Magazine article American Libraries

New Jersey Director Blasted for Requiring Subpoenas

Magazine article American Libraries

New Jersey Director Blasted for Requiring Subpoenas

Article excerpt

Michele Reutty, director of Hasbrouck Heights Public Library and president-elect of the New Jersey Library Association, faces discipline from the library's board of trustees over her requiring police to obtain subpoenas before giving them patron records during a May investigation.

Police first asked for information May 11, the day after a 12-year-old girl said she was sexually threatened by a man outside the library building. The girl had told police that the man was carrying a library book, according to the June 22 Bergen Record; officers asked Reutty to tell them who checked out the title mentioned by the girl, but Reutty refused to do so without the subpoena.

When police presented the subpoena, Reutty searched for the title but could not find it in the library's holdings. Police then asked for the records of everyone who checked out or renewed books in the past 10 days, but Reutty refused without another subpoena, since those records are computerized and kept off-site. After receiving the second subpoena the next day, Reutty complied; the information she provided helped identify the suspect.

"I followed the law," Reutty said in the Record. "And because I followed the law, at the end of the day, the policemen's case is going to hold strong. …

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