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Library District Setting New Policies to Manage Meeting Space

The St. Charles City-County Library District adopts guidelines on how new and old meeting space at library branches can be used and reserved.

board member Lisa Pelikan may have hit on something new Monday night as district officials discussed how to manage more meeting space that they have ever had.

“The dreaded helium balloon issue,” said Pelikan, at the district’s regular Board of Trustee meeting at the in O’Fallon. “We will never get them out of the atrium.”

Pelikan was referring to what happens if helium balloons get loose in the high-ceiling atrium area of the new Spencer Creek Library Branch that set to open early next year. Helium balloons are lighter than air and may get stuck on the roof of the space.

She was assured that helium balloons will be verboten. But it’s an example of the kind of questions that library officials are now facing when its wealth of new meeting space becomes available in a few months.

Pelikan and other district Board of Trustees approved several new policies that will regulate how meeting rooms and facilities can be reserved and used at all the district’s seven major branches and other offices.

But the policy changes are prompted because the new Spencer Road Branch at 427 Spencer Creek Road in St. Peters will feature 15 meetings rooms of various kinds.

The rooms range from five small rooms, to the Bob & Jackie Houck Professional Center that have multi-media equipment, to a multipurpose room with seating for as many as 400.

The old Spencer Road library had only one multi-purpose room and one small meeting room that was used more by staff than the public.

And district officials expect the space will be in demand. 

“There is a lot of demand for meeting space in the area,” said Laurie St. Laurent, branch manager at the Spencer branch. St. Laurent said the fees that the district may charge also may be less than other venues.

Among those who may be interested in using the space are nonprofit groups, school districts, community organizations and area businesses.

The new policies set general guidelines for general use of district meeting rooms, fees, and how to reserve small meeting and multi-purpose rooms

But fees for cover costs for a “profit-making entity–businesses or corporations–who might want to reserve space are still being determined. The only fee set was $12.50 per hour for use of the multi-purpose rooms by businesses.

Individuals, community groups and nonprofit groups won’t be charged a fee for the room but some cost-recovery fees may be charged.

Library officials envision that businesses and groups will want to use the rooms for work-related seminars and sessions during library hours but not on Sundays.

Meeting space in the St. Charles Community Council offices that will he housed in the Spencer Creek branch also may be available at different times.

But birthday parties, play groups, wedding receptions and reunions aren’t considered appropriate for the district’s meeting space.

The new two-story, 54,701 square foot library is expected to open as early as February 2012, depending on weather, St. Laurent said. Library personnel have been moving books and other materials into the space but work continues on a front portico and parking lot.

Meanwhile, the board approved changing when it meets.  Beginning Jan. 10, regular board meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month rather than the first Monday.

Jim Brown, director of the district, said the change was requested by County Executive Steve Ehlmann, who wants to appoint a board representative who now cannot attend Monday night meetings

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