Recently there have been reports around Maine of individuals being harassed and having their immigration statuses questioned by people who lack the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Maine Library Association feels it is important to reiterate our commitment to our profession’s values of privacy, intellectual freedom, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to join the American Library Association in condemning policies that separate families pursuing asylum in our country. In addition, the MLA feels it is important to remember that library records and user information are private and cannot be obtained by law enforcement without a subpoena or warrant. ALA suggests these guidelines for how to respond to law enforcement’s requests for such information.
ALA and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, have links on their websites to resources for librarians and library users seeking information about immigration, refugees, asylum, and legal defense. The website of the American Civil Liberties Union has information about what an individual’s rights are when stopped by the police, questioned about immigration status, and visited by ICE.
All patrons, regardless of their origins or status, can expect to be treated with respect and dignity and for their legal rights to be protected at any library. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about, and understanding more broadly, the many important national issues our country is facing to utilize this free online content subscription resource called Opposing Viewpoints in Context, accessible through the Maine State Library's MARVEL tool.
-- The MLA Board