Frequently Asked Questions | Newberry

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I obtain information on renting space at the Newberry?

Contact the Events Office for further information (, or (312) 255-3595), and a staff member will send you our rental information immediately so you can begin planning your event today! We encourage you to make inquiries early, as spaces are filled well in advance.

What are the available rental times and hours?

Exclusive rental is available Monday through Sunday for events starting at 6 pm. Rental fees for exclusive use change seasonally; ask us about off-peak pricing.

Non-exclusive rental is available during business hours, Tuesday - Saturday for events starting at 8 am. Corporate and social luncheon/meeting spaces are available during library operating hours. Rental fees are dependent on the open hours of the building; please inquire for an accurate quote.

How many guests can I have?

Ruggles Hall can hold up to 208 guests with dinner seating and 300 for a cocktail reception. The lobby accommodates 80 for dinner seating and 208 for a cocktail reception. Please inquire for capacities of other spaces.

Is the library accessible?

Yes! The Newberry Library has multiple accessible entrances, elevators, and restrooms in compliance with ADA guidelines and expectations. Please let us know how we can be of assistance in planning for your guests.

Is there a price difference between on/off season or Saturdays vs Fridays or Sundays?

Yes, Newberry does offer lower rental rates for Fridays and Saturdays, as well as off-peak rental rates for certain times of the year. Please contact us for further details.

How many weddings does the Newberry host each year?

The Newberry hosts approximately 40 - 45 weddings each year.

Will someone from the library be onsite the day of my event?

Absolutely! Either our Director of Events or our Assistant Director of Events, both experienced event managers, will be familiar with the details of your event inside and out and will be onsite for the full duration of your event for your special day to help coordinate. The Newberry also provides representatives from our Facilities department, and a security guard to monitor cameras, entrances, and exits throughout the entire event.

Where can my guests park?

For exclusive use rentals, the Newberry includes use of our adjacent lot containing 35 parking spaces. For non-exclusive use rentals, limited parking spaces may or may not be available in our lot. For additional parking needs the Newberry offers discounted parking at a nearby garage, 100 W Chestnut. With our guard’s validation of the ticket, pricing is $11 for 6 hours or less, or $13 for 8 hours or less.

Does the Newberry host ceremony rehearsals?

Yes. Included in the cost of having your ceremony here, the Newberry provides room set-up, an Events staff member to cue the family and processional, use of the library for an hour rehearsal the day before, and an Events staff member to facilitate your ceremony rehearsal.

Do you have a bridal suite or a groom’s room?

Yes. The Newberry offers a generous wedding suite for your wedding party. If you opt to have your ceremony onsite, and do not wish to see one another prior to the ceremony, we can also provide an additional room for your wedding party/groom’s room before the ceremony begins, both with nearby restrooms. This space is available as early as 4 pm on the day of your wedding, so is not ideal for hair/makeup, but provides a great space for personal items, appetizers for the wedding party before the event begins, and for a “couples retreat” in between ceremony and cocktails.

Does the Newberry provide coat check?

For exclusive use rentals occurring October – May, Newberry provides coat check with one (1) complimentary staffer (suitable for events with up to 125 guests). Additional staff may be arranged for a nominal fee. Please inquire for detailed pricing and recommendations.

Do you provide sound/AV equipment?

Newberry includes all built-in AV equipment with your rental fee. Generally this includes: projector, projector screen, microphones, amplification, mic stands, and a podium. Newberry does not charge an AV use fee, however strongly recommends clients hire an AV Technician to manage, troubleshoot, and support all tech needs during your event. Newberry also requires a two-week advance testing of requested equipment. AV Technician recommendations are available upon request.

What furniture is provided? Do you provide any extra décor?

We provide a variety chairs, round tables, 6’ rectangular tables, and podiums. We also provide some décor such as candles for the staircase in the lobby and the window alcoves in the corridors and event spaces. Other décor may be available upon request.

Is there a piano?

Yes, we can provide a baby grand Steinway piano for use at your special event. For a nominal fee, Newberry can arrange a special tuning at you request.

Will the exhibition galleries be open?

