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Resources for Public Libraries

Alabama Library Law Resources


Alabama has very few laws directly mentioning public libraries. Those that do deal with the establishment of public libraries, the formation and function of boards, the confidentiality of patron records, and open records in a library setting. Even though the laws specifically mentioning public libraries are few, they are still public places and governmental entities, and therefore subject to all the same laws. For instance, the board of a public library is required to abide by Alabama's Open Meetings Act, library buildings are required to adhere to the American's with Disabilities Act, etc.

The relative simplicity of Alabama library laws as they are written has created confusion among library directors, staff, and trustees, as they more often than not fail to account for every circumstance that might arise in a public library setting. Additionally, it is often what is not explicitly stated that causes misunderstandings since the law says so little. In these cases, APLS directs concerned parties to the Office of the Attorney General for a formal opinion. A great many queries can be answered by reviewing opinions already rendered. For those that can't be, anyone, including a library, can request a new opinion.

This LibGuide attempts to consolidate all state and federal laws, attorney general opinions, and other determinations that affect public libraries in Alabama. In some cases, the guide may overlook an item that should be included. Users of this guide are encouraged to make suggestions for additions and changes by contacting APLS' reference team using the contact form located here or by using the contact information in the sidebar on this LibGuide's Home tab.