Hasbrouck Heights (NJ) library director Michele Reutty refused to give police the circulation records on a man who had allegedly made sexually threatening comments to a 12-year-old girl outside the library.
It's a familiar story by now. The cops want to get a bad guy and a librarian stands in their way.
Reutty told them they needed a subpoena. They got one. But no--Reutty said there was a mistake on the subpoena--she still couldn't give them the man's records. So she made the cops get a second subpoena before she finally had no choice but to hand over the records. It was well over a day before the police got the records they wanted as a result of Reutty's delaying tactics. Who knows what the wanted man might have done to some child in the intervening hours.
Borough officials were angered by Reutty's "blatant disregard" for law enforcement. The library board will meet July 10 to decide if any disciplinary action should be taken against her. I hope they do take action--like kicking her out of the library business and forcing her to go elsewhere.
Is Reutty's motivation here really about "privacy rights"? Does that explain her behavior which, to the casual observer, seems antagonistic and hateful toward law enforcement? Doesn't her behavior seem sympathetic to the potential criminal the cops were chasing? Some librarians are hiding their motivations behind an outward symbol of ethics (privacy rights), when their actions are guided by reasons deliberately kept hidden--reasons not so ethical.
The entire "privacy" rationale used by librarians and gaining nationwide attention is nothing but a sham to hide the immoral, unethical motivations guiding some librarians who unfortunately have found a home in our profession.
As I've stated before, my hope is that the increased technological proficiency demanded of librarians now and in the future will tend to weed out extremists and improve the profession as a whole, as higher salaries and status encourage a better class of people to enter our ranks. My wish can't happen too soon.
tags: libraries, librarians, hasbrouck+heights, privacy, police