Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders
Library

USA Patriot Act and the Library

Your Privacy in the Library

  • The USA Patriot Act changes the way that the North Hall Library is allowed to protect the privacy of its patrons.
  • The employees of North Hall Library respect and protect the privacy of all library users. Unless required by law, employees will not give out any information kept in confidential library records.
  • The library will continue to promote the free flow and unimpeded distribution of knowledge and information for individuals, the campus community, and beyond.

Information on the USA Patriot Act

  • The USA Patriot Act became law on October 26, 2001.
  • The Patriot Act amends a variety of laws, including those governing criminal procedure, wiretapping, and the privacy of your student records. It overrides state library confidentiality laws protecting library records.
  • The FBI can gain access to your educational records and library records including circulation records, Internet use records, and registration information stored in any medium.
  • Agents do not have to demonstrate “probable cause” to obtain a warrant. They only need to claim that your records may be related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorism or intelligence activities.
  • Search warrants can be for “any tangible thing” (including books, records, papers, floppy disks, and computer hard drives).
  • The FBI can use wiretaps and “trap and trace” phone devices to monitor your Internet and electronic communication. This includes your e-mails.
  • Under penalty of law, libraries/librarians served with a search warrant may not tell you that a warrant exists, that you are being investigated, or that your records were produced as a result of a warrant.
  • For more information on the USA Patriot Act as it relates to libraries, see the American Library Association.
  • Read the USA Patriot Act (PDF) in its entirety.