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Library Laws of Oregon - Introduction
Library Laws Table of Contents

Introduction Related Oregon Laws
     - Quick Links to Information Other Resources
     - "Public Library" Defined History
Oregon Revised Statutes Index
Oregon Administrative Rules
Attorney General Opinions

Library Laws of Oregon is a selective compilation of the laws, rules, and legal issues directly affecting libraries in the state.
Because of the diversity of libraries around the state, this resource necessarily covers a large variety of topics including library districts, library governance, intellectual freedom, technology, and much more.  Many of the laws affect not only public libraries, but also academic, school, and tribal libraries.
This resource is divided into six sections: the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), Attorney General Opinions, Related Oregon Laws, Other Resources, and History.  Each section includes a brief description as well as links to relevant statutes, rules, and other resources.  Chief among these sections is the Oregon Revised Statutes page, which includes the official laws of Oregon that directly affect libraries around the state.
For an interesting look through Oregon's public library law history, check out the history section.  It includes a timeline of the laws that have significantly affected public libraries since the first law was passed in 1901.
We hope that this collection will help librarians, trustees, and the public to foster and improve library services throughout the state.  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
NOTE:  We copied the text contained in these pages from the online version of the Oregon Revised Statutes and the Oregon Administrative Rules.  We have also included electronic copies of selected Attorney General opinions and consultations.  It should be noted that, while we have made efforts to match the text found herein to the official versions of the ORS and OAR, only the most current edition of the printed versions of these documents are official.  If you or your library face important legal issues, we encourage you to consult the official edition of the laws and seek legal assistance from a licensed attorney.

Quick Links to Information

Information for and about different types of libraries:
Academic libraries
District libraries
Law libraries
Public libraries
School libraries
State Library
Tribal libraries
Information for and about districts:
Community college districts
County service districts
Special districts

"Public Library" Defined
As you read through these laws, you will run across several references to "public libraries."  You may wonder which libraries fall into this category.  A public library is defined as “a public agency responsible for providing and making accessible to all residents of a local government unit library and information services suitable to persons of all ages” (ORS 357.400).  “Local government units” include cities, counties, special districts, county service districts, school districts, and community college districts (ORS 174.116).  All of these are entities empowered to levy taxes.
Essentially, this definition means that any “local government unit” providing public library services qualifies as a public library and is thus subject to the protections and responsibilities granted to public libraries (e.g. exemption from obscenity and child pornography laws, ready to read grants, annual reporting requirements, etc.).  Please note that the definition refers to providing services for “all residents” of the unit.  Thus, community colleges or school districts that provides library services for its students do not qualify as public libraries.  They only qualify if they offer library services to the general public within their districts.