The USA Patriot Act, passed on October 26, 2001, significantly expands the authority of law enforcement officers to gain access to business records, medical records, educational records, and library records, including stored electronic data and communications. Confidentiality of library records is a basic principle of librarianship and many states, including California, have laws protecting the confidentiality of such records. The CalArts Library fully complies with California State Code, Section 6267:
"All registration and circulation records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any peson, local agency, or state agency except as follows:
(a) By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library.
(b) By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records.
(c) By order of the appropriate superior court.
As used in this section, the term 'registration records' includes any information which a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term 'circulation records' includes any information which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other material. This section shall not apply to statistical reports of registration and circulation nor to records of fines collected by the library."
The library will comply with all lawfully issued court orders (e.g., search warrant) and subpoenas properly served upon it and furnish the documents and materials specifically listed in the court order or subpoena.
- It is further understood that compliance with validly issued court orders does not eliminate the right of CalArts to challenge their issuance in proper legal matter.
- The library will seek the advice of the Provost and General Counsel on all requests for searches of library records, on the scope and content of the applicable laws pertaining to that particular search, and on compliance with the search of library and patron records.
- A library employee may disclose the contents of an electronic communication and/or information about a patron to law enforcement officials if s/he reasonably believes that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury requires disclosure without delay.
- Library records which may be the focus of law enforcement requests include electronic, print, and other forms of patron information. The library needs to retain specific information for the regular operation of library business. Archives of information that reveal identities of individuals are kept only when clearly necessary for the operation of the library.
- Each department in the library is responsible for adherence to these policies and procedures. All library personnel, including student assistants, are to be fully informed on this policy and procedure and on their own role if such situations arise. This policy is posted on the library website.
- The Dean of the Division of Library and Information Services or the Associate Dean, as custodians of library records, will be the person responsible for handling law enforcement requests. All requests by law enforcement officers for library records should be immediately referred to one of these two individuals.
- The Dean will use the Office of the Provost and the General Counsel to advise the Dean on all law enforcement requests. The General Counsel will review all warrants for sufficiency and correctness, and take necessary legal action in the case of improprieties in the issuance of the warrant or in the search.
- All Library faculty, staff, and student workers will understand that they have no authority to answer questions of agents or officers nor to order compliance with any court order or subpoena. They will also understand that it is lawful to refer the agent or officer to the Dean or Associate Dean and they do not have to respond immediately to any request. Staff will ask for identification right away if approached by an agent or officer and immediately refer them to the Dean or Associate Dean.
- If the request is made in the form of a search warrant (which is executable immediately), staff wil indicate to the officer or agent that the search warrant must be served to the Dean, Associate Dean, Provost, or President before a search of library records can be initiated.
- If the agent or officer does not have a court order compelling the production of records, the Dean or Associate Dean will explain the Library's confidentiality policy as well as state law and inform them that the records are not available until a court order or subpoena in proper form is issued and presented to the library. Library employees cannot obstruct justice and are required to act in accordance with this policy with the understanding that:
- without a court order, law enforcement officials do not have the authority to compel cooperation with an investigation or require answers to questions, other than the name and address of the person speaking to the officer, and
- a valid court order must be issued before a law enforcement agent or officer places software or hardware on Library servers or other information technology.
- After the visit, library employees will adhere to any restrictions about sharing the information with others. FISA Court-issued warrants specifically charge that any person or institution served with a warrant will not disclose that a warrant was served or that documents were produced pursuant to the warrant.
- Only the Library Dean will be prepared to discuss the matter with the media.
- The Dean will retain a log of all requests for records.
- All library employees will be advised of these policies and procedures.
Last Updated: November 22, 2005