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Policy in Response to the USA Patriot Act of 2001
The Trustees of the Brooks Free Library support the efforts of our government to protect the country from terrorist acts and preserve our freedom and security. As a public library, we face the dilemma of having the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our patrons while responding to legitimate national security concerns. The Library recognizes the confidentiality of patron registration and circulation records, as stated in Mass. General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 7, and also respects the right of library users to privacy and confidentiality in their use of public computers. However, in matters of national security concerns, Federal law (specifically the Patriot Act) can supercede state law.

    The Brooks Free Library strives to create a library environment that is safe, crime free, and welcoming place for community members to gather and visit.  We believe the Library is a place for learning and pursuit of knowledge and information on any topic, and a place where patrons can ask any question and discuss any topic. The Library will do its utmost to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of patrons' free access to information. The library will rely on existing laws and library policies to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior.

HR-3162 became Public Law 107-56 in response to the events of 9/11/01. The full title of the law is: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. The Act may provide law enforcement broader boundaries when investigating information accessed and transmitted by patrons with regards to national security concerns. Access to patron information may include but not be limited to catalog search records, circulation records, computer use records, Local History Room use records, inter-library loans and requests records, and information from reference interviews.

Policy and Procedures Regarding Information Access and Confidentiality

Catalog Search Records: These records refer to the searches of the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) collection a patron may conduct on the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). Once a search is conducted, the software does not retain a copy of the search on library computers. Records of the search may exist on CLAMS servers, and the CLAMS central office could be requested to provide information to law enforcement officials without the knowledge of Brooks Free Library staff or individual library patrons. Brooks Free Library uses a security program called Fortress on our OPACs. This program prevents patrons from saving material to the computer's hard drive. The OPACS allow only access to the CLAMS catalog and periodical databases. Settings prevent the user from surfing the Internet on these computers.

Circulation Records: Materials in CLAMS are circulated via Millennium Circulation software from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (III). The circulation software tracks materials currently checked out, automatically erasing a reader's borrowing record once a book is returned and all fines are paid. It is not possible to look up a patron's card number and find out what they borrowed in the past. It is possible to look up the record for a specific item and obtain limited information about a patron (specifically, who last borrowed the item and whether a fine was paid.) However, there is no direct link between a patron and an item, once the item has been returned.

Computer Use Records: The library provides public access to the computers for Internet use and Microsoft Office applications. Use of the adult computers is on a first come, first served basis - no sign-up sheets or reservation forms are used.  Users wait in line for the next available computer.  The Library uses a web browser tailored for use in public libraries. When a new Internet session is opened, the browser remains open for 30 minutes. At the end of the time slot, the Internet session is terminated and the history of visited web sites clears automatically. Adult patrons are not allowed to use the computers in the Children's Department. Children age 13 and under must have signed parental permission to use the Internet. In the Children's Dept., youngsters must sign-up for a specified computer time slot. These sign-in sheets are collected so that use of these computers can be counted for reporting purposes. These sheets are destroyed as soon as the computer use sessions are counted, a period not to exceed one week. All of the public computers use a security program, Deep Freeze that prevents patrons from making any permanent changes to the computer. Any changes made by patrons, including saved files or documents, are deleted when the system is re-booted.

Local History Room Use Records: The Library requests patrons to sign in prior to using the Cahoon Room as a means of controlling access to the unique and valuable historical material in the room. The sign-up sheets are destroyed at the end of one week. A count of visitors to the room is kept for reporting purposes.

Interlibrary Loan & Requests Records: Patrons may borrow items not owned by regional and area libraries via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). The library generates a paper record that includes patron information in order to initiate this borrowing. Once the materials are returned and all appropriate fines and/or fees are paid, the paper record identifying the requestor is filed for 3 months in case of delivery problems, and then destroyed.

Reference Interviews: A reference interview occurs when a patron looking for information is interviewed or questioned by a library staff member in order to narrow down the specific information needed. If a patron name and number is taken by phone and patron information is written down, the paper record is destroyed as soon as the requested information is delivered. No paper record identifying the patron is kept after the query has been successfully answered. Other records not identifying the patron may be kept for collection development purposes.