Librarian Refuses to ID Injured Woman


Citing library confidentiality policy, a circulation manager at Fairfield County District Library (OH), refused to identify a woman who had been rescued from a nearby river, and whose only ID was her library barcode card on her key chain.

Orman Hall, president of the library's board of trustees, said it was unfortunate that the librarian did not cooperate and suggested that she mistakenly erred on the side of conservatism in preserving the confidentiality of a library patron.

More from the Columbus Dispatch


No wonder people think librarians (and I find it hard to believe that this person was indeed a librarian) are reactionary idiots.

Ohio Code §149.43.2 (B)(2)(b)allows for the release of personal information "To a law enforcement officer who is acting in the scope of the officer's law enforcement duties and who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances. "

I can't see where identifying a person rescued from a river would not be a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.

Way to go, thanks for sticking to the ALA policy of not telling anyone anything in any circumstance. Enjoy your trial. Idiot.

Who is mocking, I am only correcting spelling errors. I do think that APs should have some guts and at least make up a name. I use my real name, but if they want to use butterflylibrarian or some such that is fine. That way we can keep all our APs straight.

Oh, I am not vindictive nor a bully, but I do enjoy a good party.

Having been a registered nurse in a large municipal hospital for over a decade I can tell you that having a patients name does not make any difference in treating urgent or emergent conditions. It's nice but it not as if we were going to look up a blood type or medical history. That sort of thing is not done in an emergency, there is just not time. After the patient is stabilized a medical hx may become important.

I still think the library should have identified the woman.

Librarians always fail to see the real issue at hand. And they think they are standing up for something or protecting someone's interests or freedom. Well, in this case, the woman's interests was not served.

Anon submitted this comment, and I inadvertently deleted (but was able to retrieve)--rochelle
More on this article available at : .ssf?/base/news/117059250235730.xml&coll=2 []

"The library's board set the policy of withholding information about cardholders, library Director Marilyn Steiner said.

However, Steiner said that after being contacted about the police request, she told members of her staff they could release the information if they were sure the caller was a law enforcement officer and it was "a matter of life or death." Steiner said the library was prepared to release the woman's identity about 10 minutes after the first call by police but was told it was no longer necessary."

Have you ever noticed that it's the members of the party of vindictive bullies who are the first to mock someone for posting anonymously? Go figure.

The library I was at had a policy on policies: You follow them, and your butt is covered. If you broke policy for a good reason, your butt was also covered. If you could state to the director, "Look, I ID'd this woman to the police for her next of kin or to get her medical records for the ER doctors" that would have been sufficient enough reason.

Lost wallets? No. (We generally took the card number and then contacted the patron with the police's information) What is my kid with a YA card reading? No. But Chuck, I'm sorry, I beg to differ. I've done plenty of screw ups at work. I've made lots of bad judgment calls. I sometimes even lack common sense. But this goes beyond common sense. This is the next rung down on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (life and safety come waaaay before patron privacy). I sure as hell wouldn't have ever not ID'd a woman if a cop came up to me and said, "She fell in the river. We need to notify her next of kin. We need to find her medical records," even if I were having one of my trademarked "stupid" days.

Very fresh case in point: There was an accident involving a homeless gentleman we all knew well at my place of former employment last week. A member of the library staff (not a librarian, but that was happenstance) ID'd him to the police and paramedics, so that his family could be contacted. Slightly different circumstances, maybe... He had no library card, for instance. But we may have saved the poor guy from being buried a John Doe and his family wondering what had become of him.

OK AP (and I don't know one AP from another) but know is not spelled now. and the appropriate contraction of you are is you're.

Have a nice day.

always happy to entertain

The woman wasn't dead. That was the big deal. You know...letting family members know, calling her doctor, etc.

Your a funny guy. I just read the Shush manifesto. The Onion needs you my friend.

Is it just me or is it that law just a tad on the ambiguous? I fail to see the exigent circumstance. So the person is dead, they aren't going anywhere, so the time required to get proper legal paper on the issue shouldn't be an issue. Don't the police have procedures for such a matter. I think law enforcement was lazy.So if you get a call from someone claiming to be the police dispatcher would you release the information? (Yes I am assuming the dispatcher called rather than sending an officer. Why assume usually they like to point out that little fact because it really betters the argument.) Hmmm.... maybe proof is in order. How about showing up flashing a badge? If you would release information without verification then I need your phone number so that I can get your credit card information, ssn, birth date, and mothers maiden name. I seriously doubt the dispatcher understood or new of such a law on the books.What I see is a management failure. The library profession as a whole needs serious instruction on applicable laws and other such rules that impact library service. I also see a board member who is on shaky ground as well.

Lads,The only people who feel the way you do are the handful of conservative and/or crabby librarians.I know there's going to be a lot of "Oh well, your liberal propaganda machine tells you to say that so that Jane Fonda and Nancy Pelosi can institute forced abortions and gay marriages on our children ... "Do you want to know what the general public thinks of librarians?Nothing. They think of librarians as often as they think of accountants, which is about 0.000000000024 of the day, if the information I have from the Fonda / Pelosi Propaganda Machine is correct.This is your windmill, boys. Honestly and truly. These internecine squabbles are for our amusement only. Those outside the Sisterhood do not take notice.Liberal commie ALA librarians and brave heroic Reaganite librarians doing battle for intellectual balance and to defeat the forces of IslamoMexifascism? It's a niche interest in a niche profession.And that lady in Ohio. Her problem is not her politics. She might be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican for all you know.I'm sure she was just scared. She probably knew that you're not supposed to reveal library information. She didn't differentiate between borrowing information and simply identifing someone and made the wrong call.The fact that there were police, and fire/ rescue and reporters all around probably made it worse.You two Billy Badd-Asses never screwed up at work?

That's not conservatism, its liberal paranoia run amok.

The information could be released if it was "a matter of life or death". It wasn't already obvious that a woman found in a river could be a matter of life or death so everyone had to go check the policy to see about releasing her name?

That's just nuts.