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Updated and approved February 8, 2023


The DC Public Library’s spaces are primarily used for public programming. When available, we are pleased to offer the public the opportunity to rent spaces for private events. Rental fees directly support the DC Public Library and increase our ability to serve District residents. The DC Public Library’s goal is to keep all events safe while promoting quality of life through a wide range of learning and cultural opportunities in Washington, D.C.

The following Private Event Rental Policy does not apply to meetings that are booked for free to customers with a valid library card. These meetings are subject to the Meeting Room and Study Room Policy and Meeting and Study Room Rules. Meeting rooms at the MLK Library that are booked for private events are subject to the Policy outlined below.

DCPL supports the right of all customers to use the library without discrimination, intimidation, threat of harm or invasion of privacy. DCPL is dedicated to providing friendly, courteous and respectful service and an enjoyable, clean and comfortable environment for all customers. The Library does not discriminate in making its premises available for use on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, culture or ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, individual lifestyle, political affiliation or physical limitation. The Library reserves the right to deny or cancel reservations that are in conflict with Library values or may disrupt the normal use of the library.

The Events Services Department is the single point of contact for all event rentals. Events Services may be reached via email at

The Library follows all District of Columbia laws and policies as well as established industry standards in event coordination. The Event Rental Policy applies to all event rental spaces within DCPL. Each location has its own Usage Guidelines, outlining specific ways of producing events in individual spaces.

The Event Rental Policy is subject to annual review and approval by the Library’s Board of Trustees. The Usage Guidelines specific to each location are subject to bi-annual review and approval by the Executive Director.


1. Purpose. The District of Columbia Public Library maintains the use of its facility to accomplish its mission of being a vibrant center of activity for residents and visitors in the nation’s capital. When not in use for Library-facilitated public programs, select spaces are made available to members of the public and organizations to rent for private use on a first-come, first-served basis. A list of rental venues and associated rental rates may be found on the Library’s website.

2. Library Use Rules. All guests of events held at any Library location must conduct themselves in an orderly manner and in full compliance with DC Public Library’s Rules of Behavior and any applicable laws. Clients assume full responsibility for the conduct of any guest at their events.

3. Non-Discrimination. The Library does not discriminate by race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression of familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, or place of residence or business.

4. Non-Partisan. The Library is nonpartisan and event spaces may not be used for political rallies or campaigns for or against a specific ballot issue or candidate. Event spaces may be rented to conduct a candidate or issue forum or study group on a political issue.

5. Non-Endorsement. Renting space at the Library in no way constitutes an endorsement of a particular group or its policies, beliefs, or programs by the DC Public Library, Board of Library Trustees, or the District of Columbia Government. The Library or City shall not be listed as an event sponsor on any printed or electronic publications, advertisements, announcements, or tickets unless a partnership agreement has been signed by a Library employee. Use of the Library’s logo is not permitted unless a member of the Events team grants written approval.

6. Non-Exclusive. Any areas of the Library, other than the space rented by the client, may be in use by the public or other groups during any period of the contract. While the client has exclusive use of the rented event spaces, explicit permission must be granted by the Event department to use any other areas of the library for event activities such as coat check, event registration, etc. Clients may rent adjacent spaces, as available, to ensure that other events do not interfere with theirs.

7. Access. The Library, its representatives and employees shall at all times have free access to the premises at reasonable times and intervals to inspect or monitor the use of the premises.

8. Accommodations. In keeping with District of Columbia Government and DC Public Library policy, any client and client’s guest will be provided reasonable accommodations to facilitate their access to facilities, programs and services.

9. Nonprofit. Clients seeking nonprofit discounts may be asked to submit a copy of a current letter of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) or other tax-exempt sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

10. Fundraising and Charitable Solicitations. Clients are allowed to host fundraising events under the District’s charitable solicitation guidelines DC Official Code § 44-1701. Donations may be directly or indirectly requested for any charitable purpose including philanthropic, social service, patriotic, welfare, benevolent, or educational. The soliciting entity must have current registrations for this activity, including the District of Columbia’s basic business license and valid certificate of registration authorizing charitable solicitations.

11. Prohibited Use. DCPL’s rules of use endeavor to protect the rights and safety of all library customers and staff members, and protect the library’s materials, facilities and property. DCPL reserves the right to refuse any event that violates District of Columbia law or DCPL policies.

12. Prohibited Activities. The following activities are prohibited on DCPL property: campaign events and activities; possession or use of illegal substances; possession or use of explosives, firecrackers, or firearms; weapons of any type.

