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Video Surveillance Policy
The James Prendergast Library strives to maintain a safe and secure environment for its users, staff, and property while protecting individual privacy rights. In order to discourage criminal activity and potential violations of library policy and enhance the ability to identify and apprehend criminal offenders, security cameras which will record video images have been installed in certain areas of the Library. Cameras are situated to monitor selected entrances and exits, service areas, and areas of the building that are out of the line of vision of Prendergast Library staff.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Camera placement shall be determined by the Library Director or his/her designee. Cameras shall not be placed in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, including restrooms. Cameras are not positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing or listening activities. However, to the extent that any recorded images include identifiable persons requesting information or checking out an item, such record shall be treated as confidential, to the extent permissible by law, and under the confidentiality and privacy policies of the Library.
The Library will post signs at all public entrances alerting users to the presence of security cameras for monitoring and recording on Library property, both inside and outside. Because security cameras are not routinely monitored, staff and public should take appropriate precautions for their safety and for the security of personal property. The James Prendergast Library is not responsible for loss of property or personal injury and no assurances of safety are being provided as a result of the use of video cameras.
Data Storage and Access
Cameras will record activities in real time, 24 hours a day and images will be saved to the camera server’s hard drive. Current software deletes images automatically as the capacity of the hard drive is reached; which is one month. Reception and recording equipment is stored in a limited-access, secure staff area. Only the Director and Library Management are authorized to access the recorded archival data in pursuit of incidents of criminal activity, litigation, or violation of the Library Rules of Conduct. The Library Director holds the authority to designate Library staff members who may access real time or recorded footage.
Digital images will not be maintained after one month, provided no criminal activity or policy violation has occurred or is being investigated. Digital records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity on library property or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations as delineated in the Library’s Rules of Conduct Behavior Policy and will be maintained as long as considered necessary by the Library Director.
In situations involving trespassing/banned patrons, stored still images may be shared with staff. Shared images may be posted in restricted staff areas and will be maintained as long as considered necessary by the Library Director. Circumstances under which designated Prendergast Library staff may access images in real time include, but are not limited to, observation of areas beyond view from designated work stations for purposes of safety and security. Access to real time or recorded imagery is also authorized to designated Prendergast Library staff upon report of suspicious behavior, including policy violations, criminal activity, destruction or theft of library property or assets, or other activity that may be disruptive to library operations.
Patrons who experience a crime such as theft of personal possessions while at the library must submit a report to law enforcement; the library will not allow patrons to view surveillance footage. All requests for security camera footage or still photographs by law enforcement will be referred to the Library Director or in his or her absence, to the Library Manager.
Digital still images or video from Library cameras are shared with law enforcement under the following conditions:
- When pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or when otherwise required by state or federal law.
- When needed as evidence of policy violation or criminal activity taking place in the Library building or on Library property.
The Library and the Board of Trustees reserves the right to consult legal counsel in matters involving warrants or subpoenas seeking access to security footage.
The Library disclaims any liability for use of the video data in accordance with the terms of this policy, given that the Library is a public facility and the security cameras shall be limited to those areas where patrons and/or staff have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Approved by the James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees January 21, 2021