ULA Centennial Book

The Utah Library Association
Essays in Honor of Its Centennial


Read the book for free as a PDF!

Order copies of the book from ULA’s special print run by e-mailing anna.neatrour@gmail.com. Price will be $10.00 plus shipping.

Individual copies of the books can be purchased at Espresso Book Machines at the J. Willard Marriott Library and through the library’s online store (shipping option available, or books can be picked up at the Reserve Desk on the second floor) and the Brigham Young University Bookstore (shipping option available, call 801-422-6781 or email:Ymountainpress@byu.edu to order).

Support for a limited print run for Utah libraries is generously provided by the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University and the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.




ULA Fall Workshop 2012 Information

Online registration for the ULA Fall Workshop is now closed. On-site registration will be available for $20.00


Friday, September 28th, 2012

9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Springville City Library

Springville, Utah

We will continue to celebrate ULA’s centennial, learn about Art City (Springville), and have breakout sessions on:

  • Social media in libraries
  • Intellectual freedom training
  • E-books in public and academic libraries
  • RDA for non-catalogers
  • Children’s programming
  • Family history

View Fall Workshop Program (doc)

Note: Registration includes lunch


For questions, contact Connie Lamb at 801-422-6196, connie_lamb@byu.edu

Intellectual Freedom in Academic Libraries

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American academic institutions have long endorsed and protected intellectual and academic freedom. Our society has historically recognized that faculty and students must be allowed open discourse and access to unlimited information in order to achieve understanding, learning, and the advancement of knowledge. To support teaching, learning and research, academic library acquisition practices have built collections of resources which represent a wide diversity of opinions and topics including materials deemed controversial or unpopular by some. 

Even though academic libraries operate in an environment where the importance of intellectual freedom is recognized, there are still many intellectual freedom issues to address. As with public libraries, the academic library should have policies in place that deal with privacy rights of library users and confidentiality of their library activities and records. Library and campus policies and practices regarding retention of individual records should be examined and stated. Access to the Internet requires academic libraries to set policies for the appropriate use of Internet resources. To maintain environments conducive for learning, such policies should state that public workstations are provided for educational, research or informational purposes. Library guidelines on appropriate user behavior can provide a basis to help staff manage the viewing of images that could create a hostile, intimidating or harassing environment for others.

Academic librarians have an opportunity to teach principles of intellectual freedom and the importance of unrestricted access to information in their library instruction classes. Our students today will be the next generation to defend First Amendment rights in our country. As students are learning about research methods, librarians can help them learn the importance of their own good judgment and critical thinking in determining what they choose to read and use for their course projects. It is hoped that they become passionate about the importance of open and broad access to information for the rest of their lives.

The ACRL Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries state the importance of a strong intellectual freedom foundation. See Appendix G.

NEXT: Appendix A. Sample Reconsideration Form

USA Patriot Act

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On October 25, 2001, the Congress of the United States passed the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) It is now Public Law 107-56. They passed the legislation without substantive debate, and its provisions are now the law of the land. The act essentially allows federal agencies investigating persons who are suspected of being terrorists or who may be harboring terrorists to be more closely scrutinized. A simple search warrant can be issued to the investigative agency/s and they may request a person’s confidential information from any business or institution. No subpoena is required and the person whose records are being examined cannot be notified. The ramifications for libraries and the privacy of library records is the same as for any other entity.

In October of 2003, Congress strengthened some provisions of the USA Patriot Act, making it easier for government intelligence agencies to acquire information. Under these additional provisions, warrants can be issued for suspicion and no longer require cause.

Library Response

Knowing that any federal intelligence agency may request private information concerning an individual and that they can make this request with a nonspecific search warrant, what are the options for the library staff when/if they are confronted?

First, as with all your library processes, have a written procedure in place. This should be a document that will let your staff know exactly how to proceed when presented with a warrant. Your staff will need to understand that they cannot refuse to provide information. They do, however, have the right to notify their superiors and to request the presence of an attorney.

• Be sure to consult with legal counsel on the ramifications of the USA Patriot Act and state and local law to ensure that your policies and procedures are compliant and appropriate. That will also insure that your counsel is ready to assist you should the need arise.

• Review your policies. Pay particular attention to your records retention and how that information may be accessed. Decide how to proceed through your records to retrieve personal data, and set a date limit for the length of time records are retained.

• Make sure to train your staff. They need to know exactly what to do when approached by law enforcement. It would be very helpful to have specific responses that make it easier for staff to respond. Knowing a step by step procedure makes it possible for staff to be secure in dealing with legal processes.

The library cannot notify an individual whose records have been the subject of a warrant request, but having an informed staff with procedures in place will help to insure that only the information required is made available. If you follow your written policies; move your process through a predetermined chain of command; contact your legal counsel; and document the incident, you will have done all you can do to protect your patrons and your staff.

Be sure to follow up on any legal requests through additional consultation with your legal counsel. They will be able to walk you through the dos and don’ts of any additional responsibilities and/or legal requirements you or your staff may have.

Check regularly for changes in laws and regulations that may affect your library and your patrons. Some aspects of the USA Patriot Act have already undergone change. The law, as always, has a fluid aspect. Stay informed.

NEXT: Intellectual Freedom in Academic Libraries