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Public Service Policy

Section 9: Public Access to Library Records

9.1 Public Records

Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a right of every person in this state. Records of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library that are not exempt from disclosure under the law are available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Ohio Public Records Act. Requests for records may be made during regular business hours to:

Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library

Records Officer

140 S. Paint St., Chillicothe, OH 45601

740-702-4145

Patrons may view requested public records at all reasonable times during the regular business hours of the library. Requested records will be made available promptly for review at the library. Requested copies of records will be provided 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.

Upon receipt of a request for public records, the library will acknowledge the request and provide the patron with an estimate of when to expect a response, an estimated cost (if copies have been requested), and the items that may be exempt from disclosure. If at any time prior to completing the response, it becomes apparent that the response will take longer than initially estimated (because of the volume of records requested, the proximity of location where the records are stored; or the complexity of the legal review) the library will inform the patron of this change.

Patrons are not required to:

  • Disclose their identity to the library when requesting records (a request number will be used to track communications and the response to the request).
  • Provide a written request.
  • Provide a reason why the records are requested.

If any portion of the request for records must be denied because the records are exempt from disclosure under the law, the patron will be informed which records are not public by clearly marking the portion “redacted,” or will be given an explanation which portions of the record(s) have been redacted. In addition, the library will provide the legal authority for the redaction. If the library denies any request because it is overbroad, ambiguous, or does not reasonably identify our records, the patron will be provided with information about how the records are maintained so that the request for the records may be revised.

A fee for copies of public records may be charged which covers the direct costs of duplication incurred by the library, following library policy for printing and photocopying as indicated above. In addition, actual cost of postage or other delivery may be charged. Payment of these fees is required prior to processing the request.

See also: Administrative Policy Section 4: Records Retention Schedule

9.2 Confidentiality

Patron records that identify any personal information concerning individual patrons are not open to the public, according to state law, ORC 149.432. Library records or patron information will be released only in the following circumstances:

  • Parents, guardians and custodians will have access to their minor children’s records.
  • In accordance with a subpoena, search warrant or other court order to a law enforcement officer who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.
  • With the consent of the individual who is the subject of the records or information.
  • For library administrative purposes.

For practical purposes, possession of the library card or library card number is deemed to be evidence of legitimate access to a minor’s records in the case of a parent, guardian or custodian; or to identify the patron over the telephone requesting information on his or her own records; or that an adult has given permission to another person to pick up his or her materials or otherwise have access to his or her records. Possession of library card or library card number is also required to access the record using the library computer database. The library will immediately cancel the card when notified that it has been lost or misused.

Patron records that are requested to be released in accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or court order will be released only by the director or fiscal officer.

In exigent circumstances involving public safety, if the Executive Director or Chief Fiscal Officer is not available patron records may be released by the manager on duty.