Libraries Say Yes, Officials Do Quiz Them About Users, in the NY Times today, according to the results of a recent ALA survey. While this is not evidence of USA PATRIOT Act abuses per se, it points to increasing concern on the part of law enforcement of what people are reading [the article points to a cases of libraries being asked for a list of patrons who had checked out a book about Osama bin Laden] in ways that compromise state library privacy laws. As of this morning, ALA has missed a chance to capitalize on this good press by having anything at all mentioning this study on the front page of their web site, pity.
Ms. Sheketoff at the [American] library association acknowledged that critics of the study may accuse the group of having a stake in the outcome of the Patriot Act debate. “Sure, we have a dog in this fight, but the other side has been mocking us for four years over our ‘baseless hysteria,’ and saying we have no reason to be concerned,” she said. “Well, these findings say that we do have reason to be concerned.”