Policies & Statements

Distribution of Free Material and Community Information

As a service to our patrons, we provide space for the distribution of free materials/community information. These materials are limited to those of an educational, cultural, civic, and recreational nature.

All material to be distributed must be approved. These materials may be left at the circulation desk.  Approval for materials will be decided by the Manager of Research & Catalog Services.

Display of materials at the library DOES NOT imply endorsement by the State Library of Ohio. In keeping with the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights, materials will not be excluded because of origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation; materials will not be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Requests for reconsideration of any materials will be directed to the State Librarian. If a resolution is not reached, the request for reconsideration will be directed to the State Library Board.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on March 30, 2006

Gift Policy

We are grateful for gifts and our collections have been enriched by contributions from individuals and other libraries.

All gifts received are to be sent to the Head of Research Services. We reserve the right to decide which gifts should be added to our collections. We also reserve the right to give to other libraries or otherwise dispose of gift materials that are not added to the Collection.

Gifts and donations will be evaluated according to the Collection Development Policy, the mission of the State Library of Ohio, the value of the gift, and the condition of the material. We will not provide a valuation for tax purposes of gifts received.

We do not accept original handwritten manuscripts, disorganized or unorganized items (e.g., notebooks), or any other archival items with the exception of items that are federal government documents or state publications of the state of Ohio. Gifts of material sponsored by commercial and special interest groups will be evaluated to see that they conform to general selection policies.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on March 30, 2006

Computer and Internet Use Policy

We provide computers, wireless internet access (WiFi), and technology resources for the purpose of supporting research, educational and work activities. These services are available to state employees, State Library patrons and visitors. The intent of this policy is to ensure that the facility and resources are used effectively and efficiently by all users.

We are a state board as defined in Chapter 3375 of the Ohio Revised Code. As a state board, we have a responsibility to establish appropriate policies to administer and control use of State Library computers, wireless internet access and related resources.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on April 20, 2012

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Meeting Room Use Policy

During standard business hours, meeting rooms can be reserved at no cost by State Library employees for library activities and programs, State of Ohio agencies for work-related purposes or other members of the library community for library-related functions.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on July 10, 2001

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Rules of Conduct for State Library Customers

We are a state board as defined in Chapter 3375 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). As a state board, we have a responsibility to establish policies and rules to administer our facilities and collections.

We strive to make available a facility that is clean and comfortable to support the varied research needs of our patrons. To ensure a pleasant environment that is conducive to the needs of all library patrons, we have adopted Rules of Conduct. These rules apply to all library patrons while on library property.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on March 16, 2017

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Talking Book Distribution Policy

The National Library Service (NLS) Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped recommended that each organization offering access to Digital Talking Book Machines (DTBM) develop a set of priorities for the distribution of DTBMs to end users.

Policy approved by the State Library Board on October 25, 2007

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Unattended Children Policy

We are not responsible for the supervision of unattended children. Any child on the premises should be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for the child’s conduct. Unsupervised or unruly children are subject to removal.

Library staff will attempt to contact the parent or adult caregiver of an unattended child. In the event that a parent or adult caregiver cannot be reached, law enforcement personnel (Columbus Police or State Highway Patrol) may be contacted. The decision to contact law enforcement rests with the Deputy State Librarian for Library Services, or his/her designee.

Adopted by the State Library Board on September 26, 2002.

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View more information about using the library on the Access & Privileges webpage.

Privacy Policy Statement

The State Library of Ohio recognizes the importance of privacy to our website visitors. The State Library collects personal information from our website visitors only when information is provided voluntarily.

What Information is Collected and How it is Used

In order to generate usage statistics to aid in improving our online services the following non-personal general information is collected for a six–month time period and then destroyed:

  • The IP address of the client accessing the website
  • The date and time of the visit
  • The IP address of the referring site from which the client arrived at our Website

Cookies are used at this site for the sole purpose of maintaining state (ability to provide connection during an online session) for online searches of the library’s online public access catalog, OhioLINK databases and intermittently to avoid duplicate entries on class lists.

State Library of Ohio only collects personal information when necessary to provide a service to the public or state agencies. Information collected on the website including online forms as well as email sent to any State Library employee may be shared amongst the State Library staff in order to respond to or process the email or online form. This information is generally subject to state open records laws except as provided by Ohio or Federal law.