Yes. Newberry’s permanent exhibition gallery will be available year-round for guests to enjoy during a portion of your special event here. Depending on our temporary exhibition schedule, temporary, thematic shows may also be open for your guests to peruse and enjoy during a portion of your event. We do not allow food or drinks inside the galleries.

Does the Newberry offer any unique gifts for my guests?

Your guests will remember your event long after they leave. The Rosenberg Bookshop at the Newberry is proud to offer a wide variety of unique reminders of your Newberry event; from literary gifts, cards, and toys by local artisans to our exceptional note card, journal, and postcard assortment (and, of course, stellar books). The Newberry Bookshop is also the only library gift shop to house a Button-O-Matic button dispenser, with buttons featuring images of notable Newberry collection items.

Looking for a souvenir to commemorate your visit to the Newberry? It would be our pleasure to help you find just the right item, from notebooks bearing the Newberry logo to one-of-a-kind de-accessioned objects from the Newberry holdings.

For more information, call (312) 255-3520 or email, or let us know and we can help arrange a bookshop visit to see our merchandise selection.

Does the Newberry have preferred hotel partners?

Yes. The Newberry has a list of preferred hotel partners which offer special group rates to our rental clients. When booking rooms, please mention the Newberry’s preferred rate. As room rates fluctuate throughout the season, please contact the hotel directly for the most current information. Please inquire for a list of local hotel partners.

Do you have preferred caterers?

Yes. At the Newberry, we have a list of exclusive caterers that have excellent reputations for taking great care of our clients. They are all in the “moderate” price range (typically $100-$125/per person for wedding events), not including alcohol, depending on how extravagant you would like your menu. Please inquiry for a list of our exclusive caterers

What if I need a kosher caterer or have a specific caterer in mind?

Though the caterers on our list may not be kosher themselves, our caterers are all willing to work with a kosher kitchen to provide the food for your event; In this arrangement, the catering company would provide the event staffing and rentals for your wedding, while the sub-contracted kosher kitchen provides just the food. If this type of arrangement will not work for your event, or if you have a specific caterer in mind, there are several caterers who are permitted to work at the Newberry on an exception basis. There would be a $750 kitchen use fee (to be paid for by client, caterer, or a combination) for any exception basis caterer working in our space, and they must be pre-approved by the Newberry prior to contract signing.

Who is in charge of setting up or tearing down the event?

Your catering staff. As all of the caterers on our list are very familiar with working in our space, they will provide all of your event staffing, as well as rentals like glassware and linens.

Can I bring in my own alcohol?

Yes. The preferred BYOB providers for the Newberry are Prestige, Mainstreet, and Spritzology, though Binny’s or another provider can also be arranged with a timed delivery. Alcohol must be handled and served by certified bartenders and with a current liquor license. Generally, your caterers provide the bartending staff and liquor license, set-up, serve, and break-down your bar. Shots are not permitted at the Newberry.

Are there any vendor restrictions? For example, am I permitted to bring my own vendors?

Aside from caterers, you are welcome to use any of our suggestions for vendors (available upon request). We allow you to bring in other vendors, so long as they meet our requirements. We ask that you advise us of your selected vendors before you sign a contract, so that we may be sure they carry appropriate insurance and are prepared to work within the limitations of our historic building.

What’s your open flame policy?

As a special collections library, we have to be very careful about fire. We do allow votive/enclosed candles as long as the flame is below the level of the glass. All candles must be at least 1 foot off of the floor, and taper candles are not allowed.

Does the library have liability insurance?

The Newberry does have liability insurance and clients do not need to purchase an additional policy. Vendors must provide certificates of insurance that meet our specifications. We reserve the right to change our requirements for any event. Certain events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if additional insurance is necessary.

Are there any spaces that are off limits?

The library’s reading rooms will be closed and off limits. All rooms except the lobby, galleries, restrooms, and designated event spaces are off limits to guests.

What’s your cancelation policy?

All payments are considered non-refundable. However if we are able to re-book your date we will return all payments, except for an administration fee. If we are unable to rebook your space, a refund will not be possible.