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Use of Libraries Spaces for non-Libraries Events

The primary purpose of public spaces in the MIT Libraries is to support the scholarly research and educational needs of MIT students, faculty, and other academic staff. The MIT Libraries do not normally disrupt these primary activities to accommodate non-Libraries events. Occasionally the Libraries may allow some public spaces to be used by MIT departments or official MIT groups if the circumstances are judged by the Libraries to be warranted and the event would cause minimal disruption to the primary purpose of the space. The Libraries reserve the right to limit the number of non-libraries events over a given period of time. The Libraries expect spaces to be treated with care and respect and that any and all related expenses for staffing, cleanup, and damage will be fully reimbursed by the event sponsor. The following guidelines apply:

  1. The event must be sponsored by an MIT academic department, administrative office or officially recognized student, faculty, staff, or employee organization.
  2. Use of the space must be approved by the MIT Libraries Director of Community Engagement.
  3. A non-Libraries event is defined as one not sponsored or co-sponsored by the Libraries, and not relating directly to Libraries programs.
  4. This policy normally includes spaces in Barker, Dewey, Lewis, and Rotch Libraries, as well as the Institute Archives (all referred to below as “library” spaces). The Hayden Nexus and the Building 14 Courtyard have their own usage policies.
  5. Generally, the only times available for consideration are those in which a facility is normally closed or when usage is predictably very low. Periods of predictably high use, such as during the academic term, are not normally available for events. The event should not interfere with access to and use of adjacent library space during open hours. Events and all related cleanup must be completed, and the facility vacated, no later than 11 p.m. Additional time restrictions may apply. Additional guidelines apply to events in the Barker Library Reading Room (see below, #12).
  6. Event sponsors must comply with all relevant Institute policies and procedures. See Section 12.5 of MIT Policies and Procedures, as well as other sections listed below.
  7. Members of the Libraries staff will be present for the full duration of the event, including setup and cleanup. Our ability to approve requests for in-library events is contingent upon the availability of staff.
  8. Event sponsors will be charged for use of the space at a rate of $100 per hour for the entire reservation time. In addition, any other costs associated with the event (e.g. furniture moving, cleaning, damage repair, staffing over and above normal level), will be charged to the event sponsor.
  9. Use of lighted candles is prohibited from Libraries’ spaces.
  10. Events must follow MIT’s Event Registration procedure and adhere to all Institute COVID safety policies and Fire Safety Codes, including the maximum stated capacities of the spaces.
  11. Spaces should be acknowledged as MIT Libraries spaces in relevant written and electronic announcements, and public remarks, as appropriate.
  12. Additional guidelines which apply to the use of Barker Library Reading Room:
    • During academic terms (including IAP):
      • No more than one event per month
      • Events cannot be scheduled during the period of 30 days which precedes the last day of finals each term
      • Events are limited to Friday and Saturday evenings
      • Access to the space is not available until 3:00 p.m. (including setup)
      • No dinners; receptions only
    • During Commencement Week/June
      • No more than three events, distributed as follows: Corporation, Alumni Association, School/Department
    • During summer (July-August):
      • No more than two events per month
      • Access to the space is not available until 3:00 p.m. (including setup)
      • No dinners; receptions only
  13. Groups planning events should be familiar with the following sections of MIT Policies and Procedures

To discuss the use of a Libraries’ facility for an event, please email cespaces-lib@mit.edu no fewer than 45 days before the proposed event.


The MIT Libraries reserve the right to change these policies at any time without notice. August 26, 2021