Handling a Request for Library Records by a Law Enforcement Agency
Increased visits to libraries by law enforcement agents, including FBI agents and officers of state, county, and municipal police departments, are raising considerable concern among the public and the library community. These visits are not only a result of the increased surveillance and investigation prompted by the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent passage of the USA Patriot Act, but also as a result of law enforcement officers investigating computer crimes, including email threats and possible violations of the laws addressing online obscenity and child pornography.
The Northville District Library will cooperate with law enforcement as long as the request adheres to the conditions of the Michigan Privacy Act, or in any case where the USA Patriot Act mandates it.
If a Law Enforcement Officer asks a Northville District Library (NDL) staff person for a library record:
The library staff person shall do the following:
- Escort the officer to a private area.
- Explain that only the director or designee is authorized on the staff to handle this situation, and that he/she has no authority to release tangible records to agents.
- Refer the officer to the to the Director or Designee.
- If the Director is not available, then refer the officer to the Assistant Director; if neither is present, the staff person will attempt to call them at home. If not able to reach either, then the staff person becomes the Director's Designee, and should follow the procedures listed below.
The Director shall then do the following IN EVERY CASE:
- Check the type of order
- Call the attorney (Steven Schultz at Fahey, Schultz, Burzych &Rhodes, 517-381-0100)
- On advice of attorney, assure that court order is correctly issued, and if not, request that the corrections be made before taking action
- Determine what type of record is sought in the order
- Make a copy of any court order/search warrant/legal document presented
- Request that all communication be directed to her
- Verify the Identity of the Law Enforcement Officer:
FBI DETROIT OFFICE: 313-965-2323
NORTHVILLE POLICE 248-349-1234
MICHIGAN STATE POLICE 248
If not listed above, consult the phone book.
Do not rely on the information presented by the agent.
In the case of an immediate search, contact the agency represented before allowing the search to occur.
- Ask to have another staff member present, to take notes, etc.
- Get an inventory of any records taken
- Do not sign anything verifying the contents or accuracy of any records
- Do not give any records/information not specifically requested.
Depending on the type of legal document and agency presented, the director or designee shall also do the following:
If the officer does not have a court order or warrant, the director will then briefly explain the requirements of the Michigan Library Privacy Act, and inform the officer that records may only be released to the Law Enforcement Officer pursuant to a valid court order.
If the officer is from a state or local agency, with a court order, then it is subject to the Michigan Privacy Act and does not need to be acted upon immediately, as there is provision in the law for a court hearing prior to turning over any records.
- Call the attorney.
- Insist that the search be conducted with the attorney present.
If the officer is from a Federal agency and has a court order:
The director shall do the following:
- Ask for a brief delay, but keep all information/records intact! (The library staff has a duty to preserve evidence).
- Cooperate fully with the search.
- Do not discuss the search or divulge any related information to anyone but those directly involved who might need to know to assist. (For all USA Patriot Act searches, a "gag order" is applicable. Since this may or may not be governed by this, assume that it is and proceed accordingly until you are told otherwise.)
If the Federal court order is in the form of a subpoena, it is NOT executable immediately. Call the attorney and wait to proceed until you are advised by them.
If the Federal ourt order is in the form of a Search Warrant (USA Patriot Act), it IS executable immediately. The agent may begin a search of library records as soon as they serve the director with the order.
If the officer asks for staff observations (examples are screen or paper in plain view, patron behavior, or physical descriptions), then the staff person able to provide this evidence may attempt to do so. Observations do no fall under the definition of "records" and are thus not subject to confidentiality constraints. Staff should remember, however, that they have the right to decline to offer any observation.
In addition, staff should be aware that there is no such thing as casual or "off the record" conversation with a law enforcement officer in this type of situation.
Guidelines for Internet Use
The Northville District Library offers computers to the public for use in accessing the Internet, including 2 that are equipped with Adaptive Features for patrons with restricted vision. Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint are installed on all these computers. There are 17 Public Computers on the Lower Level near the stairs and 3 in the Local History Room.
The Library also offers 2 Express workstations. The Express computers cannot print and usage is limited to 15 minutes.
Please refer to the "Northville District Library Policy on Internet Access" for a full explanation of the Library's philosophy of services in regard to the Internet.
