UPDATE March 1: The bill discussed in the post below was signed into law by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker yesterday. See coverage here.
From the AP:
The state Senate’s Elections and Local Government unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would create exceptions to privacy laws protecting library users’ identities so libraries could report delinquent borrowers to collection agencies and police. The committee vote clears the way for a full vote on the Senate floor.
The bill’s author, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, a River Falls Republican, said in written testimony to the committee that the proposal would give libraries tools they need to recover their materials and collect fines.
Wisconsin Library Association lobbyist Steven Conway said the bill would help establish uniform procedures for recovering overdue materials. Right now, he said, different municipalities are advising libraries to use different strategies, including assigning a librarian to make calls, referring borrowers to collection agencies and turning to police.
But it’s unclear whether those tactics are legal under borrower privacy protections, Harsdorf aide Alison Zikmund said. The bill clarifies that collection agencies and police are clearly options, she said.
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Note: For more on this story see our post from January 6, 2015:
Wisconsin State Legislature Considers Proposal That Would Permit Police Notification For Overdue Library Materials
Worth Noting: The Wisconsin Library Association is supporting this legislation.