Recently, I attended my first National Library Legislative Day to learn how to advocate for our libraries. We started the day listening to Hina Shamsi, the Director of the National Security Project for ACLU. She spoke of her own experience with the Muslim ban. She has lived and worked here legally for over a decade, however, after the first ban was enacted she was returning to the country after interviewing a person in relation to a case she was working on. She was detained and interrogated at the airport simply because she had a Pakistanie passport. This story led to the main topic of her speech. To impress upon the importance of libraries in the fight for intelluctual freedom and the importance of real privacy and surveillance law reform. There are several acts that are being reviewed in the legislature at this time.With all of the political unrest and threats to the future of libraries I felt the need to become more actively involved. To start, I decided to attend National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C.
What a great learning experience.
There I was in a room full of more than 500 librarians all with the same goal. To visit with our federal Representatives and ask them to save the funding for libraries. Funding that provides the statewide MeLCat interloan service along with over 4 million in grants to libraries in Michigan. These funds help us provide many of the programs that we offer to the public for free.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: This act is in need of being reformed. Under this Act, the NSA was able to collect all communitcations and store them for later use. This includes but is not limited to phone messages and conversations, texts and tweets, and social media comments. The reforms would stop or limit the collection of these communications without a warrent or probable cause.
Why is this important for libraries you ask? Well, as a philosohpy of the library we believe in the freedom of privacy for our patrons. The Email Privacy Act helps to protect your freedom and privacy.
While the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act erodes your freedom and privacy.