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USA Patriot Act Resolution

LIBRARY COMMISSION RESOLUTION 2/03 as approved February 4, 2003

RESOLUTION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION PROTECTING LIBRARY USERS RIGHTS TO PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Public Library Commission is deeply concerned about the ramifications of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA Patriot Act) as it affects the privacy of San Francisco Public Library users; and

WHEREAS, Sections 214 - 216 of the USA Patriot Act, give law enforcement agencies expanded authority to:

  • Obtain library records
  • Secretly monitor all electronic communication, and
  • Prohibit libraries and librarians from informing users of such monitoring or information requests; and

 

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Public Library Commission is strongly opposed to terrorism, we also affirm that efforts to combat terrorism need not violate civil rights guaranteed under the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, public libraries, and specifically the San Francisco Public Library, champion intellectual freedom and must guard library users' rights to privacy in the exercise of that freedom, and must safeguard the civil liberties that have gone hand in hand with the San Francisco Public Library's role in the community; and

WHEREAS, the American Library Association's ( ALA ) Library Bill of Rights, affirmed as policy by the San Francisco Library Commission in January 1998, asserts that:

  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information; and
  • Libraries should resist abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas; and
  • The "Shadow of Fear" caused by government intrusion into library records breeds self-censorship; and

 

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Library Commission honors the diversity of San Francisco's people, cherishes the richness this diversity brings, and is offended by targeting or profiling any particular racial, ethnic, cultural, political, or religious group in government investigations; and

WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of public libraries and librarians, as guardians of the public's freedom to read and right to access information, to contest encroachments upon those freedoms by individuals, groups, or the government; and

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has adopted a resolution directing City departments to avoid any abridgment of San Franciscans' constitutional rights that could result from law enforcement use of provisions of the USA Patriot Act; and

WHEREAS, the American Library Association has also adopted a resolution in opposition to the USA Patriotic Act; now therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission stands firmly behind the principles of the public's right to access information and freedom to read; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission views the right to seek and receive information as inherent in the exercise of freedom of speech, and that the Commission views any attempt to obstruct expression and exploration as a violation of the spirit and practice of intellectual freedom that amounts to censorship; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission supports the American Library Association (ALA) guidelines to avoid creating and maintaining unnecessary records. Specifically the San Francisco Public Library Commission supports the San Francisco Public Library's administrative policies that champion the confidentiality of user records and agree with the Library's regular practice of purging user files and circulation records; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission supports the City Librarian's instructions to library staff as a result of recent developments to refer any requests from law enforcement agencies to the City Librarian's Office; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Public Library Commission encourages the City Librarian to take steps to strengthen the Library's circulation and electronic systems and processes to further protect user privacy; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission joins with the American Library Association, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and San Francisco's citizens to prevent breaches of user privacy and the disruption of library users' First and Fourth Amendment rights; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission encourages the San Francisco Public Library to take an active role in clarifying these issues and educating all parties in the interest of the right to know, the right to access, and the freedom to read; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Public Library Commission opposes Sections 214 - 216 of the USA Patriot Act and supports the efforts of the American Library Association and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to address the broad scope of civil rights violations engendered by certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

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