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Open Records

It is the policy of the Portage County District Library to adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. Public records are open to the public at all reasonable times with exceptions only as provided by law. The Records Retention Schedule shall be in a location readily available to the public. A poster describing this Public Records Policy shall be conspicuously displayed at all Library locations. All requests are to be referred to the Library Director.

In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code and applicable judicial decisions, records are defined

as any item that contains information on a fixed medium – paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format, and is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office, and documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. E-mails from private accounts that meet the definition of public records are retained per established schedules. These records are made available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act. E-mail not subject to disclosure may be deleted when the content is no longer administratively useful.

As required by Ohio law, public records are to be available for inspection at all reasonable times during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records responsive to a request 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.

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 office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought the Library may deny the request, but shall provide the requestor an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requestor of the manner in which the records are maintained and accessed by the office.

The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. The Library may ask, but not require, the name of the requestor and the intended use of the information, after disclosing that the requestor may decline to answer either or both questions.

Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records.

Any denial, in whole or in part, 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. When making redactions, the Library shall inform the requester of any redactions or make the redaction plainly visible, accompanying the redactions with a supporting explanation, including legal authority if applicable. A redaction is deemed a denial of a request except if authorized or required by state or federal law.

The Library may require in advance the actual cost of copies and costs associated with delivery of the records if transmitting the records via the United States mail or an alternate delivery system. The Library shall permit the requestor to choose to have the record duplicated on paper, upon the same medium upon which the record is normally maintained, or upon any medium the Library determines can be reasonably duplicated as part of the normal operations of the office.

Approved by the PCDL Board of Trustees on September 20, 2007