Celebrate Judith Flint

Arthur Milnes, guest commentator on Vermont Public Radio, celebrates Judith Flint of the Kimball Public Library in Randolph for her defense of patron confidentiality when the FBI appeared. Milnes:

Judith Flint’s example gives me hope – despite the challenges on both sides of the border and in the wider world as our necessary war on terror continues.  While I have never met her – and probably never will – I am confident that to the children and families in Randolph she is a true friend.

Read the commentary at VPR or hear the podcast.

Amy Howlett

VT Department of Libraries  

Banned Books Week: September 27th – October 4th

Check out Ideas from 2007 on ways to celebrate Banned Books Week

Posted May 12 on the ALA website:

And Tango Makes Three” tops ALA’s 2007  list of most challenged books

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For a second consecutive year, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning “And Tango Makes Three,” a children’s book about two male penguins caring for an orphaned egg, tops the list of ALA’s 10 Most Challenged Books.

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When law enforcement comes a’knocking

Dear colleagues,

“It will never happen here!”

Isn’t it human nature to believe that tragedies happen “out there,” in the world, and not in our own communities? Sadly, many communities have cause to know that tragedies do indeed happen at home. My own community, Randolph and neighboring Braintree, has just suffered the agony of the disappearance and murder of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett.

I am writing this because “It will never happen here!” also happened at my library.

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Attorney General’s opinion and other new statute guidelines.(revised)

What follows is the gist of the Attorney General’s opinion on the new confidentiality statute.

  1. Public libraries must keep records of patrons 16 or older confidential unless the patron waives that right.
  2. Public libraries have “limited discretion” expanding the scope of confidentiality of library records. The opinion says they must disclose the records of patrons under 16 if requested by parents.
  3. Read More

New Confidentiality Statute

Librarians have many questions about the new Confidentiality Statute that becomes effective July 1, 2008.

State Librarian, Sybil McShane asked the Attorney General to review the law in reference to existing statutes and in consideration of some of the questions we have. Once the AG’s office has reported back we will provide more specific guidelines for implementation to all VLA members, VT Libraries and Trustees. VLAIFC will offer policy writing workshops throughout the state for the above mentioned groups in the near future.

An updated sample public library privacy and confidentiality policy is available on the website as part of the Intellectual Freedom Toolkit. It can also be found at www.sherburnelibrary.org.

Keep watching the VLA website for more information.

Gail Weymouth

VLAIFC chair

802 422 9765

Vermont House passes library patron confidentiality bill

Tuesday morning, April 29, the House voted to concur with the Senate-passed version of the library patron confidentiality bill (S. 220). Now it goes to the governor for his signature before becoming law. Please call or write your representatives and thank them for their support on this measure. Also, a big thanks to John Shullenberger for all his efforts on our behalf.

VT Senate passes library patron confidentiality bill

On Friday, Feb. 22, 2008, the Vermont Senate passed S. 220, “An act relating to the confidentiality of library patron records.”  The bill as passed largely reflects the language proposed by Vermont Library Association and Vermont School Library Association, except that it grants parental access to records of public library patrons under the age of 16.  We expect the House Judiciary to take up consideration of the companion House bill (H. 745) soon.   To track these bills, please visit the Vermont Legislative Bill Tracking System at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/database/status/status.cfm

Library confidentiality bill gets favorable committee vote–now it’s on to the Senate

On Friday, Feb. 15, the Vermont Senate Government Operations Committee voted in favor of S. 220, “An Act Relating to the Confidentiality of Library Patron Records.”  The bill now goes to the full Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 19.  VLA members are encouraged to call or send e-mail messages to their senators asking them to support the bill.  S. 220 is quite similar to our proposed bill, except that the committee amended it to allow parental/guardian access to the records of children under 16–even for materials that are not overdue.  FYI, here’s the VLA statement explaining the importance of confidentiality for minors:  Statement on the importance of protecting the confidentiality of minors