitchen utensils, where provided, must be washed and stored away at the close of a meeting, and the room left in a tidy condition.
  3. Scenery, curtains and any other similar items used on stage for public performances must be fire-proofed.
  4. No projectors, amplifiers or other such equipment may be used without the prior consent of the Area Manager. Where cinematography or projecting apparatus is already installed in the room, no other such apparatus shall be used, without the prior consent of the Area Manager, and the operator must hold the County Council's certificate of proficiency in the use of projection equipment or its equivalent.

7. Charges

  1. Every person or body who uses a Public Library or part thereof shall be required to make a payment for the use of such premises in accordance with standard charges approved by the County Council, which charges are set out in the Schedule hereto.

8. Applications for the use of Public Libraries

  1. All applications for the hire of meeting rooms shall be made to the Area Manager on the appropriate form and shall state the purpose for which the room is required.
  2. Bookings should normally be made at least seven days in advance of the event for which a hiring is required, and the whole of the standard hire charge must be paid at the time of the booking.
  3. Unless the County Council decide otherwise a hirer shall be liable to pay the whole of the hire charge for any cancelled hiring.
  4. The County Council reserve the right to refuse or to cancel any hiring at any time without notice or explanation. In such circumstances, the hire charge will be returned to the Hirer but the County Council will not be liable to pay any compensation in respect of the cancellation of the hiring.

9. Intoxicating Liquor

  1. No intoxicating liquor may be brought onto or consumed on library premises without the prior consent of the Area Manager.
  2. Where a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor is necessary for a function the responsibility for obtaining such licence shall be the Hirer's solely.

10. Restrictions of Access

  1. Hirers shall have access only to the particular room or rooms let to them. In addition wherever possible they may have the use of WC and cloakrooms at no additional charge.

11. Time Limits

  1. Subject to any directions from the County Council, no hiring shall continue beyond 10.30pm unless the permission of the Area Manager is obtained. Except for Lecture Halls, most rooms will be available only when the library is closed to the public. The use of rooms on Sundays and on other days when libraries are fully closed, including periods of holiday closure, will not normally be permitted.
  2. The room or rooms must be vacated promptly at the end of each period of hiring.

12. Prohibitions

  1. Public Libraries shall not be used for:
    1. Livestock shows, including exhibitions of children's pets, except with the prior consent of the Area Manager.
    2. Committee rooms for candidates at elections.
    3. Any purpose of whatever nature which is unlawful or which is capable of bringing the County Council or any of its servants into disrepute.
  2. Without exception the public are not permitted access to staff rooms.
  3. No preparations are to be applied by the hirer to the flooring of the premises.
  4. No premises or any part thereof shall be sub-let by the hirer.
  5. The use of a room for a public meeting must in no way interfere with the normal operation of the library.
  6. The number of persons allowed in a meeting room at any one time shall not exceed the stated maximum number permitted.
  7. Smoking is not permitted in any part of the Public Library without the prior consent of the Area Manager.
  8. Music, singing or dancing is not permitted in rooms during the hours when the Public Library is open to the public, except with the prior consent of the Area Manager.
  9. No electrical or other fittings and appliances in the meeting room shall be altered, removed or in any way interfered with. No additional fittings or appliances may be installed without the prior consent of the Area Manager.
  10. No admission charge shall be made, except where meetings are open to the general public.
  11. No programmes, literature or any other item, including refreshments, shall be sold without the prior consent of the Area Manager.
  12. No room shall be used for the performance in public of any dramatic works, or for the delivery in public of any lecture, in which copyright exists without the prior consent of the owner of the Copyright. The hirer shall indemnify the Council against all actions, costs, claims and damages which may be incurred by the Council as a result of any infringement of Copyright occurring during the period of the hiring.

13. Disclaimer and Indemnity

  1. All losses or damage howsoever caused during the period of hire and of whatever nature to Library premises and equipment whether provided by the County Council or any other body or person shall be the responsibility of the Hirer.
  2. The Hirer shall indemnify the Council against all claims, demands, actions or proceedings in respect of damage or injury howsoever or by whomsoever caused by or to any person or property which shall occur while such person or property is in or upon any part of the meeting room or arise from any accident or occurrence thereat.

14. Power of Revocation

  1. The County Council reserve the right to revoke without notice any contract for the hire of Library premises

15. Disputes

  1. Any dispute as to the use of Library facilities or equipment shall be referred, initially, to the Area Manager.

16. Reservation

  1. The County Council reserve the right to amend or revoke these Regulations or any part thereof without notice.

Schedule of standard changes

Because they are subject to revision from time to time, details of standard charges are printed separately. Those currently in force are to be found in a leaflet available from those libraries with rooms for hire or on the appropriate library's webpage.

Explanatory notes

These notes are not part of the Regulations and do not purport to give an authoritative statement of the Law relating to the following matters. For more detailed information, reference should be made to the appropriate statutes.

Licensing of Premises

If any member of the public is admitted to any entertainment of music singing, dancing, stage plays or of the like kind, it is necessary for the premises to be licensed and before a letting for such purpose is approved the necessary licence must be obtained by the Area Manager from the relevant District Council.

However, if the audience comprises solely members of an organisation or invited guests and no member of the public is allowed admission the premises do not require to be licensed With a few exceptions library premises cannot be licensed as they do not conform with the regulations governing the licensing of premises for public entertainment.

The responsibility is upon the hirer to ensure that no member of the public is admitted to any entertainment in premises which are not licensed for that purpose. A minimum of 21 days notice is required before a licence can be issued and any condition particularly those relating to public safety, must be strictly adhered to.

Cinematograph Licences

Before approval of any letting for the exhibition of pictures involving the use of films or television, enquiries should be made to the appropriate District Council as to whether the exhibition is exempted from or requires a licence under the provisions of the Cinematograph Acts 1909 and 1952 or any statutory modifications thereof.

These regulations are also available in pdf format by selecting on the link below.