2003 January 23

American Library Association Adopts Advisory on Government Snooping


In response to revelations about government officials seeking the circulation records of library patrons, the American Library Association on this day adopted a formal policy advising libraries across the country on how to deal with government requests for records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act (October 26, 2001). The policy advised libraries to avoid creating unnecessary circulation records and to not retain records longer than is necessary for library operations. It also included detailed recommendations on how to handle specific requests and government subpoenas; these included having a lawyer examine requests for possible defects and to cooperate with searches to ensure that only the requested records are provided to government officials.

Learn more: Herbert Foerstel, Refuge of a Scoundrel: The Patriot Act in Libraries (2004)

Learn more from the ALA about the Library Awareness Program: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=ifissues&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=21662

Learn more at the American Library Association: http://www.ala.org/

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