13. Violations. DCPL reserves the right to deny, cancel, revoke, or temporarily suspend a reservation of a client that violates District law or DCPL rules and policies; where they themselves and/or the event poses a risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public or library staff; or disrupts DCPL operations. Library patrons who have been barred from DCPL facilities are not allowed to reserve spaces at DCPL locations.

14. Reservation Requests. Requests can be made using the online request form, or by contacting the Events Department at Reservation requests may be submitted up to 18 months in advance but no later than 14 calendar days before the event date. Reservation requests submitted less than 14 calendar days before the event date are considered for clients looking to host an event less than 8 consecutive hours in duration and require written approval from the Library’s Executive Director.

15. Holidays. Events are not allowed on Christmas Day, the District’s observed Christmas Day holiday, Thanksgiving Day and New Years Day.

16. Fees. Events Services will prepare a cost estimate for a prospective client based on the Library’s approved Rate Sheet. Fees are approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees and are thereby non-negotiable. Exceptions may be granted by the Board of Trustees or their designee.

17. Contract. Events Services will issue a contract to clients wishing to book an event. A signed contract is required for all event rentals. DCPL is a government entity and therefore contract terms are non-negotiable. Signed contracts must be received by Events Services no later than 3 calendar days prior to an event’s contracted start time.

18. Payment. For contracts executed 90 calendar days or more prior to the event date, a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the rental fee is due with the signed contract to confirm the reservation. DCPL has the right to waive or amend deposit requirements if at the moment of signing the contract there is a foreseeable or existing circumstance due to a cause that is not the fault of DCPL (i.e., inclement weather, furlough, states of emergency and/or “acts of God”) that may impact the DCPL’s ability to host the event. Full payment is due no less than 3 calendar days prior to the event.

For contracts executed less than 90 calendar days prior to the event date, full payment is due upon execution of the contract.

DCPL reserves the right to cancel any event for which payment has not been received according to this schedule.

19. Additional Fees. After the event, the client may be invoiced for non-routine cleanup, damages, and time overages that occurred during the event.

20. Forms of Payment. Credit card, check, and ACH transfers are acceptable payment forms. Checks are made payable to the District of Columbia Treasury and sent to the attention of the Events Department, DC Public Library 901 G Street NW, Washington DC 20001.

21. Cancellation or Amendment of Reservations. All requests to cancel or reschedule must be made in writing to Events Services. The date of cancellation confirmation is when the Events Services team receives written notification of the request.

Deposits are non-refundable, but the Library will work with clients to the best of its ability to reschedule events up until 90 days before the date of the event. If that is not possible, or if the cancellation is between 31 and 90 days before the event, the client will forfeit their deposit. For cancellations 30 days or less before the event, the client will forfeit the full cost. DCPL reserves the right to cancel or amend a reservation if necessary due to a cause that is not the fault of DCPL (i.e., inclement weather, furlough, states of emergency and/or “acts of God”), the client may reschedule his/her event by negotiating with the Library for a mutually agreeable time, with preference being given to the Library. If the event is not able to be rescheduled, the client will receive a full refund of any payments made to date. DCPL may also cancel a reservation for changes in applicable law or policy affecting the services described herein.

22. Liability. The contracting party is liable for the actions of all vendors, attendees, and contractors at the event.

23. Insurance. Clients are required to provide proof of insurance, per insurance provisions as provided by the Office of Risk Management. Insurance documents are due to Events Services no less than five (5) days before the event date, and best efforts must be made to acquire insurance documents before the finalization of the contract. All outside vendors may be asked to provide proof of insurance as outlined in the Private Event Insurance Requirements document.

24. Alcohol. All alcohol must be purchased through the Library’s exclusive or preferred caterer, unless a waiver for catering has been granted. Self-service bars, and self-service alcohol at guest tables are strictly prohibited. Alcohol is not allowed in non-event areas of the Library at any time. Alcohol service must end thirty (30) minutes prior to the end of the event indicated on the contract. Water and food must be provided at events where alcohol is served. 

25. Tobacco. Library policy and D.C. Official Code §7- 1703.04(a) prohibits individuals from using tobacco at any time on the Library’s premises. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, electronic smoking devices and any non-FDA approved nicotine delivery devices. The Library’s premises include the inside of the building, parking lot and external grounds.

26. Drugs. The Library is a drug-free zone in accordance with DC Official Code §48-904.07a. Anyone possessing drugs with the intent to distribute within 1000 feet from the library are subject to punishment and/or fines in accordance with DC law.