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This LibGuide highlights Alabama attorney general opinions related to public libraries. It is intended to be used by public library staff, library boards, and local funding officials to better understand how commonly asked legal questions related to the administration of public libraries have been resolved by the attorney general in the past. Please remember there is no substitute for competent legal advice. APLS does not offer legal advice and encourages users of this LibGuide to contact their city or county attorney for answers to legal questions.
While this LibGuide attempts to be exhaustive, omissions are inevitable based on the scope of the guide and limitations imposed by the way it was compiled. For instance, there may be opinions describing situations that apply to public spaces or municipal or county government in general, which would include public libraries, but were excluded because they did not explicitly reference public libraries in the opinion synopsis. Thus, users are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the attorney general website and the attorney general opinion search function (see below link) so that they may find relevant materials not listed here. APLS' reference staff will provide instruction and guidance to this end by phone, email, or in person.
Using this Guide
- Access the guide by clicking the tab "AG Opinions by Date" at the top of this page.
- The naming schema is "(#) yyyymmdd - opinion #" to (1) preserve the sort order of the list, (2) preserve the sort order of downloaded documents, and (3) ensure reliable cross referencing between the list and downloaded files.
- Use the opinion # when citing an opinion whenever possible. In rare instances where there is no opinion #, refer to the opinion by the date it was published.
- Press Ctrl+F (PC) or Command+F (Mac) to search the LibGuide for keywords or phrases (e.g. board; city council; personnel; finance; etc.) The broader and more generic your search to start with, the better your results will be.
- Once you find an opinion that looks promising based on its synopsis, download the PDF and read it in its entirety. This will help you discern if the opinion applies to your library. Click a hyperlink or an Adobe Acrobat icon to download a document.
- Keep in mind that, while they are addressed to a specific individual or library, opinions are generally applicable to all libraries except in a few cases. Again, APLS encourages users of this LibGuide to contact their city or county attorney with legal questions. This includes the applicability of an opinion to your library.
- Public libraries, library boards, and local funding officials are entitled to request an opinion. If you can't find what you need in this guide, contact the Office of the Attorney General by following the link below.