We help you find the books off-limits in your school district

The Iowa Freedom of Information Council has prepared this sample public records request letter in response to journalists and other people asking how they can obtain the list of books their local school districts intend to keep students from having access to when classes begin this month.

Anyone can update the letter and send it to an Iowa school district. You do not have to live in the district to request the list of books that are off-limits.

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Superintendent Xxxxxx
Xxxxx Community School District
City, IA   Zip code

Dear Xxxxxx Xxxxx:

I write seeking copies of the following public records that I believe are in the possession of the Name Community School District. I make this request under Iowa Code Chapter 22, which is commonly known as the open records law.

If you are not the proper person to receive this public records request, please forward my letter to that individual and notify me so I know to deal with that person going forward. Also, if the school district believes that any of the records I seek is exempt from disclosure, please cite the specific section of Iowa law upon which you base that conclusion.

I want copies of these records:

(1)  The spreadsheet(s) or list(s) that identify by title, author and grade(s) each book the school district intends to remove from classroom use or from any school library during the 2023-24 academic year under the requirements of Senate File 496 that was signed into law this spring.

(2)  Any memorandum, notices, advisories, newsletters or other written communication sent by school administrators to school district teachers and staff informing them of (a) the book titles and (b) the procedures teachers are to follow if any of these titles are in their classrooms or are intended for use in their classroom instruction during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Please advise me in advance if there will be a charge for receiving these records. I call your attention to revisions made by the Legislature in Iowa Code section 22.3 during the 2022 session. This section pertains to the fees for copies of public records.

The relevant part of the statute now reads, “Although fulfillment of a request for a copy of a public record may be contingent upon receipt of payment of reasonable expenses, the lawful custodian shall make every reasonable effort to provide the public record requested at no cost other than copying costs for a record which takes less than thirty minutes to produce.”

If you have questions, please contact me. My contact information appears below. You can send the records to me in printed form via U.S. Postal Service or in digital format via email to Requesters email address.

Thank you.


Xxxxx Name xxxx
Xxxxx Address xxxx
Xxxxx City, State and Zip code xxxx

Xxxxx Email address xxxx
Xxxxx Telephone number xxxx