Personal Rights and Library Obligations: What Librarians Need to Know about the USA PATRIOT Act  


Library Summit - Wednesday, April 9, 2003
9 am - 2 pm
University of Pittsburgh
William Pitt Union Assembly Room



8:45 - 9:00 am Registration and coffee, William Pitt Union Assembly Room
9:00 - 9:15 am Welcome and Introduction to USA PATRIOT Act Policies, Dr. Carrie Gardner, Session Moderator
9:15 - 10:00 am Technology Issues: Questions Librarians Need to Answer (Speaker TBA)
10:00 - 11:15 am Personal Rights and Library Obligations presented by Mary Minow*, J.D., A.M.L.S
11:30am - 12:30pm Working Groups to Discuss Issues and Write Policies According to Type of Library
12:30 - 1:00 pm Working Lunch (lunch provided by sponsoring institutions)
1:00 - 2:00 pm Open Forum/Reports of Working Groups, Future Directions--Where Do We Go From Here?
2:00 pm Adjourn

All costs including lunch and materials are generously underwritten by sponsoring institutions.

Mary Minow (J.D., Stanford, A.M.L.S., Michigan) is an attorney, consultant, and a former librarian and library trustee. Her areas of expertise include library law-the combined study of First Amendment, Copyright, Local Government Law, Disability Law, and Negotiations. She has been researching and writing about the USA PATRIOT Act since it was passed by Congress in 2001.

Dr. Carrie Gardner (Ph.D., MLIS Pittsburgh) has been involved with the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee since 1995 and has served as Chair and Newsletter Editor of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table, AASL Intellectual Freedom Committee, AASL SIRS/AASL Intellectual Freedom Award Committee, ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, and PSLA Intellectual Freedom Committee.

Policies need to be written to provide library staff and library users with a clear understanding of their personal rights and legal obligations. A USA PATRIOT Act Summit will be held on Wednesday, April 9, 2003 at the University of Pittsburgh from 9 am - 2 pm to learn about the implications on all types of libraries.


On October 25, 2001, Congress passed the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" (USA PATRIOT Act.) This law broadly expands the powers of federal law enforcement agencies investigating cases involving foreign intelligence and international terrorism. The new legislation amends the laws governing the Federal Bureau of Investigation's access to business records. One provision orders any person or institution served with a search warrant not to disclose that such a warrant has been served or that records have been produced pursuant to the warrant.

The existence of this provision does not mean that libraries and librarians served with such a search warrant cannot ask to consult with their legal counsel concerning the warrant. A library and its employees can still seek legal advice concerning the warrant and request that the library's legal counsel be present during the actual search provided for by the warrant.