|Open Records Policy|
The Blanchester Public Library will manage and make available public records in accordance with all applicable laws, ordinances, and the Blanchester Public Library Records Retention Schedule. This Open Records Policy establishes the procedures the Library will use for receiving and responding to requests for public records.
Section 1. Public Records.
In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code 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 will be open to the public at all reasonable times with exceptions only as provided for in the law.
As required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying during the Library’s regular business hours. Record retention schedules will be updated as needed.
Section 2. Record Requests.
Each request for public records will be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
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 Library’s records officer to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the Library’s records officer may contact the requester for clarification and may assist the requester in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the Library keeps its records.
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’s records officer may ask for the requester’s identity and the intended use of the information requested after notifying the requester that the requester may decline to answer either or both questions.
Public records will be available for inspection during the Library’s 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 regular work schedule of the Library’s records officer; 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 will be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records.
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.
Section 3. Costs for Public Records.
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. The Library may require the person making the request to pay in advance (i) 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 division (ii) 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 (iii) the costs incurred for other supplies used in the mailing, delivery, or transmission.
Section 4. E-mail.
Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.
Approved by Board of Trustees 1/08