Use of Surrey libraries rooms and spaces: terms and conditions

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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 library: In some cases where no other accommodation is available for meetings, the library itself is made available for use outside library opening hours.

Acceptable use

We hire meeting rooms or library space for the purposes of:

  • Children's activities, reading groups, knit and natter groups and author talks.
  • Surgeries, advice sessions and similar activities for public benefit.
  • Meetings that support independent living in later life or job seekers, provided there is no charge for attendance.
  • Other County Council services for internal meetings. In keeping with the ethos of the public library service, these must not be partisan in any way.
  • Any other event co-ordinated by library staff or partner organisation.
  • A private event or meeting by an organisation or company.

We do not hire rooms for the purpose of:

  • Wishing to use the space for actual or perceived party-political purposes. Whilst an open MP surgery or debate would usually be acceptable, a session promoting a single political party would not be.
  • Wishing to use the space to convey or promote things deemed by the council to be controversial or extremist views.
  • Who, at the discretion of the library staff, intend to raise noise levels that are likely to disturb library users and/or residents of adjacent buildings.
  • Promoting a particular brand i.e., while advice on healthy eating would usually be acceptable, "advice" with promotion related to a particular brand of food or drink would not be.
  • Seeking to use the space to promote a particular religious faith, cause, or belief.

The judgement of the library service on what is acceptable will be deemed final.

Public liability Insurance

  • The hirer will indemnify themselves for any claims that could arise due to any negligence by the hirer during the period of hire.
  • Hirers who cannot produce evidence of public liability insurance cover which meets the requirements below must, as a condition of the proposed hiring, take out the Hirer's Insurance arranged by Surrey County Council. The premium is currently 15% of the hiring fee and is added to the hiring fee payable at £5 minimum.
  • Surrey County Council has, for the benefit of hirers who use its facilities, arranged with its insurers, a policy which indemnifies individual hirers, in accordance with the Hiring Agreement, on the following basis:
    • Injury to persons or property
    • Damage to premises and equipment
  • £5 will be charged for public liability insurance if no evidence of insurance is provided when no hourly charge is applicable for use of the space.

Music and performance licences

It may be possible to play music subject to the byelaws of the individual library.

The hirer must have the relevant licence if their event/activity will include music. Hirers will need a Performing Right Society (PRS) for music licence if playing music in public and both a PRS and a Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licence if recorded music is played in public or broadcast. This includes live or via CDs, radio/TV broadcasts, background music systems or other sources). Hirers must inform the library if they intend to use music.

Performing Rights Society (PRS)

The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) have a service agreement in place with PRS for Music who provide rights management and administrative services to MCPS.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)

PRS for Music and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) are separate organisations who license different sets of rights in the use of music. PPL licenses the use of recorded music where played in public, broadcast on radio or TV, or used on the internet, on behalf of record companies and performers.

Hire times

The hire period must include any time required to set up and close the meeting and this time will be included in the hire charge.

Requirements of hirers: code of conduct

  • The hirer will, at the end of the period of hire, leave the room in a clean and tidy condition and returned to its original setup as indicated by the room plan displayed on the wall.
  • A wastepaper bin is provided for the hirer's convenience, but if a large amount of litter is created this should be properly disposed of by the hirer.
  • It is the responsibility of the hirer to remove any person acting in a manner which in the reasonable opinion of Surrey Libraries is inappropriate or offensive or causing a breach of the peace.
  • This code includes toilets and kitchens that have been in use during the period of hire.

Penalty charges

Hirers who overrun will be charged the hourly rate for every hour or part hour that the booking exceeds the agreed period of hire.

Hirers who leave the facility in an untidy condition may incur charges.


The hirer will be held responsible for any damage to the room, toilets, kitchens, or contents during the period of hire, and will be charged the cost of repair or replacement of the damaged property.

Hirers are responsible for their own belongings and the library service accepts no responsibility for loss or damage.

Supervision of young people

Young people, 16 years and under, must be always supervised by responsible adults during a booking.

It is the responsibility of the hirer to carry out and maintain any necessary risk assessments and safeguarding procedures required whilst using the space.

Use of personal electrical equipment

  • Users will be responsible for their equipment being up to date and wired appropriately.
  • Hirers will be held responsible for any damage to the library electrical system.
  • In cases of block booking, the user must not leave their own belongings or equipment on the premises unless agreed with the library service in advance.
  • Users can set up displays the night before with prior agreement with local management.


  • Publicity will be displayed in agreement with local management. One free poster will be displayed.
  • The full policy with criteria of what is deemed suitable for display can be found on our webpage: Library posters and leaflets for display - policy statement.
  • The display of room hire related publicity does not mean that SCC endorses any organisation hiring the space.
  • Members of library staff will only book places on behalf of the organiser of the events/sessions if the hiring organisation is in a working relationship with one of the library development or area teams.
  • Chargeable Social Media publicity includes posting event details to Library Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts at least once where accounts exist. The posting of events online does not mean that SCC endorses any organisation hiring the space.


  • The hirer shall not erect any exhibitions, stands, display, freestanding advertising material or any other items on the premises without prior agreement with local management.
  • Materials should not be affixed to the wall or ceiling unless with agreement with local management using an agreed method.
  • The hirer is liable for any damage caused by erection of any such item as detailed above.

Fire and emergency procedures

  • Fire exits must not be obstructed in any manner at all.
  • The hirer must ensure that the Fire and Safety procedures displayed in the meeting room are read and understood by all attending the meeting.
  • In the event of a fire, the hirer is responsible for evacuating their group out of the building.
  • All libraries contain defibrillators, and the hirer must be made of aware of their location.


In line with current legislation, it is illegal to smoke on library premises. This legislation includes e-cigarettes and devices.


No alcohol is to be consumed or sold on the premises without prior agreement of the Surrey Libraries and evidence of relevant licencing.


Except for assistance dogs, no animals will be allowed on the premises other than an approved library event.

Transfer of bookings

The hirer cannot sublet or transfer their booking[s] to any other person or organisation.

Closure of premises

Surrey Libraries reserves the right to close the premises at any time for emergency or periodic maintenance.


Hirers can use staff parking areas to drop off/pick up displays/equipment only and will then need to re-park unless arranged in special circumstances with local management.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the conditions of hire set out in this policy may result in further bookings being refused or immediate eviction with no refund.

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