Virtual Meeting Spaces

A new virtual service easily connects Oak Park groups who want to gather and communicate online. Oak Park cardholders can now set up and run their own virtual meetings with support from trained library staff. Three virtual meeting spaces are available from the library through Zoom, a web-based software that requires a device and an Internet connection to participate.

Person using Zoom on computer

How it works, in three easy steps

  1. Submit a virtual meeting reservation request »
  2. Receive confirmation of your virtual meeting’s day, time, and host (either you or the person you determine will host your meeting).
  3. Receive a Zoom link to your virtual meeting.

Public spaces to learn, collaborate & create

As in our physical meeting spaces in library buildings, you can use a virtual meeting space for business meetings, an event with a speaker and slides, or your book club, for example. Each meeting can have up to 300 attendees and run for 4 hours or less. Oak Park Public Library staff will start the meeting for you and introduce you to using options in Zoom.


  • To reserve a virtual meeting space, you must be an Oak Park Public Library cardholder and 18 years or older.
  • Each meeting is limited to 4 hours or less, with 300 participants or less.
  • Meetings can be held only during Main Library building hours.
  • All requests are subject to approval. Please submit your request as far in advance as possible of your desired meeting date for the best chances of approval.
  • Types of events/meetings permitted: educational, cultural, political, civic, or charitable. 
  • Types of events not permitted: commercial educational presentations. Also not permitted: selling or buying of goods or services, soliciting donations, or charging fees, either prior to a reservation or on the day of your meeting.
  • About promotion: The library does not do any promotion, including acceptance of Facebook event co-host invitations, for virtual meeting room rentals. On your promotional materials, please use your own organization/organizer contact information such as your website, your email, and your phone number. Please do not use the library logo or the library telephone number as a point of contact for more information.

We provide support with your meeting

  • Fifteen minutes before the meeting start time, a library staff member will share a brief introduction of Zoom with the meeting host. 
  • If you choose, you can also schedule a learning session with library staff to understand more about how Zoom works. 
  • Library staff will leave your meeting once it starts but will be available for support should any technical issues arise.
  • Looking for more on how it all works? See FAQs below »

By reserving a virtual meeting space, you agree to the following waiver of liability

INTENDING TO BE LEGALLY BOUND, I hereby agree with the Oak Park Public Library as follows: I have requested the use of Library licensed virtual meeting rooms. It is intended that an online event or gathering of persons will be held during my requested timeslot (or another suitable time should it be required). The Library is willing to make the service available as a community service. I understand and agree that the Library has no funds or resources to supervise or monitor the arrival of visitors to that virtual meeting or gathering, the conduct of visitors at the virtual meeting or gathering, or the departure of persons from the virtual meeting or gathering. I, for myself and for all those who attend or appear, hereby waive any and all rights me or any who attend or appear might have to anything that occurs or arises out of the event or gathering, or the use of the premises. I agree that we will indemnify and hold harmless the Library from any and all claims, causes of action, costs, expenses, or losses including reasonable counsel fees which might arise out of the use of Library virtual meeting room for the event or gathering with the exception of liability which arises from the negligence of the Library itself. I specifically warrant and represent that we are authorized to agree to this agreement, waiver, and indemnification for the persons, parties, organization, or organizations who have scheduled the event or gathering or sponsored it.

Getting started, frequently asked questions

Oak Park Public Library will provide access to three virtual meeting spaces via Zoom Video Conferencing. Inside one of these spaces, you can video chat, text chat, share screens, conduct voting in a poll, give a lecture, etc. with up to 300 people. As in our meeting spaces in the library building, you can use a virtual meeting space for business meetings, an event with a speaker and slides, or a book club, for example. Oak Park Public Library staff will start the meeting for you and introduce you to using options in Zoom.

You are able to reserve Oak Park Public Library’s virtual meeting spaces for meetings that occur during Main Library building hours. Selecting a meeting time is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Visit the library’s calendar to submit your request »
  2. After you submit your request, Oak Park Public Library staff will email you to confirm the day and time of your meeting and an invitation with details regarding connecting to your meeting.
  3. Share the meeting invitation that you received from Oak Park Public Library with your desired participants. Please note that to ensure the safety of your meeting, do not post this invitation or the meeting link in any public websites or social media.

If you have any questions about this service, please contact us.

Any Oak Park resident over the age of 18 is welcome to reserve a virtual meeting space. To ensure only community members have access to this resource, we do require that you have a library card with the Oak Park Public Library.  If you live in Oak Park but do not have a library card, you can sign up for one today and use it right away.

Rooms can be reserved in 30-minute increments. Please note that library staff will build in an additional 15 minutes before your meeting start time so that staff and the meeting host can review how Zoom virtual meeting spaces work before they give control to the host.

Meetings can be held only during Main Library building hours.

If you can use the Internet to connect, Zoom has clients for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and ChromeOS. A device with a web camera is always helpful, but if you do not have a device or Internet, you can use a phone for audio, although please check the type of phone number as long distance charges may apply if you call a number that is not local. For more information, please see Zoom’s System Requirement page.

About 15 minutes before your meeting’s start time, library staff will start the Zoom meeting. You or your meeting’s host will join the meeting at the same time. When you log into Zoom, please use the same name used when scheduling. 

You and library staff will then review options of the virtual meeting space and hosting options. 

Library staff then will pass hosting duties to you/your host and leave the meeting.

If you have any technical issues that need attention after staff have left, please use the library’s virtual chat to contact a library staff member for assistance.

