Library director under fire for privacy issues

Anonymous Patron writes "Library director Michele Reutty refused to give local police access to patron records because they did not have a subpoena and is now under fire from the mayor and borough council. The Slashdot discussion is here." They also Report The library board is scheduled to meet July 10 in a closed-door session to decide what, if any, disciplinary action to take against Reutty, the library's director for the past 17 years. The controversy, meanwhile, provides a keyhole on a larger national discussion, as the circumstance in which Reutty finds herself is occurring more frequently in libraries across the country.

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Start planning now

Since this is becoming more of an issue, ALL library directors across the country need to set up meetings with their local law enforcement. The policies of both sides need to be made known, the laws (local and federal) need to be reviewed, and procedures need to be set down for what happens when this comes up. Get the judges who would be issuing the warrants involved as well.

Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

Education is not going to be a cure for "library director for life" types. Many have spent a career stonewalling new ideas and have polished the "doing their own library thing" to an art form. They are convinced they are the seat of infinite knowledge. It is time the top administrative position in a library be opened to competent individuals who do not necessarily hold a degree in library science from an approved school.

Re:Start planning now

Brilliant idea.

The judges will never go for it, but then again they have time to look things up, and frankly they issue the orders that make the records available so they can't violate the law (well assuming they weigh all the factors before deciding to issue the order).

Most police departments have done this with their local mental health providers, I see no reason they can't do it with libraries. Of course the librarians - and directors - have to follow the rules they implement and not ring up the ALA or state library association every time they are presented with an lawful order.

Re:Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

I couldn't agree more. Librarians are legends in their own minds. They are misguided by their over-rated self-importance.

Re:Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

Yeah, my personal privacy is way overrated. Why should I want to defend my legal right to privacy? Let's just can the 4th amendment, it's 200 years out of date.

Who're Ya Gonna Ask?

If the child had seen a Catholic Bible in the hands of the suspect, would the police have gone to a priest and asked for all the names of the people in his congregations, and who might have had carried a Bible around with them, or who had confessed to any misdeeds, without a warrent? If the child had seen an IRS form in the suspect's hand, would the police have gone to the IRS and demanded all forms sent in to the IRS from the county for the last month, without a warrrent, and expected anything but cynical laughter? If the child had seen a doctor's examination report in the suspect's hand, would they have demanded that doctor turn over all his medical records on his patients, without a warrent? If they had seen a bill from a lawyer in the suspect's hand, would they have gone to that lawyer and demanded to thumb through all his records on all transactions with his clients for the past month, without a warrent?
      No to all of these.
        The legal drift from the Patriotic Act, which demands records from libraries in order to fight terrorists, now means that cops can demand records on a whim to fight local crooks. Next it can mean using public records to define undesirables. Thus it will be for the telephone records and commercial records being examined by the government. Good intentions now mean gooder intentions in the future by using the private records to catch more people who are the enemies of the government. After all, if the president can do it, why not the local sheriff?
        This constitutional requirment for a warrent merely requires the police follow the law, which is designed to protect the citizens from the police. After all, American citizens are still upset that J. Edgar Hoover used to read FBI reports for amusement and to give the secret information to political opponents in order to intimidate them by implying he could do the same with their records. Thank God that today we have people in the Republican government we can trust. After all, they would never do anything unethical or illegal with the records they have collected. They say so, so it must be true.

Don't Ask a Librarian

It took two subpoenas to get the library director to provide information on the child sex offender. Something is definitely wrong there! Bill O'Reilly help!

Re:Don't Ask a Librarian

>>"It was an absolute misjudgment of the seriousness of the matter," Horn said at Tuesday's meeting.>It took two subpoenas to get the library director to provide information on the child sex offender.

Well, the first one didn't turn up the information that was required. In order to expand the investigation, they had to get the second one. If police have a warrant to search your garage, and when they don't find anything want to search your house, guess what? They have to get a new warrant?

Re:Don't Ask a Librarian

"It was an absolute misjudgment of the seriousness of the matter," Horn said at Tuesday's meeting.

It's this kind of "my assessment of the seriousness of the matter justifies any course of action" thinking that has the government rifling through telephone and banking records without legal justification.

It took two subpoenas to get the library director to provide information on the child sex offender.

Well, the first one didn't turn up the information that was required. In order to expand the investigation, they had to get the second one. If police have a warrant to search your garage, and when they don't find anything want to search your house, guess what? They have to get a new warrant?

Re:Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

Get an MLS and do something about it. Stand on the sidelines and throw rocks all you want.-Director for Life

Re:Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

Observe how the director for life rejects the possibility of ideas from non-MLSers.

Re:Stonewalling-Art for Library Directors for LIfe

Who rejected your ideas? I'd be willing to listen to your ideas. However in changing a requirement for an MLS to hold certain positions in the library we will hardly ever agree. My suggestion was rather than throw stones and rant about being better, smarter, having a clue, etc.. that you do something to prove it. Get the qualification and see how you feel.I didn't pull many ideas out of this thread. Just sour grapes.-Director for Life

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