What is a Public Records Request?
A Public Records Request may be made by any person eighteen (18) years of age or older for a public record. The requestor may inspect, copy, reproduce, or obtain a copy or reproduction of a public record produced by, or in the possession of, the public entity. The right to make such a request is granted by the State of Louisiana through the Louisiana Public Records Law, La. Rev. Stat. 44:1- 41, and Article 3, Section 3 of the Louisiana State Constitution. Public Records Requests must ask for a record. Public Records Requests are not designed to simply answer a question posed by the requestor.
How do I make a Public Records Request?
To make a Public Records Request to St. Tammany Parish Library, complete a Public Records Request Form. Then, submit the completed request form in one of the following ways:
Via Fax: (985) 871-1224, Via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Via U.S. Postal Service Mail: Public Records Request, STPL, 1112 W. 21st Ave., Covington, LA 70433
*** Please note that information submitted to a public body, such as St. Tammany Parish Library, may become public record pursuant to the provisions of the Louisiana Public Records Law, located at La. Rev. Stat. 44:1, et seq.***
Public Record Request Process
- After you submit your request it will be acknowledged through a letter which signals the beginning of the fulfillment process.
The initial letter will describe the process as it pertains to the acknowledged request and lay out costs that the requestor may incur, and provide an estimate of the time reasonably necessary to fulfill the request.
- St. Tammany Parish Library staff will collect the records if they exist, redact and then send to the Civil Division of the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review and further redaction if necessary.
- The request is then reviewed by the Civil Division of the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for general exceptions, exclusions, or limitations to the Public Records Law (documents that are not considered public records or are excepted from the law and cannot be available to the requestor).
- The requestor will be notified when the records are available for review including reproduction options (physical or electronic.) Costs will be provided to the requestor once the documents have been collected, reviewed, redacted (if necessary), and page numbered. There is no cost to view the records during regular business hours of the Library Administration Office.
How long will the request take to be fulfilled?
By law, a Public Records Request must be completed within a reasonable amount of time. Factors that determine reasonableness include the breadth and scope of the request, if the record is readily available, the amount of redaction required, whether an Information Technology search is conducted, and the total amount of records that will need to be reviewed by the Civil Division of the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
For example, a request for a single file or communication (text or email) relating to one topic such as a yearly budget or a recent RFP process for a vendor, may be completed and obtain faster and easier than a vague search request, multiple terms over a large timeline, or all communication from a large number of sources. All of these details play a part in the timeline of fulfilling Public Record Requests.