A New Jersey librarian has been disciplined for refusing to divulge patrons’ private borrowing records without a subpoena. This isn’t a PATRIOT issue: it was local police trying to track down a possible child predator.
The police had the title of a book that had been reported by the child, and asked the librarian to tell them who had checked out that book. She refused to do so without a court order. When the court order was forthcoming, she told them that there was no book by that title, and the police demanded the entire lending record over the last few weeks, which she again refused without a court order. Again, the police obtained a court order (I would be interested in how, exactly, that order was tailored, since it sounds like prime territory for a fishing expedition), and the librarian complied.
OK, no problem, right? Textbook ethical librarianship. Wrong. The mayor has criticized the librarian for stonewalling the police. The residents seem to think she was simply misguided in protecting this information.