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Lib. Management
Lib. Law


Before the Police Arrive

(Be prepared before the police arrive to request library records)


Background and Legal Basis

Be Prepared

Initial Visit from Law Enforcement

Front Line Staff

Director or other Designated person

When the Court Order is Presented

If the Court Order is a Subpoena

If the Court Order is a Search Warrant

If the Court Order is a Search Order Issued under the FISA, as amended by USA PATRIOT ACT


Meetings With Police, Attorney, and Media (Prior to any Incident or Request)

Other Sources of Information


Background and Legal Basis:

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Be Prepared:

Note: Violating your Internet policy is not a crime!

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Initial Visit from Law Enforcement:

(Note: Individual agreements you make in your meeting with the police and municipal attorney may streamline this process.)

Front line staff:

Director or other person designated to handle law enforcement requests:

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When the court order is presented to the director or other designee:

If the court order is in the form of a subpoena, directing library staff to produce library records:


If the court order is in the form of a search warrant:


If the court order is in the form of a search warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act:

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Meetings with Police, Attorney, and Media:

We recommend that you have a meeting with your municipality's chief of police, attorney, and mayor/village president before any incident which requires the police to request library records.  This meeting should be followed by a meeting with your local media. See the Preparatory Meeting page for more information about these meetings. 

Other Sources of Information:

Sample Privacy Policy (Word) (from DLTCL)

Confidentiality and Coping With Law Enforcement Inquiries: Guidelines for the Library and Its Staff (from ALA)

Gotham City Model Policy: Third Party and Law Enforcement Requests for Library Records and User Information (from ALA)

Gotham City Model Staff Directive: Guidelines for Responding to Law Enforcement Requests for Library Records and User Information  (from ALA)

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For more information about library law, contact Mark Ibach.