Public Access to Library Information
and Records

    1. Purpose and Scope. 
      1. The people’s right to obtain appropriate information about the government’s operations and decisions is basic to our society.  This policy provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from the Library.
      2. The Board of Trustees directs Library personnel to furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law, as well as records otherwise available by law.

    2. Designation of Records Access Officer.
      1. The Board of Trustees of the Albany Public Library is responsible for insuring compliance with the regulations herein, and designates the following person as records access officer:

    Library Director
    Albany Public Library
    161 Washington Avenue
    Albany, New York 12210

     

      1. The records access officer is responsible for insuring appropriate Library response to public requests for access to records.  The records access officer shall insure that agency personnel:

        1. Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
        2. Assist persons seeking records to identify the records sought, if necessary, and when appropriate, indicate the manner in which the records are filed, retrieved or generated to assist persons in reasonably describing records.
        3. Contact persons seeking records when a request is voluminous or when locating the records involves substantial effort, so that personnel may ascertain the nature of records of primary interest and attempt to reasonably reduce the volume of records requested.
        4. Upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:
          1. Make records available for inspection; or,
          2. Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain in writing the reasons therefor.
        5. Upon request for copies of records:
          1. Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any; or,
          2. Permit the requester to copy those records under the supervision of Library personnel.
        6. Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy; and
        7. Upon failure to locate records, certify that:
          1. The Library is not the custodian for such records, or
          2. The records of which the Library is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.

     

    1. Location.
    2. Records shall be available for public inspection and copying at:


      Albany Public Library
      161 Washington Avenue
      Albany, New York 12210

    3. Hours For Public Inspection.
    4. Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records produced during all hours in which the Library’s administrative department is regularly open for business. Currently, these hours are: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    5. Requests For Public Access To Records.

      1. The Library will require that all request for access to records will be in writing, except that an oral request may be allowed when records are readily available.
      2. If records are maintained on the internet, the requester shall be informed that the records are accessible via the internet and in printed form either on paper or other information storage medium.
      3. Upon receipt of a request, a response shall be given within five business days by:
        1. informing a person requesting records that the request or portion of the request does not reasonably describe the records sought, including direction, to the extent possible, that would enable that person to request records reasonably described;
        2. granting or denying access to records in whole or in part;
        3. acknowledging the receipt of a request in writing, including an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied in whole or in part, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request and shall not be more than twenty business days after the date of the acknowledgment, or if it is known that circumstances prevent disclosure within twenty business days from the date of such acknowledgment, providing a statement in writing indicating the reason for inability to grant the request within that time and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
        4. if the receipt of request was acknowledged in writing and included an approximate date when the request would be granted in whole or in part within twenty business days of such acknowledgment, but circumstances prevent disclosure within that time, providing a statement in writing within twenty business days of such acknowledgment specifying the reason for the inability to do so and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part.

      4. In determining a reasonable time for granting or denying a request under the circumstances of a request, personnel shall consider the volume of a request, the ease or difficulty in locating, retrieving or generating records, the complexity of the request, the need to review records to determine the extent to which they must be disclosed, the number of requests received by the agency, and similar factors that bear on the ability to grant access to records promptly and within a reasonable time.
      5. A failure to comply with the time limitations described herein shall constitute a denial of a request and may be appealed. Such failure shall include situations in which an officer or employee:
        1. fails to grant access to the records sought, fails to deny access in writing, or fails to acknowledge the receipt of a request within five business days of the receipt of a request;
        2. acknowledges the receipt of a request within five business days but fails to furnish an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied in whole or in part;
        3. furnishes an acknowledgment of the receipt of a request within five business days but sets an approximate date for granting or denying access in whole or in part that is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request;
        4. fails to respond to a request within a reasonable time after the approximate date given or within twenty business days after the date of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request;
        5. determines to grant a request in whole or in part within twenty business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request, but fails to do so, unless the agency provides the reason for its inability to do so in writing and a date certain within which the request will be granted in whole or in part;
        6. does not grant a request in whole or in part within twenty business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request and fails to provide the reason in writing explaining the inability to do so and a date certain by which the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
        7. responds to a request, stating that more than twenty business days is needed to grant or deny the request in whole or in part and provides a date certain within which that will be accomplished, but such date is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request.
    6.  

    7. Subject Matter List.

      1. The Records Access Officer shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in the Library’s possession, whether or not records are available pursuant to Public Officers Law § 87 (2).
      2. The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.
      3. The subject matter list shall be updated annually. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
    8.  

    9. Denial of Access To Records.

      1. Denial of access to records shall be in writing stating the reason therefor and advising the requester of the right to appeal to the Library’s Board of Trustees.
      2. If requested records are not provided promptly, such failure shall also be deemed a denial of access.
      3. The following person or persons or body shall determine appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law:
    10.  

      Board of Trustees
      Albany Public Library
      161 Washington Avenue
      Albany, New York 12210
      ATTN: FOIL Appeal

       

      1. Any person denied access to records may appeal within thirty days of a denial.
      2. The time for deciding an appeal by the Board of Trustees shall commence upon receipt of a written appeal identifying:
        1. the date and location of requests for records;
        2. a description, to the extent possible, of the records that were denied; and
        3. the name and return address of the person denied access.
      3. A failure to determine an appeal within ten business days of its receipt by granting access to the records sought or fully explaining the reasons for further denial in writing shall constitute a denial of the appeal.
      4. The person or body designated to determine appeals shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of appeals. Such copies shall be addressed to:

      Committee on Open Government
      Department of State
      One Commerce Plaza – 99 Washington Avenue
      Albany, New York  12231

      1. The Library Director shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Open Government of the Library’s determination in writing within ten business days of receipt of an appeal. The determination shall be transmitted to the Committee on Open Government in the same manner as set forth above.

       

    11. Fees.

      1. There shall be no fee charged for:
        1. inspection of records;
        2. search for records; or
        3. any certification of records.
      2. The following fees for copies will be charged:
        1. the fee for copying records shall be 25 cents per page for photocopies not exceeding 9 by 14 inches;
        2. the fee for copies of records exceeding 9 by 14 inches shall be the greater of 25 cents per page or the actual cost of such photocopy to the Library.

    12. Public Notice.
    13. A notice containing the title or name and business address of the records access officer and appeals person or body and the location where records can be seen or copied shall be posted in a conspicuous location in the main Library and in each branch.

       

    Inquiries regarding this policy or requests for a printed copy should be directed to: Director, Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York, 12210, (518) 427-4300.

    Written on:  April 1, 2008
    Date of Adoption:  June 10, 2008

    Last updated: September 12, 2014
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