The following guidelines detail the process of using and printing from the Internet computers, and are formulated for fair and equitable use of the library's resources.
- Residents of Northville (city and township) and TLN reciprocal communities must have a valid library card to sign up to use a computer. Non-residents (outside of Northville or a community with reciprocal borrowing in The Library Network) may be issued a visitor cards, good for one day only. They must present a piece of valid identification to obtain a temporary visitor card. No one may use the computers without either a library card or ID.
- Time on the Internet is limited as follows:
With a Valid Library Card: Maximum of 3 hours per day, Session length one hour
Visitor Card (provided with valid ID): Maximum of 1 hour per day, Session length one hour
Express Workstation (NO LOGIN, NO PRINTING): 15 minutes, 1 session
Extensions on time allowed are provided ONLY when there is no one else waiting.
- Patrons with restricted vision will have priority access to the specially equipped Adaptive Features computers. You will be asked to vacate an Adaptive Feature workstation if there is a patron who requires these special software and hardware features.
- Printing from the Internet computers costs 10 cents per page for black and white documents and 50 cents per page for color documents. All printing will be sent to the Reference Desk printers, where patrons should pick up their pages and pay for them. The library cannot accommodate requests from patrons to add their own special paper into the printer.
- Patrons MAY NOT insert anything into the computers other than 3.5" disks, blank CD-R or CD-RW disks, USB Storage drives, Compact Flash and other Multi-media formats, headphones, or other approved media. Patron may NOT insert Zip Drives, DVD-RW, Blank DVD's, or any unapproved media and peripherals. In addition, external peripherals, such as mice, joysticks, printers, keyboards, and other peripherals not listed may NOT be installed or used with library equipment. Headphones are available upon request at the Reference Desk.
- The Library does not allow installation of ANY software of ANY kind by patrons. This includes Portable Applications and U3 technology.
- Library staff are available to provide limited assistance in basic Internet use, such as help in navigating the Internet. The Library offers classes and tutoring at both the beginning and advanced level in using the Internet at scheduled times.
- Users are responsible for any damage, physical or electronic, they cause to computers. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for any damage done by their children.
- The library reserves the right to limit the number of patrons using one Internet computer at a time.
- The use of library equipment to access material that is illegal, obscene, or harmful to minors is prohibited (see the Library's Policy on Internet Access).
- Cell phones may not be used while at the Public Computers. Users should go to the designated area near the elevator to use their cell phones if necessary.
Any violation of these Guidelines or the Library's Policy on Internet Use may result in loss of library privileges, immediate expulsion from library, and/or contact of local authorities as required. Any attempt to circumvent any aspect of the Library's network and/or computer security or user sign-up system will result in immediate loss of privilege.
Revised May 18, 2007
Policy on Non-Harassment
The Northville District Library intends to provide a work environment that is free from discrimination or harassment, in accordance with Federal and State laws. Therefore, it is the policy of the Library to prohibit harassment of one employee by another employee, supervisor, or patron on any basis including, but not limited to, age, race, color, physical or mental disability, national origin, religion, sex, and/or sexual orientation.
Such harassment may take the form of slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other similar written, spoken or physical contact, which could be reasonably interpreted as creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Any employee who feels that he/she is a victim of such harassment should follow the procedures that support this policy.
Approved by Board of Trustees Dec. 19, 2002
Revision approved by the Board of Trustees Dec. 17, 2009
Policy on Social Security Number Privacy
Social Security numbers shall not be requested from, maintained, or used in any way with regard to Library patrons.
Legitimate reasons for collecting a Social Security number include, but are not limited to:
• Applicants may be required to provide a Social Security number for purposes of a pre-employment background check.
• Copies of Social Security cards may be obtained for purposes of verifying employee eligibility for employment.
• Social Security numbers may be obtained from employees for tax reporting purposes, for new hire reporting or for purposes of enrollment in any Library employee benefit plan.
Approved by the Board of Trustees March 30, 2006
Policy on Staff Development
The Board of Trustees recognizes that the professional growth of Library staff will be reflected in added contributions to the Library and community. Therefore, staff members are encouraged to attend relevant workshops and become active members of professional, community and educational organizations.
Approved by the Board of Trustees Oct. 25, 2001
Reaffirmed by the Board of Trustees, Nov. 11, 2009