Charlotte Mecklenburg Library complies with NC public records law, and has established the following guidelines to affirm the public’s right to access Library records while setting forth a standardized procedure for Library staff when providing information to the public.
The definition of a public record follows the North Carolina General Statute definition contained in GS 132-1. Please note that analysis, reports or any reference material that does not exist at the time of the request is not considered a public record.
How to request public records
In order to effectively streamline and track requests, all requests for public records should be made in writing. You may complete our online form or mail/fax/email in your request. Instructions for mailing, faxing, and emailing in your request are below.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Attn: Marketing & Communications Public Records Request
310 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Fax Number: (704) 416-0700
Requests received within individual departments will be forwarded immediately to the Library’s Marketing & Communications Department for processing.
Submitting a public records request
When making a records request, the written request should contain the following information:
- The date of the request;
- The name of the requestor, and media outlet if applicable;
- The address of the requestor;
- The telephone number of the requestor;
- A complete description of the requested record;
- The title and date of the requested record, if known;
- The location of the requested record, if known; and
- Whether the requestor intends to inspect the records or to obtain an electronic copy or photocopy of the records.
- When the requestor submits the request form, a representative from the Marketing & Communications Department will contact them to confirm receipt, review procedure and outline next steps. Records provided in response to a public records request will be those documents of record available for disclosure as of the date of the request.
What to expect after a request is made
- The Marketing & Communications Department will contact them to confirm receipt, review procedure and obtain any clarifying information.
- The Library will then review the public records request, and will contact the requestor again within five business days. Depending upon the nature of request, the Library may respond by:
- Producing the record after the payment of applicable fees, if any;
- Acknowledging the Library’s receipt of the request, accompanied by an estimate of the time necessary for further response;
- Denying the request accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the denial; or
- Requesting clarification of the request, possibly in the form of a meeting in person or by phone.
- Once the Library has the complete information needed to fulfill the request, a written confirmation will be provided to the requestor with the estimation of time necessary for further response and/or any applicable fees.
A public disclosure request is not continuing in nature. In the event additional records are created after the date of the requestor’s original public records request, the requestor will need to submit a new request. Any records or portions of records made available by the Library will be provided to the requestor in the same format as they are kept by the Library.
If the requestor specifies a format in which the records should be disclosed, the Library will disclose the records in the requested format if: 1) it is determined that disclosable records exist, 2) the Library is capable of providing the records in the format requested, 3) the format requested is reasonable, and 4) the requestor pays all fees required by this policy.
The Library’s response to the request will be considered complete and final upon:
- Requestor’s inspection or receipt of the records, or;
- Notification to the requestor that payment has been received and the records requested are available for pick-up (in the event photocopies or other physical formats were requested), or;
- A denial of the request.
It is the Library’s goal to answer all requests in a timely manner.
Inspection of records
In the event a requestor chooses to inspect records, the Library will notify the requestor once the records are available for inspection. The records will be available for inspection at a date and time mutually agreeable between the requestor and the Library. The appointment to inspect the records may need to be broken into intervals, possibly over a couple of days, so as to not interfere with the daily operations of Library employees.
Records that have been pulled for inspection will be made available to the requestor for a period of no more than fourteen calendar days. If the requestor fails to contact the Library within fourteen calendar days of being notified that the records are available for inspection: 1) the records will be returned to the originating department; and 2) the requester will need to submit a new request for the records and the process will begin anew.
Duplication and transmission fees
Prior to the release of any public record, the Library may require collection of duplication fees. The Library will provide an estimate of duplication fees as appropriate.
Some items that may require fees include:
- Hard copies
- CDs or DVDs
- Duplicated site plans, architectural drawings, etc.
- Copies of public records that are not otherwise collected or available in pre-printed form and that require an extensive use of clerical or information technology resources may be considered a special service and subject to an additional labor charge. The special service charge, if applicable, shall be agreed upon at the time of the request. If records are requested to be mailed, some delivery fees may apply.
Denial of request and appeals
In the event that a request for public records is denied by the Library, the requestor may appeal the denial in writing to the Chief Executive Officer. In the event that no response to the appeal is delivered to the requestor within two business days of the Library’s receipt of the appeal, the denial may be deemed final. Appeals may be delivered to the Director of Libraries by mail, fax or e-mail using the contact information listed below:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Attn: Director of Libraries, Records Appeal
310 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Fax: (704) 416-0677
Payment of required fees
Payment of duplication and delivery fees must be made prior to the release of public records. All payments must be made by cash, money order, or cashiers or certified check payable to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
Payment must be made in person to the Receptionist on the third floor of Main Library. A copy of the public records request must be submitted with payment.
Failure to pay required fees
The Library will require the requestor to pay in full the amount owed before it begins processing the request. If additional costs are incurred by the Library after the initial estimate is provided to the requestor and paid, the Library will inform the requestor of these costs and agree upon payment terms.
In the event a requestor fails to pay a bill for fees incurred within 30 calendar days, the Library will require the requestor to pay in full the past due amount owed before it will begin processing a new request or a pending request from the delinquent requestor.
In addition, the Library may require advance payment for any future requests of the full amount of the estimated fee before the Library begins to process a new request or a pending request from that requestor.
If the Library is unable to collect the duplication fees from the requestor, the Library may, upon providing 30 calendar days prior written notice to the requestor, destroy the duplication set of records made available for the requestor in order to avoid storage concerns. Although the records are destroyed, the requestor will still be made responsible for the costs the Library incurred in duplicating the records originally requested by the requestor.