Patriot Act

Front-line Librarians

SomeOne pointed to The Contra Costa Times (Calif.) and This Editorial on librarians and the USA Patriot Act. Not much new if you've been following along, but a good quote for the books.

"Libraries are sanctuaries. They're safe places where we can go to find books for school, business or leisure reading."

New symbol of librarian chic? A shredder.

The traditional hallowed symbol of librarianship, the hair bun pinned by a #2 pencil, is making way for a more practical accessory: the shredder. Dean E. Murphy writes for the New York Times that Santa Cruz PL is now shredding documents daily, not weekly, in an effort to retain as little data as possible. Is it time for us to join the National Association for Information Destruction? Do we need a new term like euphemera to ease the pain of destroying information?

Libraries warning patrons: Federal government may be spying on you

"The plain black and white signs have been drawing stares in the computer room of Vermont's Sherburne Memorial Library since the beginning of the year."

"We're sorry," wrote librarians in Killington, the state's busiest ski area. "Due to national security concerns, we are unable to tell you if your Internet surfing habits, passwords and e-mail content are being monitored by federal agents.

""Please act appropriately."

"If patrons are alarmed, that's the intent." (from The Chicago Tribune)

Advocacy Groups' Patriot Act FOIA Fight Continues in Federal Court

"Four advocacy groups' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the government over how it is using the widespread surveillance powers it has been granted under the USA Patriot Act continues."

"On Friday, April 4, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) filed a reply brief in Federal Court in Washington, D.C. that disputes the Department of Justice's (DOJ) claim that it adequately responded to the groups' FOIA request." (from Bookselling This Week)

Spying on what people read kills their curriosity

the Casper Star-Tribune Talks about Section 215 of the Patriot Act by saying the Bush administration is currently waging war on two fronts: on Iraq and on civil liberties of American citizens.

"Reading helps inform the American public. If people are afraid to read controversial books or are afraid to exercise their curiosity about world events, they are no longer fit to govern themselves. A people afraid to read are a people afraid to speak out against government abuses.

Homeland security and the Removal of library Materials

Someone forwarded this email from Scott L. Shafer
Director of the Lima Ohio Public Library.

\"Let me please place a caveat on my update about the materials removal
issue raised last week: Lima, Ohio is a place of heightened security
concern in light of world events. The largest oil refinery east of the
Mississippi and the only tank manufacturing plant in the US are located
across the same road from each other. NO one in Lima, including every
one at the Library, wants these facilities to be put into harms way.
However.......


The Local Office of Homeland Security appeared at the Lima Public
Library last Thursday afternoon to \"update\" The Allen County Hazardous
Materials Emergency Plan. They were asked for ID and given the loose
leaf binder by the Reference Staff. When the Reference Staff checked
the binder back on the shelf they found that the \"update\" was the
removal of the entire contents of the manual and its replacement with a
page referring all inquiries to their offices. The same scenario was
repeated at our Spencerville branch. -- Read More

Patriot Act erodes our free society

SomeOne pointed to The Anchorage Daily News and a piece by Librarian John Iliff.
He says Benjamin Franklin said it best in 1759: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." With the Patriot Act, the safety we gain is questionable and the liberty lost -- in terms of a right to privacy -- is extensive.

Patrons Protest USA Patriot Act through "Subversive Checkout"

American Libraries Online reports that about 60 people in Longmont, CO recently participated in an event to call attention to the dangers of the USA PATRIOT act.

"Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy invited patrons to join a march to the library, where they lined up to check out books from a list drawn up by the residents’ group, including titles on counterintelligence, civil liberties, and U.S. history. “If your library record isn’t quite spicy enough,” the list recommended, “or you long for top billing on John Ashcroft’s blacklist,” participants could try such juxtapositions as A Guidebook to Nuclear Reactors with Explosives and Rock Blasting."

Hey, There's a Federal Agent In My Book!

Bob Cox spotted Hey, There's a Federal Agent In My Book!, by Jessamyn West.
It's a nice look at the PATRIOT act for those who aren't aware of the associated troubles.

"You should care about the PATRIOT Act if you frequent libraries or bookstores, use pay phones, use an Internet service provider, go to school, go to the doctor, use credit cards or banks, have a lawyer, leave the country, go to jail, belong to an activist organization, read alternative publications [like this one] or know anyone who is contemplating any of the above activities, or maybe if you’re just a fan of freedom or the Bill of Rights."

Freedom to Read Information Act Now Has 58 Co-Sponsors

At present, 58 fellow members of Congress have joined Rep. Bernie Sanders in introducing federal legislation that would remove a threat created by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy of bookstore and library records. The bill, H.R. 1157, the Freedom to Read Protection Act, would prevent the FBI from seeking \"personally identifiable information concerning a patron of a bookseller or library.\" However, the government could still attempt to subpoena this information if it can make sufficient legal showing.\"

\"Currently, under the Patriot Act, the FBI has vastly expanded authority to search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. The FBI may request the records secretly, and it is not required to prove that there is \"probable cause\" to believe that the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime. In addition, the bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records.\" (from Bookselling This Week)

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