Choices Available to Visitors Regarding Collection, Use and Distribution of Information

This information is only collected at the request of the individual. In short, the individual has control over the ways personal information is used by choosing to obtain a library card or not.

The following information is collected for individuals requesting a State Library of Ohio library card:

  • Name
  • Work address (State of Ohio employees only)
  • Home address
  • Telephone number
  • Home address

This information, protected by law, is considered confidential and is never released for public viewing. It is used solely for purposes of contacting the individual in delivery of services and validating the individuals identity when accessing the library’s online resources.

Security Measures to Protect Information Under the Control of State Library of Ohio

We take very seriously the integrity of the information and systems on which this information is maintained. As such, the following security measures have been implemented for all information systems we maintain.

  • Software programs to monitor traffic identifying unauthorized attempts to upload, change or access protected information and systems, or otherwise cause damage.
  • Regular backups of systems.

In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.

3375-5-04 Confidentiality statutes.

The following federal statutes or regulations or state statutes and administrative rules make personal information maintained by the agency confidential and identify the confidential personal information within the scope of rules promulgated by this agency in accordance with section 1347.15 of the Revised Code:

(A) Releasing library record or patron information: section 149.432 of the Revised Code.

Effective: 08/12/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 08/12/2016
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 3375.01, 1347.15
Rule Amplifies: 1347.15

View more information about using the library on the Access & Privileges webpage.

Public Records

I. Public Records Defined. The State Library of Ohio, in accordance with the Public Records Act (Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code), defines a “public record” as including the following:

Any item (1) that is stored on a fixed medium (i.e. paper, computer, film); (2) that is created, received, or sent by a public office; and (3) that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the State Library of Ohio.

A.  Public Record Status Dependent on Use and Substance. The determination of whether a particular item is a public record focuses on the use and substance of the document or record, not on the form of the document or record, or where or how it was created.

B.  E-mail as Public Record. Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Public Records Act when their content relates to the business of the office, or are used to conduct public business. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.

Use of Private E-mail Accounts for Public Business. The State Library of Ohio encourages the use of State e-mail accounts to conduct public business. However, the State Library recognizes that staff cannot always prevent third-parties from sending e-mails related to public business to staff private e-mail accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, or any other private internet provider accounts). Any correspondence and/or documents created with or in private e-mail accounts which are used to conduct public business are public records and subject to disclosure. State Library employees are instructed to retain any private-account e-mails that relate to public business and to copy them to their State e-mail accounts and/or to the State Library’s Record Officer.

II. Public Record Maintenance and Organization. The State Library shall organize and maintain all public records in a manner that serves both the administrative needs of the office, as well as the public’s interest in the availability of those records for inspection and copying.

A. State Library of Ohio’s Record Officer. The State Librarian shall designate a Record Officer who shall have the authority and responsibility of agency record officers as set forth at Chapter 149:1-1-02(A) of the Ohio Administrative Code. The record officer shall also act as the coordinator for State Library records maintenance, as well as the coordinator of all responses made to requests for public records.

B. Record Retention Schedule to be Posted. The State Library record retention schedules are to be updated regularly and posted prominently at the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) website: http://das.ohio.gov/Divisions/GeneralServices/StatePrintingandMailServices/RecordsManagement/tabid/265/Default.aspx

III. Record Requests. Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:

A. Identification of Requested Record(s). Although the Public Records Act does not require that specific language is required to make a public records request, the requester must identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve, and review those records. If a request is received by the State Library, and it is not clear what records are being sought, the Record Officer will contact the requester for clarification, and assist the requester in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the office maintains its records.

B. Form of Request. Requesters are encouraged to make any and all public records requests to the State Library in written form. While the requester does not have to put a records request in writing, a written request enables the State Library to identify responsive records with greater speed and accuracy, and to maintain a log of requests and responses.

1. Identification of Requester and Intended Use of Records. A requester does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record(s). It is the State Library’s general policy that this information is not to be requested. In some cases, however, such information could enhance the ability of the State Library to identify, locate, and/or deliver responsive public records in response to the request. If the Record Officer reviews a public records request and determines in his or her reasonable judgment that additional information would enhance the State Library’s ability to identify, locate and/or deliver responsive records, State Library staff may ask the requester to: (i) put the request in writing, (ii) provide his or her name and address, and/or (iii) explain the purpose of the request or intended use of the information provided that the requester is informed that a written request is not mandatory and that the requester may decline to reveal his or her identity, address and the intended use of the records.

