San Jose State University LIBR 220-01 Libraries and the Law
School of Library & Information Science Mary Minow

 

San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science logo
Library Student Papers
Fall 1998

Libraries and the Law

Legal Questions Paper Author
An adult patron in a public library is suspected of accessing child pornography sites from the Internet stations. He has set up toggle switch to hide his activity, but library staff are aware of what he looks at by checking his site pathway after he leaves. The question is: Has the library staff done anything illegal by checking his activity in this manner? Alejandro de Jesus
From a circulation desk: Should it refuse to give any patron information to anyone, even law enforcement personnel, without a subpoena? Andrew Gurthet

Lisa Nash

There are two bibliographies for this question.

What accommodations must a public library make, by law, to ensure that the Internet and other electronic resources are accessible to people with disabilities? Beata Bartholomay
What are the effects of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). What would be the legal impact to public libraries? Would they be hit with lawsuits from "competitors" demanding that they stop providing traditional services since they've been redefined as hindering competitive trade? What impact do pending lawsuits or the perceived threat of lawsuits have upon the public, the library staff, the budget etc.? Christy Confetti Higgins
May a public library (municipal or county in this example) compete with the private sector in providing services such as video rentals or meeting room rental? May the library provide the services at below market rate? Gerald Clark
What level of responsibility does the library have to care for children abandoned by their parents? What I mean is what are library staff supposed to do with kids who were dropped off by the parents in the morning when the library opened and are not there to pick up their children when the library closes? Sometimes you see small kids ages 5-8 at the library by themselves late at night, especially during the summer. Iona Derman
In the event that a department library staff of a major university(let us say, the Education/Psychology Library at U.C. Berkeley) is approached by a professor with the donation of a video recorded copy (VCR, home recorded) of a PBS documentary to the library (with the intent of having it in the collection for faculty reserve), how does the library staff deal with this offer? With respect to copyright law, must the professional staff decline the offer? Again with respect to copyright law, must the professional staff purchase from PBS the video for the purpose of classroom use and classroom use only? Karen Paige

Marina Bacchetti

There are two bibliographies for this question

Is there a legal justification for a tax supported library's decision to charge fees for accessing databases and/or downloading to disk or to paper? Kathleen Castro & Trina Richbourg
May a California county law library legally deny an individual or a class of individuals access to the law library? On that same note, may a California county law library legally charge a fee for the use of library materials? Laura Norvig
The library [the Music Library at University of California Berkeley, specifically] forbids the photocopying or faxing or archival materials. Our staff has always been told that photocopying is legally forbidden on the grounds that it is a violation of copyright law. Is this true? Lia Bushong
Should a circulation desk refuse to give any patron information to anyone, even law enforcement personnel, without a subpoena? Lisa Buckley & Lorilie Roundtree
Head of Reference Services at a public library in California. would like to know if the library would get into legal trouble if a volunteer or staff member who is working in the children's room touches or picks up a child in a friendly manner. For example, can a children's room staff member pick up or hold the hand of a child who is lost while helping the child to find her or his parent? Robert Oldfield
Our library (state university in California) charges non-university-system and non-academically affiliated users $38.00 per hour to use our archival collections. The fee was carefully calculated by our CFO. It is supposed to fund us for general reference. How can we charge the public for using collections largely built on by tax dollars? Is this legal and ethical? What if donors refuse to donate papers and records because of this restriction? We have not received legal challenges although our staff has taken verbal abuse for it. Tami Suzuki
What accommodations must a public library make, by law, to ensure that the Internet and other electronic resources are accessible to people with disabilities? Beata Bartholomay

Back to List of Legal Questions
Last Updated: Fall 1998