In accordance with Act 3 of 2008, as amended, adopted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and known as the Right Know Act, the Northland Public Library Authority is establishing the required policy.
Open Records Officer
The following official is hereby designated at the Open-Records Officer, at the following address:
Northland Public Library
300 Cumberland Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Right to Know Request
Any legal resident of the United States may make a right to know request. Requests may be made in four ways: In person, by mail, by e-mail or by fax. In-person requests must be made to Open Records Officer or the officer’s designated alternate during normal business hours of the Northland Public Library. Verbal requests are permitted under the Right to Know Law. However, if your request is denied by Northland Public Library, you will have no right of appeal unless the request was made in writing.
The request for access to public records shall identify the desired records with sufficient specificity to enable the Open Records Officer to ascertain which records are being requested and shall include the name and address to which the Open-Records Officer shall address a response.
The Open-Records Officer will respond to a request within five (5) business days of the receipt of the request. The response will:
- Grant the request and provide the records.
- Deny the request, citing the specific reasons for denial.
- State the reasons why the request cannot be fulfilled within the five business day period and provide a target date for a final response. If the target date is more than thirty days from the initial five business day period, the Library will obtain written consent from the requester permitting the extension. If the requester does not so consent and the Library fails to provide the records within the thirty additional days, the n the request will be deemed denied on the thirty-first day.
There are specific circumstances under which the Library can take extra time on a Right to Know request. They are:
- The record is in storage and must be retrieved.
- The record requested needs to be redacted prior to its release.
- The Open Records Officer has requested that the Authority Solicitor review the request to determine the record is in fact a public record.
- The requestor has refused to pay the applicable fees.
- The size of the request and the Library’s staffing limitations make meeting the five business day’s deadline impossible.
- The requestor has failed to comply with the Library’s policies regarding access to public records.
- The extent or nature of the request precludes a response within five business days.
Any denial of a written request for access may be appealed by the requestor to:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of Open Records
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, Plaza Level
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225
Executive Director: Erik Arneson
The appeal must be sent within 15 business days of the mailing date of the Open Record’s Officer’s response, or within 15 business days of a deemed denial and must state the grounds on which the requestor asserts that the requested record is a public record subject to release under the Right to Know law and shall specifically address the grounds given by the Library for delaying or denying the request.
Records to be Provided
Documents which are related to Library business, and which are not subject to privilege or to one of the exceptions enumerated in the Right to Know Act are subject to disclosure. The Library shall not be required to create a public record which does not exist or to compile, maintain, format or organize a public record in a manner in which the Library does not currently compile, maintain, format or organize the public record which is the subject of the request. A record provided to a requestor shall be provided in the medium requested if it exists in that medium. Otherwise, it will be provided in the medium in which it exists at the Library.
Fees for photocopies, printing from electronic media or microfilm, copying onto electronic media, transmission by facsimile or electronic means, if authorized are:
- For single sided black and white copies not in excess of 8.5 by 11 inches the sum of $.25.
- All other copies or duplication shall be charged based on actual cost incurred.
- If the records are only maintained in non-paper format, duplication fees shall be limited to the lesser of the fee for duplication on paper which includes costs of transcribing or the fee for duplication on the original media format of the record, unless the requestor specifically requires the more expensive media.
- The actual cost for mailing shall be charged.
- In the event the fees required to fulfill the request are expected exceed $100.00, the Library may require prepayment of the charges before undertaking to copy the records.