Public Records Policy

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (FVRL) follows the requirements of RCW 42.56 Public Records, commonly known as the Public Records Act.

Definitions

A public record, as defined in the RCW, includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of form or characteristics, except as there exempted. The definition of a public record contains three elements, (WAC 44-14-03001):

  1. The record must be a “writing,” which is broadly defined to include any recording of any communication, image or sound. A writing includes not only conventional letters and memoranda, but also emails, videos, photos and computer data. (RCW 42.56.010)
  2. The writing must relate to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function.
  3. The writing must be either prepared, owned, used or retained by the agency.

Requests

All requests either for inspection or for copies of public records must be in writing addressed to the Public Records Officer and may be delivered in person to the FVRL business office or any branch library, by mail, e-mail via the Contact Us form, or fax. Individuals asking for public records information will receive a response within five (5) business office working days from the receipt of the request. The response will include one of the following (RCW 42.56.520):

  1. response to the request;
  2. acknowledging the receipt of the request and an estimate of additional time needed to produce the information requested;
    1. the library must estimate the additional time needed to respond based upon time needed to:
      1. clarify the request
      2. locate records to respond to the request
      3. contact a third party affected by the request
      4. determine whether any records are covered by an exemption and should not be disclosed in whole or in part
  3. denial of the request based on specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record (or part) and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld. RCW 42.56.210(3)

All of the FVRL public records are available for inspection Monday through Friday by appointment only at the FVRL business office.

 

There is no charge for inspection of or locating public documents. Initial requests for a single copy of documents approved by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Board of Trustees in a public meeting (e.g., policies, resolutions, budgets, minutes, agendas) and information included on the FVRL website will be provided without charge. Copies of the policies that the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Board of Trustees has approved may be viewed at and/or printed from the FVRL web site, www.fvrl.org.

Fees

Generally information will be made available electronically without charge.

RCW 42.56.120 allows for a reasonable charge for printed copies to be imposed for producing copies of public records including the actual costs directly incident to such copying, such as a staff member’s time to copy, time to mail and the postage cost. All copies of public records with the exceptions noted above, will incur a charge of 10¢ per page plus the cost of a staff member’s time to reproduce and to mail the copy, and the postage cost. Payment must be received prior to producing and/or mailing the information.

Exemptions

Any library record used to maintain control of library materials, or to provide access to information, that discloses or could be used to disclose the identity of a library user or to identify specific library users with specific library materials or information requests, is exempted from public disclosure to protect user privacy by RCW 42.56.

Certain other exemptions, including personnel matters, items relating to land acquisition, labor negotiations, and donor identification are defined in the R.C.W. If any item is withheld, the specific exemption that authorizes such withholding will be cited and an explanation will be provided by the Public Records Officer.

Implementation

This policy will be implemented by the Public Records Officer, as delegated by the Library Executive Director. The Public Records Officer is expected to make every effort to apply these rules in a fair, reasonable, humane, and positive manner.

Any person requesting Public Records who questions the way this policy has been applied, may use the appeal process established by the Appeal Rights for Policies.

Board Approved:
Original policy 2/10/03
Amended 9/13/10