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Policies

Policy 56: MU Libraries Response to Subpoenas and Search Warrants

University of Missouri Libraries

General Policy Manual Policy No. 56

MU Libraries Response to Subpoenas and Search Warrants

  • Scope of Procedures
    • These procedures outline steps to follow upon the receipt of subpoenas and search warrants requesting information on library records, library usage, patron activity, etc., or access to library equipment including computers, patron or personnel files, etc. These procedures do not apply to either publicly accessible library collections or to warrants and subpoenas served to library employees regarding matters of a personal nature.
  • Informational Items
    • Subpoenas tend to indicate that certain action be taken and/or information collected and forwarded within a specified time frame. As such, MU Libraries employees are not compelled to release information at the time a subpoena is received. Upon receipt of a subpoena, follow the steps as outlined below.
    • In contrast, warrants are typically executable upon delivery and receipt. MU Libraries employees are instructed to ‘step aside’ and allow the search and/or seizure of information or equipment to take place. Upon receipt of a warrant, follow the steps as outlined below.
    • .
  • Confidentiality of Library Records
    • Only under limited and specified situations will the MU Libraries release or disclose information on library records, library usage, patron activity, etc., or access to library equipment including computers, patron or personnel files, etc.
    • In the absence of a subpoena or warrant, follow established library practices regarding the release of library records, library usage, patron activity, etc.
    • See MU Libraries Policy 41 regarding confidentiality of library records.
  • Requests for Access to Library Records, Etc.
    • The MU Libraries will observe the following procedures when presented with subpoenas and/or warrants requesting information on library records, library usage, patron activity, etc., or access to library equipment, files, etc.:
      • In instances where the MU Libraries is called in advance of delivery of a warrant or subpoena, inform the caller that the Director of Libraries is the person to be served.
      • Employees who receive a warrant or subpoena should immediately contact their supervisor/division head and Library Administration and alert them of the request. Divisions will identify the process for contacting Administration and forwarding the warrant or subpoena. (See Appendix B for Administration contact information.)
      • Contact LTS if a warrant requires access to computer-related equipment.
      • Contact security in all cases in which a warrant is received.
      • In addition, employees are instructed to ask for and write down the name of the individual requesting the information along with badge number and/or driver license number and name of law enforcement agency or company. (See Appendix A for related form.)
      • Library Administration will immediately contact UM General Counsel and fax a copy of the subpoena or warrant for review. (See Appendix B for General Counsel contact information.)
      • UM General Counsel will advise the MU Libraries regarding compliance requirements on our part.
      • Each library division will identify a person or persons for employees to contact when subpoenas and warrants are received during non-regular business hours. That individual will notify the after-hours contact for Library Administration. We will follow UM General Counsel directives for contacting that office after hours and forwarding a copy of the warrant or subpoena.
      • In no way are library employees instructed or encouraged to interfere with legally served court orders or with local, state or federal laws.
      • In the absence of a subpoena or warrant, follow established library practices regarding the release of library records, library usage, patron activity, etc. See MU Libraries Policy No. 41.
      • Should a request for such information be received by phone or email, respond with the following:
        • "Our policy is to consider requests upon receipt of legally served court orders. Until that happens, I cannot respond to any inquiries.” Provide the mailing address or fax number for the MU Libraries Administrative Office if requested. Alert supervisors and Administration.
      • Library employees are instructed to not communicate receipt of warrants or subpoenas or release information about the scope and nature of said documents except on a need-to-know basis.
  • Appendix A - Subpoena and Warrant Information Collection Form
    • Date subpoena or warrant received __________________________________________________
      Printed name of individual delivering subpoena or warrant __________________________
      Signature of that individual _______________________________________________________
      Badge or Driver License Number of person delivering subpoena or warrant ____________
      Organization of that individual (e.g., MUPD, FBI) __________________________________
      Work phone number for that individual ______________________________________________
      Address of that individual’s organization __________________________________________
      That individual’s supervisor _______________________________________________________
      Reason for Visit (e.g., collect information on person X, install wire tape,
      commandeer computer) _____________________________________________
      Type of documentation presented (e.g., warrant, subpoena)___________________________
      Library employee receiving the subpoena or warrant _________________________________
      Date this form forwarded to 104 Ellis ______________________________________________
    • Subpoena and Warrant Procedures
      • Don’t panic.
      • Follow these procedures.
      • Keep breathing.
      • Contact your supervisor or division head.
      • Ask the individual delivering the subpoena or warrant to complete this form.
      • Complete your part of the form.
      • Contact LTS if a warrant is received for accessing computer-related equipment (884-6404). Branch libraries should also contact local IT support.
      • Contact security if a warrant is received. For Ellis Library, call 882-2053. For branch libraries, followed established procedures.
      • Forward this form and the warrant or subpoena to Library Administration ASAP.
      • If a warrant is received, contact the individuals listed above but do not interfere with the search or collection of information, equipment, et.
      • If a subpoena is received, contact the individuals listed above but no search will take place then and there.
  • Appendix B - Contact Information
    • MU Libraries Administration: 104 Ellis Library
    • Phone: (573) 882-4701 (general line)
    • Fax: (573) 882-8044
    • Library Director: (573) 882-4701 (business hours)
    • After hours contact information: (XXX) XXX-XXXX
    • Library Human Resources: (573) 882-9166 (business hours)
    • MU Libraries Security Department: (573) 882-2053
    • MU Library Technology Services Department: (573) 884-6404 (business hours)
    • University of Missouri General Counsel: Phone - 882-3211 (business hours)

Submitted to Library Council: December 19, 2002
Approved by Library Council: June 26, 2003
Approved by Director of Libraries: June 26, 2003
Last updated: Nov. 7, 2008