Who amongst us librarians and library supporters would not want to get married in a library? Even if you have already been married you could still renew your vows there! The District of Colombia Council tentatively passed the 2016 Budget Support Act that allows the twenty-six branches of the D.C. Public Library the ability to charge for “private, revenue-generating activity.” These activities are not limited to weddings, but DCPL library director Richard Reyes-Gavilan needed this legislation in order to allow unrelated activities in their libraries. Reyes-Gavilan intends for all new or renovated libraries to generate revenue.
As with many ideas, this is not wholly original, as people have already had the opportunity to get married in the New York Public Library. The NYPL has a webpage dedicated strictly for this activity. They also allow the library to be leased for filming, fashion events, corporate events, and others. My wife and I have friends that got married on the upstairs patio at the Boca Raton Public Library here in Florida. When we were looking for a space to get married in, my wife’s library came to mind, and we ended up getting married there with the permission of our previous library director John Callahan III. The fact that we are both librarians in the same system and having the ceremony in my wife’s branch made this unique opportunity all the more special. Her library is our county’s first certified green LEED building, and has a spacious meeting room near their opulent lobby.
We have heard for years how libraries need to stretch their legs, get out of the building, and truly engage with their communities. Along with allowing their facilities to be rented out for special occasions, it does not hurt to find new ways to generate revenue. Library rentals for weddings ideally will allow outreach opportunities that would not normally present themselves. Engaging potential new library card holders, and showing everyone that libraries are not just the shushing houses of old, can create positive political capital. How do you feel about libraries for weddings, or for other special occasions at a charge? I am interested to hear if any libraries out there are engaging in similar activities – not only for engagement, but to balance the budget and allow funding for unique projects. For your viewing pleasure, I have attached some photos of our library Steampunk-themed wedding. Enjoy!