VLA and VSLA Succeed in Getting Library Confidentiality Bill Enacted

On Tuesday, May 13, Governor Douglas signed into law S. 220, “An Act Relating to the Confidentiality of Library Patron Records.” The new law will take effect July 1, 2008.

To see text of the bill, click: S. 220
To see how your representatives voted, click : House Journal, April 28 (Scroll more than half-way through the document; or search “library” using the “Find on page” feature of your browser.)
This vote reflects the second reading of the bill. The next day, the bill passed the third reading on a voice vote, so it is possible that some members changed their view for the final vote. If appropriate, please take a moment to call or write to your representative(s) and thank them for their support.

Please watch your mail and e-mail for notices about a “Law for Librarians” program being planned for July 24 by Gail Weymouth, new chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee. The program will include an opportunity to write or update your library’s confidentiality policy. In the coming weeks, VLA will also make updated model confidentiality policies available on the VLA Web site.

Special thanks to:

  • members of the VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee (Paula Baker, Jerry Carbone, Paul Donovan, Karen Lane, Michael Roche, Lisa von Kann, and Gail Weymouth) for their work in developing strategy and editing text of the bill
  • John Shullenberger, who ably shepherded our bill through the legislative process and persuaded the House Judiciary Committee to make some time for us in the final days of the legislative session.
  • Christine Eldred, chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Vermont School Library Association, for coordinating VSLA’s efforts
  • Karen Lane, Susan Monmaney, Louis Battalen, Sandra Lindberg, Jenny Hermenze, Paul Erlbaum for providing testimony to the legislative committees, and to Gail Weymouth for helping to develop talking points (and making a brave attempt to get to the State House in a horrible winter storm)
  • Sybil McShane, state librarian, for her advocacy with the governor’s office
  • Cheryl Hanna and Kimberly Chehardy at Vermont Law School, for their research and advice
  • Allen Gilbert of the Vermont ACLU for his counsel and testimony in support of the bill
  • Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of American Library Association, for her counsel and support
  • Legislators Claire Ayer, Betty Nuovo, Michael Fisher, Steven Maier, Willem Jewett, David Sharpe, Bill Botzow, Tony Klein, Christopher Bray, Will Stevens for sponsoring the legislation
  • House representative Alison Clarkson, for her able defense of the bill on the floor of the House
  • the VLA and VSLA boards for their steadfast support of this initiative
  • all the VLA and VSLA members who contacted their legislators and urged their support of the bill

Trina Magi, Chair (outgoing), VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee