In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code (Title 1, Section 149.43)and applicable judicial decisions, records are defined as any item that (i) contains information stored on a fixed medium (such as paper, electronic – including but not limited to email – and other formats); (ii) is created or received by, or sent under the jurisdiction of a public office and (iii) documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office. Public records are to be open to the public at all reasonable times with exceptions only as provided for in the law.
As required by Ohio law, records of the Archbold Community Library (Library) will be available for inspection and copying at all reasonable times during regular business hours of the Library. Copies will be made available within a reasonable period of time. Record retention schedules are to be updated as needed and the public records policy shall be posted conspicuously in the Library.
Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
- If a requester makes an ambiguous or overly broad request or has difficulty in making a request for copies or inspection of public records such that the Library cannot reasonably identify what public records are being requested, the Library may deny the request but shall provide the requester with an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which records are maintained by the Library and accessed in the ordinary course of the Library’s operations.
- The requester is not required to put a records request in writing, and is not required to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. The Library may ask the requester to make the request in writing, provide name and reason for the request, but only after disclosing to the requester that a written request is not mandatory, and that the requester may decline to reveal identity or intended use of the requested record. Furthermore, the Library may make this request only when a written request or disclosure of identity or intended use would benefit the requester by enhancing the ability of the Library to identify, locate, or deliver the public records sought by the requester.
- Public records responsive to the request are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
- Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records.
- Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation. If the original request for public records was made in writing, the explanation for denial must also be in writing.
Costs for Public Records
- Those seeking public records will be charged the actual cost of making copies, which according to Ohio law, consists of the cost for paper, ink, etc.
- Upon a request for public records, the Library shall transmit a copy of the public record to any person byUnited States mail or by any other means of delivery or transmission within a reasonable period of time after receiving the request for the copy.
- The Library may require the person making the request to pay in advance the cost of postage if the copy is transmitted by United States mail or the cost of delivery if the copy is transmitted other than by United States mail, and to pay in advance the costs incurred for other supplies used in the mailing, delivery, or transmission.
- If any person chooses to obtain a copy of a public record the Library may also require that person to pay in advance the cost involved in providing the copy of the public record in accordance with the choice made by the person seeking the copy under this section.
- The Library shall permit the requester of public records to choose to have the public record duplicated upon paper, upon the same medium upon which the Library keeps it, or upon any other medium upon which the Library determines that it reasonably can be duplicated as an integral part of the normal operations of the Library.
E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.
Employees and representatives of the Library shall be reminded that private email accounts could potentially contain communications that satisfy the definition of a “public record”.
Adopted by Resolution of the Board of Trustees of the Archbold Community Library at a regular meeting of the Board on October 22, 2007.