[Libs-Or] Policies regarding co-sponsoring programs?

Amy Hutchinson ahutchinson at co.lake.or.us
Thu Apr 11 10:01:22 PDT 2013

Hi, everyone,

I distinctly remember going to a conference session sometime in the last 3 years or so that was about crafting meeting room policies that keep you out of legal trouble. I believe it was given by a nice lawyer lady, and some of the discussion was about how to construct a policy structure that can keep out hate groups while protecting the library from legal challenges. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which conference or lay hands on any information from the session. Anyone else out there attend  with better memory/organization skills than me?


Amy Hutchinson, Library Director
Lake County Library District
513 Center St
Lakeview, OR 97630
(541) 947-6019

From: libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2013 3:22 PM
Cc: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] Policies regarding co-sponsoring programs?

Well, Ann, that's a really good question. I'm actually not aware of how any City-wide anti-discrimination policies would apply in that situation, and it's probably something I should look into. I expect that if an overt hate group tendered a request to use a meeting room, I would probably be talking to my City Attorney for advice.

Hate groups and the like are extreme cases and are not something I have any experience with, but I do have experience with community members acting with incredulity about church groups being "allowed" to make use of library facilities, or fielding concerns about kids playing Dungeons & Dragons engaging in "Satanic behavior," and I'm pretty glad that I'm able to point to the policy of non-discrimination and ask the complainant if the group is actually doing anything disruptive to their enjoyment of the library other than merely existing!

I've worked in another library that had a policy of not allowing ANY politically partisan or religious groups to use the meeting room facilities, out of fear of being forced to host controversial guests. I was pretty surprised no one had legally challenged it, honestly. Overall having a more open policy has been a lot less of a headache for me, and I think it's more in keeping with the library as a public space.

Kirsten Brodbeck Kenney
Library Director
Driftwood Public Library

>>> MILLER Anne M <Anne.M.Miller at ci.eugene.or.us<mailto:Anne.M.Miller at ci.eugene.or.us>> 04/07/13 12:09 PM >>>

How does this fit with an organization’s or a city’s anti-discrimination and equity policy? Some cities have anti-racist policies and standards. A library that gives meeting space to a blatantly racist group would alienate and intimidate me and would certainly impair my equal access to that library.

Anne Miller
Youth Services Librarian

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