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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Ohio Notary Public Service

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, May 21, 2017

 

Over 20 years ago, our library system hired a librarian to fill the position of Assistant Director, and she was already an Ohio Notary Public, and as such would do an occasional Notary function for a library user.

 

Word got around that there was a Notary Public at the library, and we were flooded with requests for the service.

 

We found that the service of having a Notary Public was quickly becoming common around Ohio’s 251 Public Library Districts, so the Library Board approved having library staff become Ohio Notary Public officials if the individual agreed to such.  The library system reimburses the staff person for the associated costs of becoming a Notary Public, and the service is offered at no cost to the public.

 

It is one of the most popular services we offer at the library, with 19 of our staff now serving as Ohio Notary Public officials.

 

There is at least one staff member at each of our 7 library locations that performs the service, but we ask that you call before coming to be sure someone is working that shift when you arrive.

 

We also do not perform the service outside of the library buildings.  Mobile notaries can be found at 123notary.com or NotaryRotary.com

 

There are 225,000 notaries in Ohio, ranking our state as 4th in the nation for the number of Public Notaries.

 

Some 50,000 are attorneys who can become a Notary in connection with their admission to the Bar.

 

Librarians make up a major portion of the total number, as more and more libraries offer the service as other local institutions no longer offer the service.

 

Recently, the Ohio Society of Notaries under the direction of Roger Rill, President of the Association; offered training to assist the growing number of public libraries offering notary service to improve their service with education and training.

 

An Ohio Public Notary is meant to deter fraud by ensuring all elements of a proper notarization are satisfied, as per state laws and accepted best practice standards.

 

Ohio Laws relating to Notary Public procedures are under review at this time, and we decided it was time to re-train our notaries.

 

Ohio Notary laws require the individual to be at least 18 years of age, be an Ohio resident, and register in their county of residence.  Counties can have different levels of rules and regulations.

 

The library system has adopted the Journal of Notarial Acts as a requirement of doing notaries in the library, as it is considered “best practice” particularly in an employment situation.

 

There are two basic types of notarizations – Acknowledgements and Jurats.

 

Acknowledgement is the most common type, where an individual personally appears before a Notary on the current date and in the state/county shown on the certificate and signs a form.

 

Jurats add the administration of an oath to the signer attesting that the content of the document is truthful and must be signed in front of the Notary.

 

Our Notary Publics are asked to notarize any number of different documents, so the training offers education on all aspects of such.

 

Ohio Vehicle Titles are the most common document being notarized these days, and there is a long list of requirements relating to those items.

 

Some general rules relating to Ohio Notary Public service is that they cannot perform a marriage ceremony (4 other states do allow that), and electronic notarizations have not yet been approved in the State of Ohio.

 

A Notary cannot notarize their own signature, and it is recommended that they not notarize documents for relatives even if they have no self-interest or benefit from the document being signed.

 

Notarization does not make a document “legal” as Notary Public service only ensures that signatures are correct, not the documents.

 

If you use another agency or individual who charges for this service, the maximum fee for acknowledgement is $ 2.00, and a jurat is $ 1.50 with $ 5.00 allowed for a Notary who travels to your location.  No other administrative fee can be charged.

 

The library system is pleased to offer this service to the public.