Timeline

 Year  Event
1917 San Francisco Public Library put all German language books behind the counter. Names of people requesting them were regularly turned over to the authorities for investigation (Source: Wiegand, Wayne American Libraries November 2002)
1939 ALA recognises the importance of privacy and confidentiality for the first time in Article 11 of their code of ethics
1972 Zoia Horn activist librarian jailed for 20 days for refusing to testify in trial of “Harrisburg Seven”
1980s Library Awareness Program. FBI gathering names and reading habits of users in many different libraries
1987 Lebanon Public Library published a list of borrowers and the titles of their overdue books in the local newspaper
2005 Connecticut Four (In 2005 Library Connection received a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding access to library patrons’ records, and the NSL came with a gag order. The librarians involved contacted ACLU and this led to a legal case known as Doe v Gonzales)
2006 Library Director Michelle Reutty refuses to give police library circulation records without a subpoena
2008 A library worker sacked from the library where she had worked for 15 years after writing a fictional account of the unsavoury characters encountered each day in the library (whose unique mannerisms made them easily identifiable in the close-knit community on which the book was based).
2016 Toronto Public Library publishes in real time the searches of their website users

 

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