This policy supports the mission of the Wilmington Memorial Library “to ensure that all people of Wilmington have free and open access to information and ideas.” The library will do its utmost to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of patrons? free access to information. Wilmington Memorial Library complies with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7, which states “that part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity of a person using such library shall not be a public record.” Library staff shall not disclose any information about a library user’s records including but not limited to circulation, patron registration, interlibrary loan, computer records, and reserve requests.
Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which supersedes state confidentiality laws, a subpoena or a search warrant presented by the FBI requires the library to provide all information requested. Library staff will comply with law enforcement and follow these procedures when presented with a legal subpoena or a search warrant.
Procedures for Complying with Law Enforcement
- If a law enforcement official requests information about a library user, the front-line library staff person should immediately contact the Library Director. The front-line staff person should not disclose any information. If the Library Director is out of the building, an attempt should be made to contact the Library Director. In the case that the Library Director cannot be reached, the Reference and Adult Services Librarian will act in the Library Director’s behalf. In the absence of the Reference and Adult Services Librarian, the Head of Technical Services or the Children’s Librarian will act in the Library Director’s behalf.
- The Library Director will ask to see official identification and will photocopy the ID.
- If presented a subpoena or a search warrant, the Library Director will contact Town Counsel immediately. (Note: Town Counsel has the right to review all subpoenas. You are not required to give out information until legal counsel has reviewed the subpoena. However, a search warrant may be executed immediately by the officer.)
- The Library Director will request that Counsel be present during the execution of a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) search warrant. (Note: FBI may not allow this, but it still should be asked).
- The Town of Wilmington Legal Counsel is Paul DeRensis (Deutsch, Williams, Brooks, DeRensis & Holland), 617-951-2300.
- The Library Director will provide the information requested, without assistance from other staff members. (Note: To protect the rights of library users not subject to the search, do not have the FBI search through the records.)
- The Library Director is not permitted to tell anybody except Town Counsel that information was provided to the FBI. (Note: Some subpoenas and search warrants under the Patriot Act come with a gag order automatically attached).
Merrimack Valley Library Consortium Policy
Approved by the Board of Library Trustees 10/21/2003