Monday, October 20, 2014

Omaha mayor now pressuring librarians to give out patron information to cops

Roseann Moring of the Omaha World-Herald reports that Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's chief of staff, Marty Bilek, wants the Omaha Public Library Board to require libraries to give police access to personal information from library cards. Bilek raised the spectre of "hostage situations" to justify the request, which stemmed from an incident involving a belligerent drunk.
     Board member Freddie Gray said she worried about officers using library information to conduct a background check.
     “You’re going to get this name and address and use it to also look up whether they have a criminal record?” she asked.
Bilek said background checks are a routine part of officers’ interactions with people.
     Other board members said they worry about the logistics of notifying about 300,000 patrons that their privacy rights had changed.
     The board is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the issue at its November meeting.
     The Omaha Library Board of Trustees who will decide this issue at the board's November 19th meeting at the Milton R. Abrahams Branch at 5111 N. 90th St. are: Terry Bull, Lenora Isom, Mike Meyer, Caitlin Davis, James D. Fogarty, Freddie J. Gray, Anna Hernandez-Valencia, Dianne Jelden and Carol Wang.
     The Omaha library doesn't say when the meeting will be held (!) but previous meetings have convened at 4 pm. There will be a public hearing at the meeting, November 19th.
     Here are the email addresses of the nine library board members:;;;;;;;;

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