Paulding County Carnegie Library
USA PATRIOT ACT
OF 2001 Policy

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Policy and Procedures in Response to the
USA Patriot Act of 2001

The Paulding County Carnegie Library (PCCL) supports the President of the United States and congressional leaders in our nation’s efforts to preserve and protect the many hard-fought freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

Public libraries are facing a dilemma of having the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our patrons while responding to legitimate national security concerns.  The PCCL recognizes the confidentiality of information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired by a library user.

The PCCL strives to create a library environment that is:

  • Crime free
  • A safe place
  • A place for learning and pursuit of knowledge and information on any topic
  • A place where patrons can ask any question and discuss any topic

The library will do its utmost to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of patrons’ free access to information. The library will rely on existing laws and library policies to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior.

About the USA Patriot Act of 2001

HR-3162 became Public Law 107-56 in response to the events of 9/11/01.  The full title of the law is:  Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.

The Act may provide law enforcement broader boundaries when investigating information accessed and transmitted by patrons with regards to national security concerns.

Access to patron information may include but not be limited to:

  • Database Search Records
  • Circulation Records
  • Computer Use Records
  • Inter-Library Loan Records
  • Reference Interviews

The PCCL Policy & Procedures Regarding Information Access and Confidentiality

Database Search Records:  These records refer to the searches of the collection a patron may conduct on the Online Public Access Terminals (OPAC).  These searches are conducted by utilizing the library’s automated circulation system, Polaris.  Polaris is a product of Gaylord Information Systems.  Once a search is conducted, the software does not retain a copy of the search.  Any records of the search will not exist.

Circulation Records:  Patron material is circulated via the Polaris system.  The circulation software tracks materials currently checked out, automatically erasing a reader’s borrowing record once a book is returned and all fines are paid.

Computer Use Records:  The library system is equipped with computers supplied via a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Patrons use their library card to check out computers while using them.  The library does not assign a computer to a patron and no paper record with the patron’s information printed is generated. When the patron logs off of a Gates computer, the software erases all history of their research and activity.

Inter-Library Loan Records:  Patrons may borrow items not owned by the PCCL from other libraries worldwide via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). The PCCL tracks items currently being borrowed and generates a paper record with patron information.  Once the materials are returned and all appropriate fines and/or fees are paid, the paper record is destroyed.

Reference Interviews:  A reference interview occurs when a patron looking for information approaches a library staff and staff questions or interviews the patron in order to narrow down the specific information needed.  No paper record is kept during the interview that has any patron information on it.  If a patron name and number is taken by phone, and patron information is written down, as soon as the requested information is delivered, the paper record is destroyed.

The PCCL Policy & Procedures for Complying with Law Enforcement

The PCCL staff will comply with law enforcement when supplied with legal subpoena or warrant.

Staff Procedures:

  • If anyone approaches you alleging to be law enforcement official requesting information, do not disclose to that individual any information.  Immediately contact a supervisor, department head, assistant director, or director.
  • The supervisor, department head, assistant director, or director will ask to see official identification and will photocopy the ID.
  • If law enforcement present a subpoena, library staff should direct that person to their supervisor, department head, assistant director, or director; who will in turn direct the subpoena to legal council.
  • If library staff is presented with a warrant, do not interfere with their search and seizure.  Contact your supervisor, department head, assistant director or director as soon as possible.
  • Keep a record of all legal requests.
  • Keep a record of all cost incurred by any search and/or seizures.
  • If a “Gag Order” is not in effect, director will notify the American Library Association

Emergency Disclosures of Communication

If in the normal course of business, the library staff observes what can be reasonably construed to be a threat of imminent danger to life and limb they are to contact law enforcement immediately. They should then contact their supervisor, department head, assistant director or director and fill out an Incident Report form.


Content reviewed as “adequate to meet the needs and responsibilities pursuant to the act and not impinging upon personal liberties and/or constitutional rights” on January 7, 2003 by: 

Joseph R. Burkard, Paulding County Prosecuting Attorney
Paulding County, Ohio

 

Approved by the Paulding County Carnegie Library Board of Trustees on:
January 21, 2003