Freedom of Information Act: Statutory Basis
“Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest.
This Act is not intended to be used to violate individual privacy, nor for the purpose of furthering a commercial enterprise, or to disrupt the duly-undertaken work of any public body independent of the fulfillment of any of the fore-mentioned rights of the people to information.
This Act is not intended to create an obligation on the part of any public body to maintain or prepare any public record which was not maintained or prepared by such public body at the time when this Act becomes effective, except as otherwise required by applicable local, State or federal law.
These restraints on information access should be seen as limited exceptions to the general rule that the people have a right to know the decisions, policies, procedures, rules, standards, and other aspects of government activity that affect the conduct of government and the lives of any or all of the people. The provisions of this Act shall be construed to this end.” 5 ILCS 140/1
Library Purpose and Number of Employees
Wilmette Public Library District is a unit of local government incorporated and organized under the laws of the State of Illinois (including the Public Library District Act) for the purpose of providing its residents with the following services: (a) establishing, equipping, and maintaining a public library; (b) acquiring and circulating book, periodicals, pamphlets, audio visual material, and other educational materials; (c) providing reference areas and a reading room; (d) providing cultural, educational, and informational programs for the public; (e) doing all other things necessary to carry on an efficient public library service. The library employs approximately 100 full and part-time employees (see the library's current organization chart) to fulfill its mission.
The library's current operating budget is available on the legal notices bulletin board in the library and on the library's Budget & Finance page.
Library Board & Committees
The library is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Trustees. The library board meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, unless rescheduled and notice given in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
Joan Fishman, President
MaryAnne O'Keefe, Vice President
Maria Di Lorenzo, Secretary
Tracy Sommer, Treasurer
Renee Cox, Trustee
Trish Nealon, Trustee
Carolyn Sennett, Trustee
The executive director, Anthony Auston, is the library's FOIA Officer.
Upon receipt of a written request, via mail or e-mail, to the library's FOIA officer, a copy of any library non-exempt public record, as defined in and covered by the Act, will be supplied by the library to the requester within five business days (21 days if it is for commercial purposes), or within 10 days of a written request where an extension of time for disclosure has been sent.
The FOIA, it should be noted, provides that a requester may ask for records rather than information. This means that the library is only required to look for an existing record or document in response to a FOIA request. The library is not obliged to create a new record to comply with a request. The library is neither required to collect information it does not have, nor must the library do research or analyze data for a requester.
The fees for copying the material requested are as follows: (a) the first 50 pages of black and white, letter or legal paper are free (b) $0.15 per page after the first 50 pages (c) actual cost of reproduction for colored copies and copies sized other than letter or legal (d) actual cost of recording medium for reproduction of electronic records (flash drive, blank CDs, etc.) (e) $1.00 for certified copies. Fees may be waived or reduced if waiver is in the public interest.
If the search will be extensive, the Library employee will make every effort to narrow the scope of the request before proceeding. The anticipated copying cost for large quantities of material must be paid before copying has begun. This shall be done in every instance where the copying cost equals or exceeds $5.00.
If the FOIA officer intends to deny a request based on "personal privacy" or "preliminary draft" exceptions, he/she must first notify the Public Access Counselor. If the FOIA Officer denies a request, he/she must (a) give a detailed factual basis and provide a citation to legal authority (b) name the FOIA Officer responsible for the denial (c) notify the requester that the he/she has the right to appeal the denial to the Public Access Counselor or the courts (d) provide the Public Access Counselor's address and telephone number to the requester.