ARCHIVED: Library Statement on Proposed Anti-terrorism Measures

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Dear Member of Congress:

The American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of Research Libraries call on our Nation's leaders to move cautiously in proposing new laws and regulations aimed at terrorism. We are concerned that some of the legislation proposed thus far threatens the rights of the public and undermines the confidentiality that is crucial for the flow of information needed for the provision of library services and importantly, the vitality of our democracy.

As the national debate on how to maintain our freedom while assuring appropriate security moves forward, we ask you to balance the impact of any legislative and regulatory proposals on the privacy and First Amendment rights of library users. The proposals thus far have raised significant concerns. These include:

  • the expansion of pen register and trap and trace devices to the Internet;
  • the expansion of access to business records; ;
  • the expansion of access to educational institution records; ;
  • the expansion of the definition of terrorism; and;
  • new mandates for technology.
We appreciate the thoughtful debate that is occurring to achieve legislation that will protect our civil liberties while assuring greater national security. The attached statement outlines in detail some key concerns of our three associations that we hope you will consider. We understand that the legislation is moving quickly and that some of these issues may, in fact, be under consideration. We ask you to consider these concerns and we offer to work with Congress and all stakeholders to achieve a balanced piece of legislation.


American Association of Law Libraries;
Mary Alice Baish, Associate Washington Affairs Representative;

American Library Association;
Lynne Bradley, Director, Office of Government Relations;

Association of Research Libraries;
Prudence S. Adler, Associate Executive Director;

Attachment: "Library Community Statement on Proposed Anti-terrorism Measures"