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Oregon Library Laws - Attorney General Opinions
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This page includes Oregon Attorney General opinions related to libraries.  There are three different types of documents on this page: formal opinions, informal opinions, and letters of advice.  Formal opinions are generally written by the Attorney General and address statewide issues.  Informal opinions, usually written by assistant attorny generals, are more narrow in scope.  Finally, letters of advice typically answer questions posed by an agency (such as the Oregon State Library) to assistant attorney generals who provide them legal counsel.

While there are several Attorney General opinions pertaining to libraries, some became obsolete as laws were changed.  We have included only those opinions that are current or are of historical interest.  In particular, the opinions pertaining to the confidentiality of library records may proving illuminating.
NOTE: As with the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), only the printed copies of Atorney General opinions are considered official.  Electronic copies of recent Attorney General opinions are also  maintained online .

Attorney General Opinions

Library Records 
Letter of Advice to Jim Scheppke August 25, 1995
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Questions Answered:
  • What is the applicability of this law?  Are all types of libraries covered (e.g., public, academic, school, corporate, etc.)?
  • Are there circumstances in which a public library may disclose library records identified under ORS 192.502?
  • Does the law allow an exemption for the name of a library patron if the patron’s name is not accompanied by an address or telephone number or both?  What other information, such as date of birth, is subject to disclosure?
  • If a child has his or her own library card, would the law restrict the ability of a parent or guardian to obtain information about the books or materials that the child has checked out?
  • Does the law prevent a public library from using records under subsection (19 2223) for its own purposes?  For example, could a library use its patron list to mail out a newsletter or conduct a market survey?  What if this process involves release of the names and addresses of library patrons to an independent contractor?
Informal Opinion OP-5903 November 14, 1985
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Question Answered:
  • Are there circumstances in which a unit of local government can appropriate funds from a dedicated library levy for other purposes?
Formal Opinion No. 8251 June 17, 1997
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Question Answered:
  • Is ownership of stock and participation in a dividend reinvestment plan by the Harney County Library, an agency of Harney County, prohibited by Article XI, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution?