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USA Patriot Act: Board Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures that Infringe on the Rights of Library Users

WHEREAS, the Madison Public Library Board affirms the responsibility of the leaders of the United States to protect and preserve the freedoms that are the foundation of our democracy; and

WHEREAS, libraries are a critical force for promoting the free flow and unimpeded distribution of knowledge and information for individuals, institutions, and communities; and

WHEREAS, the Madison Public Library Board holds that suppression of ideas undermines a democratic society; and

WHEREAS, certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the revised Attorney General Guidelines to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other related measures expand the authority of the federal government to investigate citizens and non-citizens, to engage in surveillance, and to threaten civil rights and liberties guaranteed under the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights; and

WHEREAS, the USA PATRIOT Act and other recently enacted laws, regulations, and guidelines increase the likelihood that the activities of library users, including their use of computers to browse the Web or access e-mail, may be under government surveillance without their knowledge or consent; and

WHEREAS, that Madison Public Library has adopted and implemented patron privacy and record retention policies that affirm that the collection of personally identifiable information is only a matter of routine or policy when necessary for the fulfillment of the mission of the library; and

WHEREAS, other organizations such as the American Library Association and the Wisconsin Library Association, have adopted resolutions expressing concern about the Act, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Madison Public Library Board opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Madison Public Library Board supports user privacy and free and open access to knowledge and information; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that this resolution be sent to members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation.

(passed December 1, 2004)