Privacy and Library Systems Before & After 9/11

Karen Coyle

Outline of talk given March 27, 2002 at the Public Library Directors' Forum

USA Patriot Act

Disclosure Section of Patriot Act

"(d) No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section."

However, libraries can ask for permission to consult legal counsel (according to ALA). Permission may or may not be granted. Warrants cannot be stalled.

ALA Response to USA Patriot Act

Resolution, January 23, 2002

"Encourages libraries and their staff to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the people's lawful use of the library, its equipment, and its resources (Policy 52.4, Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records:)"

Why we Need a Library Privacy Assessment Today

Library Practices & Privacy - Conflicts

Steps in Updating your Library Privacy Policy

  1. Review legal & policy context
  2. Review current policies
  3. Conduct assessment of library systems data (privacy audit)
  4. Determine & implement desired practices
  5. Designate privacy officer
  6. Educate staff
  7. Inform users through library privacy policy

California Law

Exception to the Public Records Act

Information Practices Act of 1977


Why Do We Need a Library Systems Audit?

Circulation & Borrower Records


Privacy Actions

Server Logging


Privacy Actions



Privacy Actions

Remote Systems

Define System Rules

Designate Library Privacy Officer

Educate staff

Educate the Public

Importance of Library Staff Education


Some Links

©Karen Coyle, 2002
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.