As host of the virtual meeting space, you have the same options as a participant. However, you have additional abilities, such as determining how participants share their screens, removing and muting participants, and more. 

Screen sharing: At the bottom of your screen you will see the green Share Screen button. When you click on that button, you will be prompted to select to share your whole screen or a specific window. To stop sharing your screen, click on the red stop button at the top of your screen. The arrow to the right of the Share Screen button gives you Advanced Sharing Options that allow all participants to share their screens, but the most secure option is to allow Only Host. Nonetheless, please select the setting most appropriate for your needs.

If you do allow for screen sharing, we recommend you designate the specific people that you would like to be able to screen share as co-hosts and leave the sharing default as Only Host. This option will allow screen sharing only by the co-hosts and you (the host). See more on co-hosts below.

Once you start sharing your screen, you also will see some new options in addition to Stop Share, such as Pause and Annotate.

Co-hosts: You may want to designate a co-host if you have a few other participants sharing their screen, want assistance with a large crowd, or otherwise have needs that would benefit from having other people’s help. To designate a co-host, click on Participants in the center at the bottom of the window. Hover over the name of the participant that you want to make a co-host and click on More. Then, select Make Co-Host. If you want to remove a co-host at any time, you would follow these same steps and then select Remove Co-Host. 

A co-host can share their screen even if the sharing options are for Only Host. They can remove people from the meeting, and if they are connected with the Zoom app, they have access to the Security options.

Removing a participant: If you ever need to remove a participant, click on Participants in the center at the bottom of the window. Hover over the name of the participant that you want to remove and click on More. Then, select Remove Participant. In addition to removing a participant, muting or stopping the videos of participants can be helpful if you are getting persistent audio feedback.

Invite: Hopefully, all of your participants arrived from the invitation that you sent. However, if you need to invite someone during the meeting, click Invite at the bottom of the window for participants.

With a Zoom virtual meeting spaces invitation, you have everything that you need to connect to a Zoom virtual meeting space hosted through the Oak Park Public Library.

Let’s take a look at the invitation and see our options.

You are able to connect to a Zoom virtual meeting space in three ways:

  1. Your Zoom app (must be downloaded).
  2. Your web browser.
  3. Your phone after dialing the number in the invitation.

With the Zoom app
When connecting, it’s important to note that you do not have to make an account with Zoom. You will be prompted to download the app, which will streamline the experience for you and is free.

If you click on the link in the invitation and launch it in the Zoom app, you will be presented with a series of options. Please note that it’s generally easier to connect through your computer’s audio, but if you are not able to connect in this way, you can call into the meeting for the audio. You can do this by selecting the Phone Call tab.

Through your web browser
If you want to open the meeting in your browser without the app, you can. In the window that prompts you to open the meeting in, click Cancel, and at the bottom of your browser, select Start from your browser.

If you arrive early to a meeting, you may receive a message that the meeting has not started yet. Give a moment to allow Oak Park staff the time to start the meeting. If you are waiting for a prolonged time, make sure you have clicked on the correct Zoom invitation.

Once you are in a Zoom virtual meeting space, you will see many options. If you connect by a phone call, you will have limited options. If you connect through the app or a browser, you will have 8 main options.

  1. Your microphone will be at the bottom of the window on the left side. You and your meeting attendees will start the meeting with your microphones muted, so your first step as meeting host will be to unmute yourself by clicking on the microphone. The arrow to the right of the microphone will give you different audio options.
  2. Your video will be at the bottom of the window on the left side to the right of the microphone. You and your meeting attendees will start the meeting with your video off, so your second step as meeting host will be to start your video by clicking on the camera. The arrow to the right of the camera will give you different video options, including choosing a virtual background. (Did you know that the Oak Park Public Library has its own virtual backgrounds? Get virtual backgrounds »)
  3. If you click on Participants at the center of the bottom of your window, you can see all of your participants and control their audio and video.
  4. If you had us create a poll for you for your meeting, you can click on polls at the center of the bottom of your window. Once you launch the polling, all of your participants will be able to answer the questions with a single choice or multiple choices depending on how you chose to create the poll. You even can share your results with your participants!
  5. If you click on Chat at the center of the bottom of your window, your chat box will open. Please note that there are options to chat with everyone publicly or the host only.
  6. If you click on Share Screen at the center of the bottom of your window, you can share segments of your screen or your entire screen. You even can share a whiteboard! Please note that only the meeting host has the ability to share their screen unless they give participants the ability to share their screen.
  7. If you click on Breakout Rooms at the center of the bottom of the window, you can assign participants to other rooms to have small group discussions.
  8. When you want to leave the meeting, click on the red End button at the right of the bottom of the window.

As so many people are using Zoom and other services, privacy and security are concerns. Thankfully, by taking some actions, we can ensure that you are safely able to meet virtually.

How the library supports you
Oak Park Public Library staff created these virtual meeting spaces to help ensure that your virtual meetings are secure by using the following best practices with your help:

  • Most importantly, we always generate a password for your meetings. Most concerns are greatly reduced by this step.
  • We encourage you to not publicly post your Zoom virtual meeting space invitation or meeting link. Please email the invitation directly to those interested in or registered for your meeting.
  • It is always best to limit screen sharing capability to the co-hosts that you designate.

What you can do on your own

What is up to Zoom
A number of Zoom security and privacy vulnerabilities have been in the news. Thankfully, it appears that Zoom is starting to take these vulnerabilities as seriously as the problems warrant. They have been pushing out regular security updates to their app and have focused all development resources on resolving these issues. Another reason to please keep your Zoom app updated.

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