This scenario is an example of both a reference transaction and an access-to-justice issue. Many people do not have easy access to an attorney and will come to the library seeking legal information. Librarians are not authorized to give legal advice, but they can direct patrons to useful organizations and resources. According to Jessica Steinberg, … Continue reading Accessing Justice
With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), they challenged the climate of surveillance and government overreach that followed the September 11 attacks, showing the nation that librarians would stand by the rights of patrons and civil liberties. Here, the four share their memories of the experience and its resonance today with American … Continue reading Defenders of Patron Privacy
Letters of the Law is a column exploring a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries. It is written by two leading authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian with a law degree, and Tom Lipinski, a lawyer with a library degree. Together they have authored four books on the subject, including The Library’s Legal … Continue reading Must My Library Accommodate Service and Support Animals?
“Ensuring library users’ confidentiality frees them from fear of retaliation or intimidation as a result of reading a book, visiting a website, or consulting other library resources,” said Candice Mack, senior YA services librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library system. “This is regardless of age.” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, interim director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual … Continue reading No Minor Concern
Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet
In 2005, an original section of the Patriot Act allowed the FBI to compel anyone they presented with a National Security Letter (NSL) to hand over detailed personal information, including library borrowing and internet search records, about any individual being investigated. The law also allowed the FBI to accompany NSLs with gag orders forbidding their recipients from disclosing that … Continue reading Connecticut Four Reunite Against FBI Overreach