Client Guidelines

Sconces illuminate Ruggles Hall.
Sconces illuminate Ruggles Hall.

Download or print a copy of the Client Guidelines. We ask that caterers and florists also note the Caterer Guidelines and Florist Guidelines we have for events at the Newberry.


The client is responsible for selection and use of a caterer. For 2014 rentals, the Newberry Library has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Occasions Chicago, D’Absolute, Jewell Events, Jordan’s Food of Distinction, Simply Elegant, and Food Evolution. These caterers can provide a range of cuisines, menu options, and prices. All events held at the Newberry Library in 2014 must be catered by one of these caterers.

For 2013 rentals, if a caterer is not on the Library’s list, the client is responsible for ensuring the proposed caterer submits proof of catering license issued by the City of Chicago, liquor license issued by the City of Chicago, training certificates for safe food handling and serving alcohol, general liability insurance in the amount of $2,000,000 and Dram liquor liability insurance in the amount of $2,000.000, and any other information as required by the library. This information is required before the client submits a deposit to the caterer. Failure by the client/caterer to submit appropriate documentation may result in the client’s deposit to the caterer being forfeited if the caterer is not approved. The library assumes no responsibility and/or liability for monies forfeited by the client resulting from failure to submit necessary documentation and two obtain prior approval of the caterer from the Office of Events.

All events held at the library must be catered by a caterer licensed by the City of Chicago. Restaurants not holding a catering license, outside service agencies, or wait staff companies are not allowed to cater or staff events at the library except and unless a licensed caterer is hired by the client to coordinate and oversee the event.

The caterer is responsible for providing all personnel, material, and equipment for the event. The caterer is also responsible for (1) set-up and break-down of equipment and the kitchen prep area, (2) maintaining event space including but not limited to quickly cleaning up any food or drink spills during event, (3) clearing away equipment, and (4) cleaning all prep areas.

The use of butane or propane burners inside the library is strictly prohibited and cannot be brought into the library.


We have compiled a recommended list of photographers, florists, and musicians from which you are welcome to choose. If you prefer to use someone not on our list, that information must be submitted to the Events Office prior to signing a contract or submitting a deposit to that vendor. The Library assumes no responsibility and/or liability for monies forfeited by the client resulting from failure to obtain prior approval of the vendor. If a vendor has not previously worked at the Newberry, the vendor is required to meet with the Events and Facilities staff prior to contract signing.

Alcoholic Beverages

Must be provided by caterer or client. If you provide your own beverages, the caterer must serve them. All left-over beverages must be removed that evening. The library is not responsible for any beverages left overnight.


Please have your caterer, florist, and/or event coordinator call the Office of Events at (312) 255-3595 for an appointment so that we may show them the space in which they will be working. Someone in the Office of Events will be available between 10 am and 4 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Special appointments can be arranged.


A 50% non-refundable deposit is required at the time the date of the event is confirmed and the remainder due 10 days prior to the event. Any overtime charges will be billed separately. All contracts must be signed and received at the time the deposit is given. Any damages incurred during the event will be billed to the client.

Provision of Staff and Equipment

The Newberry will provide a representative from the Office of Events, security guards, a utility man, use of prep areas, and washrooms. The responsibility of returning the prep room to its original condition rests with the caterer. The client will be responsible for the caterer’s compliance.


The library’s parking lot is available to you and your guests.

Displays and Decorations

All displays and/or decorations proposed by the client must be approved by the Director of Events. All preparations for the event must be initiated on the date of the function. Any decorations provided by the Newberry remain the property of the Newberry and are not to be removed. If any Newberry decor is damaged or removed, the client accepts full responsibility for reimbursement.


Use of votives and/or enclosed candles is allowed but must be approved prior to your event by an event coordinator.


The client assumes full responsibility for the conduct of persons attending the event and for any damage done to any part of the library. The client indemnifies and holds harmless the library against any and all claims, liabilities, or costs in conjunction with the event.