The Library must offer a welcoming, open atmosphere and provide a quiet, comfortable and safe environment where people can use library facilities and collections for intended purposes to the maximum extent possible.
Security cameras are used where needed to provide peace of mind to library users and staff by discouraging violations of the Library’s Rules of Conduct, to assist library staff in preventing the occurrence of any violations, and when necessary, to provide law enforcement assistance in prosecuting criminal activity. The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the placement and use of video security cameras, as well as the access and retrieval of recorded video images at Omaha Public Library.
Omaha Public Library values patron privacy first. The goal of Omaha Public Library is to maintain appropriate confidentiality of its patrons while protecting the public through cooperation with law enforcement when life is at risk. This policy should be interpreted with the understanding that the image of a person on library property is not protected, but anything that would identify content of a library user is protected and held private.
Exigent circumstances apply if anyone is in immediate physical danger on or off library property, law enforcement will be provided immediate access to security video footage without a subpoena in order to create a safe environment for library staff and patrons, as well as the public at large.
- Signs will be posted at Library entrances informing the public that security cameras are in use.
- Security cameras may be placed in both indoor and outdoor areas where security staff and designated Library staff may randomly or regularly monitor activity.
- Access to the footage in pursuit of documented incidents of criminal activity or violation of the Library's Rules of Conduct is restricted to designated staff: Branch Managers, Persons-in-Charge (PICs), Security Staff, Library Administration, and Information Technology Staff.
- Patron access to video footage is not allowed without a lawful Order of the Court.
- Access is also allowed by police pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or when otherwise required by law, and in exigent situations as defined above. Designated staff (as referenced above: Branch Managers, Persons-in-Charge (PICs), Security Staff, Library Administration, and Information Technology Staff) will decide in emergency situations.
- Production of video copies for distribution is limited to designated Technology and Administration staff.
- Designated staff may have access to real-time monitors. Images will be viewed on desktop monitors placed in secure areas to ensure privacy.
- Technology and Administrative staff will refer all non-city requests for video footage to the City Law Department.
- In situations involving banned-and-barred patrons, stored still images may be shared with staff system-wide. Shared images may remain posted in restricted staff areas for the duration of the banning period. After the banning period ends, these images are archived in the Administrative Offices for five years.
- Because security cameras are not constantly monitored, staff and public should take appropriate precautions for their safety and for the security of personal property. Neither Omaha Public Library nor the City of Omaha is responsible for loss of property or personal injury.
- Cameras may be installed in public spaces where individuals lack a reasonable expectation of privacy. Examples include common areas of the library such as entrances, book stacks, public seating areas, hallways, stairways, delivery areas and parking lots.
- Cameras may be installed in areas that could assist Law Enforcement in documenting traffic accidents or other incidents unrelated to the Library that take place on the public streets and surrounding properties within camera view. Examples include cameras on the exterior of a library building that not only document activity on Library property but also the sidewalk, public streets, and surrounding properties.
- Cameras will not be installed in areas of the Library where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in restrooms.
- Cameras will not be installed for the purpose of monitoring staff performance.
- Images will be stored for a length of time based on available storage, but no longer than 30 days, unless someone has specifically requested retention. As new images are recorded, the oldest images will be automatically deleted. The length of storage time varies depending on the camera’s memory and recording length.
- Staff and patron safety is the first priority in any threatening situation. The protection of library property is of secondary importance.
Questions from the public may be directed to the Executive Director, Assistant Library Director, or Facilities Manager.
A copy of this policy may be shared with members of the public upon request. The policy is also posted on the Omaha Public Library’s official website.
Approved by the Board of Trustees
of the Omaha Public Library April 20, 2011
Re-Approved August 19, 2015
Updated & Re-Approved June 21, 2017