2. Identification of Requester Contact Information. While the State Library respects the right of requesters to withhold their identity, the State Library does require that requesters provide a means for the State Library to communicate with them about their request, and to ultimately identify the location where responsive public records are to be forwarded. Said means of communication may consist of an e-mail address, mailing address or P.O. box, or telephone number.

3. Public Record Request Log. All public record requests shall be entered into a log to record the following: name (if provided) and address (mail or e-mail) of requester; date request received; records requested; redactions and/or exemptions asserted (if any); and date of response.

C.  Availability of Records. Public Records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours. 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 form of the requested records; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any pre-release review of the records requested.

D. Responses to be Completed within a Reasonable Time. Responses to public record requests will be completed in a reasonable time taking into account the scope of the request, the ease or difficultyof identifying, compiling and reviewing potentially responsive records, and the operational needs of the State Library.

1. Routine Requests. Routine requests for records should be satisfied in an expedient manner. Routine requests include requests for materials that do not require either an extensive search for responsive documents or detailed pre-release review (e.g. press releases, forms and applications, and personnel rosters). However, if more than fifty (50) pages of copies are requested, it may be necessary for the State Library either to schedule an appointment with the requester for hand-delivery or to request an address where copies can be mailed or e-mailed.

2. Non-Routine Requests. If a request is deemed beyond “routine”, such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring an extensive search for materials or pre-release review, the State Library shall acknowledge receipt of the request in writing. Further, the written acknowledgement must include the following:

a. An estimate of the time it will take to satisfy the request;

b. An estimated cost to be borne by the requester if the request is fulfilled or an indication that any such costs will be waived; and

c. Identification of the type of items within the responsive records that may be exempt from disclosure and/or subject to redaction.

3. Review of All Requests.

a. Notice to Record Officer. All public record requests will be referred promptly to the Record Officer within three (3) working days of receipt of the request. The Record Officer will assist, coordinate and supervise the response to all public records requests.

b. Pre-release Review. The State Library of Ohio has an affirmative duty to review any and all records deemed initially responsive to a public records request. This pre-release review is required to prevent disclosure of personal information that may be protected by state and federal privacy laws (i.e., certain Social Security, account numbers and medical information), and certain confidential records which must not be disclosed under penalty of law (i.e. certain investigatory, criminal and education records). Additionally, documents must undergo a pre-release review to identify material protected by attorney-client and executive privilege, as well as to redact critical security and infrastructure records. Such records may be exempt from public disclosure under the Ohio Public Records Act.

c. Waiver of Exemption. The availability of a privilege or an exemption under Ohio law shall not result in the automatic assertion of such privilege or exemption by the State Library to deny the release of any public record, or any part of a public record. The State Library will evaluate each potential assertion of any privilege or exemption by weighing the public’s interest in disclosure against the public’s interest in preventing the release of protected and confidential information. The State Library may choose to waive any and all available assertions of privilege or exemption when providing responsive materials to a public records request. Waiver of any privilege and/or exemption should not be construed to waive, and does not in fact waive, any right to the future assertion of privilege and/or exemption.

d.  Denial of Public Records Request. 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 remainder released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.

E. Calculation of Costs for Public Records.

1.  Actual Costs. Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies, including charges for the following:

a. The charge for paper copies is 10 cents ($.10) per 8 ½” by 11” page. Two-sided photocopies shall be charged at the rate of 10 cents ($.10) per page.

b. Documents which require copies larger than 8 ½” by 11” may require the payment of an additional fee which shall reflect the actual costs of copying.

c. The charge for downloaded computer files to a disc is one dollar ($1.00) per disc.

d. There is no charge for documents e-mailed, except where third-party software and/or services are required to e-mail large electronic files.

e. Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They may be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.

2. Pre-payment of Costs. Advance payment may be required for all actual costs which are anticipated to exceed ten dollars ($10.00).

3. Waiver of Costs. The State Library of Ohio may choose to waive any and all costs associated with compliance with a public records request. Any waiver of costs should not be construed to waive, and does not in fact waive any right to the assertion of the State Library to request and collect actual costs of compliance with a later public records request.