v.22 #5 Legally Speaking: The Legal Basis for Library Video Surveillance

Section Editors:
Bruce Strauch
(The Citadel) strauchb@citadel.edu
Bryan M. Carson, J.D., M.I.L.S. (Western Kentucky University) bryan.carson@wku.edu
Jack Montgomery (Western Kentucky University) jack.montgomery@wku.edu

by Bryan M. Carson, J.D., M.I.L.S. (Associate Professor, Coordinator of Reference and Instructional Services, Associated Faculty — Library Media Education Program, Western Kentucky University Libraries, 1906 College Heights Blvd. #11067, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-1067; Phone: 270-745-5007; Fax: 270-745-2275) bryan.carson@wku.edu

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Sometimes it takes an outsider to make us see ourselves. We often take our history, culture, and traditions for granted. In many instances, it is only when an outsider asks for clarification that we realize how much we have subconsciously assumed about ourselves and about our way of life.

This point was brought home to me recently by one of my colleagues at Western Kentucky University. In 2009, Haiwang Yuan, the library’s Webmaster, was selected by the Institute for Museum and Library Services to participate in a panel of U.S. librarians helping to train library science students and practitioners in China. After responding to audience questions, Haiwang sent me the following email:

Q. What’s the legal basis for monitoring the library with security cameras such as those installed [at Western Kentucky University]? We don’t agree even among the speakers ourselves here, not to speak of the audience.

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