Local libraries not on federal radar screen | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local libraries not on federal radar screen

Librarians in South Lake Tahoe and Douglas County say there hasn’t been any instance where law enforcement agencies have asked for computer records of patrons. And there’s no reason to believe that will happen anytime soon.

Still, the broad authorization in the USA Patriot Act, signed six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks allows federal law enforcement agencies to delve into an individual’s library records if there is reason to believe the person is involved in terrorism. Those records include the kinds of books the person has checked out of the library as well as Internet data.

Mitch Ison, reference librarian for the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library said the Patriot Act supersedes a California law which required search warrants be issued if a person’s library privileges were under investigation.

Still, it would be difficult for law enforcement to glean much information from El Dorado County and Douglas County library users as the systems do not keep a historical record of what patrons have checked out in the past, only what they have checked out presently.

There are also not traceable records kept for Internet use among library users in both counties, librarians said.

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