According to the Illinois Attorney General, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a State statute that provides the public with the right to access government documents and records. The law provides that a person can ask a public body for a copy of its records on a specific subject and the public body must provide those records, unless there is an exemption in the statute that protects those records from disclosure (for example: records containing information concerning trade secrets or personal privacy).
You may request documents via mail, email, or personal delivery. Your request must include the following information:
Requester’s full name, address, and daytime telephone number. We need this information in case we have questions about the request.
A written description of the desired records containing the details necessary to fulfill the request.
FOIA Officers are responsible for responding to FOIA requests in a timely and thorough manner.
Acorn’s FOIA Officer is:
Dorothy Koll | Library Director
Black and white copies:
First 50 copies on letter or legal-sized paper: Free
Remaining copies on letter or legal-sized paper: $0.10 per page
Non-letter or legal-sized paper in black and white: Cost of paper
On letter or legal-sized paper: $.50 per page
Non-letter or legal-sized paper: cost of paper + $0.50 per page
The public body must respond to a FOIA request within five business days after the public body receives the request. Day one of the five-day timeline is the first business day after the request is received by the public body. “Business days” are defined as Monday through Friday.
If additional time is needed to process the FOIA request, the requester will be notified within five business days after receiving the request. The response to the deadline extension must be in writing. Agreeing to this extension relieves the public body of adhering to the legally-mandated deadlines.
The public body must disclose the specific reasons for denying FOIA requests. The denial must also include the requester’s right to file a Request for Review with the Public Access Counselor (PAC), the PAC’s contact information, and the right to seek judicial review by filing a court case. The Request for Review must be filed within 60 calendar days of the public body’s final response.
Failure to Respond
If the public body fails to respond, you can file a Request for Review with the Counselor (PAC) or file a case in court.
PAC contact information
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
A Request for Review is a letter that must be submitted by a requester in the event that it is believed that a public body is not adhering to FOIA. It is a formal way of asking the PAC to examine a request in order to determine if FOIA is being followed correctly.
The Request for Review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and attached to a copy of the original FOIA request and any related correspondence. It must be filed within 60 calendar days of the public body’s final response or response due date.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Aside from the potential civil penalty of between $2,500 and $5,000 per FOIA violation, public bodies have an additional incentive to respond within the time limits set forth. If a public body fails to respond within five business days (or 10 days if the extension was properly requested), it cannot charge for reproduction costs at a later time, nor can it treat the request as unduly burdensome.