Policy Handbook

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Patriot Act and Beeghly Patrons

Beeghly Library



Patriot Act and Beeghly Patrons




Beeghly Library circulation records and other records identifying the names or other personally identifying details regarding users of this library are confidential in nature. Such records and reports of activities shall not be made available to anyone, including any agency of local, state, federal or Patriot Act Amendment without the library's legal counsel being present. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania State Law - Title 24, Chapter 16, Article IV.

If approached by such an agent or officer concerning information about a patron, the library staff or student assistant should immediately consult with a colleague and/or library director for assistance. The library's legal counsel will then need to be contacted either directly or through college administration in order to be present during any search. It is allowable by law to have a reasonable amount of time to locate the college's legal counsel. Legal counsel is needed to determine if a request, process, order, subpoena or warrant is in proper form and if there is showing of good cause for issuance; if this is not the case legal counsel will insist that the defects be cured.

Without a court order, neither the FBI nor other law enforcement bodies have the authority to compel cooperation or require answers to a question. Persistence and appeals to patriotism are not sufficient reason for cooperation without due process of law.

Although a search warrant is executable immediately, unlike a subpoena, the library has a right for legal counsel to be present when any search begins in order to allow library counsel an opportunity to examine the search warrant and to assure that the search conforms to the terms of the search warrant, including Patriot Act warrants.

In the case of a search warrant originating from agents or officers utilizing the USA Patriot Act amendment of FISA, the library will ask for legal counsel to be present to inspect the search warrant and see that it is carried out properly. The so called "gag" order which is part of the Patriot Act Amendment must be obeyed - no information about the warrant or even the fact that a warrant has been issued can be disclosed to any other party, including the patron whose records are the subject of the warrant. The gag order does not change the library's right to legal counsel during the search. The library can still seek legal advice concerning the warrant and request that the library's legal counsel be present during the actual search and execution of the warrant.


Adapted from ALA Council, January 7th, 2004



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