Administrative Read Reference

Public Libraries and the Law

Local Records Act

Public libraries are required to follow the Illinois Local Records Act [50 ILCS 205/1 et seq.]. The major focus of the Act concerns the rules for destruction of records. Prior written approval by the local records commission is necessary before any public record can be discarded or destroyed. "Public record" is defined as:

"…any book, paper, or other official documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, produced, executed or received…pursuant to law, or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by such agency or officer…as evidence of the organization, function, policies, discussions, procedures or other activities thereof, or because of the informational data contained therein." [50 ILCS 205/3]

The books and magazines circulated by the library are not considered a public record within this definition. Materials that are acquired and maintained solely for reference or exhibition purposes as well as extra copies of documents simply for convenient reference are specifically exempted by the Act.

The local records commission for all Illinois counties other than Cook can be contacted at the Records and Management Section, Local Records Unit, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, Illinois 62706, 217-782-7075.