Public Records Policy
Public Access to Library Records
It is the policy of the Piqua Public Library to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by a written explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
In accordance with the ORC, the Library defines records as including the following: Any document (paper, electronic or other format) that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Library. All records of the Piqua Public Library are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the ORC.
It is the policy of the Piqua Public Library that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly.
Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
A request for public records is made to the Library Director.
Requests may be made:
By phone (937) 773-6753.
On-site in the Administration Office. On-site review of public records is made in the presence of the Library Director or his/her designee during normal business hours.
By mail to Library Director, Piqua Public Library, 116 West High Street, Piqua, OH 45356.
By Fax to Library Director, Piqua Public Library, (937) 773-5981
By email to Library Director, Piqua Public Library, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the administrative office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, a member of the administrative office must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requester in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his/her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. It is this office’s general policy that this information is not to be requested, except to the extent necessary to permit the Library to comply with requests to mail or email documents to the requester.
Public records 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. Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes, budgets, salary information, forms and applications, personnel rosters, etc. If fewer than 20 pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows. If more copies are requested, an appointment should be made with the requester on when the copies or computer files can be picked up.
All requests for public records must either be satisfied or be acknowledged in writing by the (public office) within three business days following the office’s receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond “routine,” such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the following:
An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.
An estimated cost if copies are requested.
Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.
Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. 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, including legal authority.
Cost for Public Records
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies.
The charge for paper copies is the same as the current charges at the library’s public copier/printer machines
The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1 per disc.
There is no charge for documents e-mailed.
Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies. Prepayment of copying and delivery costs is required.
Failure to Respond to a Public Records Request
The Piqua Public Library recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to comply may cause, the Piqua Public Library’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering the Library to comply with the law and to pay the requester attorney’s fees and damages.