Security Camera and Recording Policy
Security Camera Purpose
Tuscarawas County Public Library (TCPL) strives to offer a welcoming environment where customers and staff can use the library and its resources in safety and comfort. Security cameras are in use at the library to enhance the physical security of the library, its property, customers, and staff. Cameras may also be used by the library in pursuit of incidents of suspicious or criminal activity, litigation, or violations of the library’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the placement and use of cameras, as well as the access and retrieval of video records.
Signs are posted at library entrances informing the public that security cameras are in use.
Security Camera Placement
Security cameras are positioned to record only those areas specified by the Director, and will complement other security measures, to maintain a safe and secure environment. Camera placement shall not be changed or expanded without permission of the Director. Reasonable efforts are made to safeguard the privacy of library customers and staff.
Cameras may be installed in common areas where customers and staff would not have an expectation of privacy, and in areas that are prone to theft or misconduct. Examples include entrances, public seating, public computers, public meeting rooms, hallways, parking lots, delivery areas, and near library collections.
Cameras will not be installed in areas where the public or staff have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, private offices, or staff break rooms. Cameras will not be positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing, or listening activities in the library. Cameras are not installed for the purpose of monitoring staff performance and will not be used for the purpose of routine performance evaluations.
Cameras are not continuously monitored. Therefore, individuals should always take appropriate precautions for their safety and for the security of their personal property. Certain circumstances, including reports of policy violations, suspected criminal activity, or the destruction or theft of library assets or property, may require such monitoring to occur.
Access to Live Video
Library Staff Access
Live camera feeds may be monitored by public service or administration staff, in the course of their normal duties, to ensure a safe and secure library environment and the functionality of the camera system.
Law Enforcement Access
Law enforcement may be given access to live video during exigent circumstances, in which case a TCPL Exigent Circumstances Form must be completed. Requests for access to live video by law enforcement will be referred to the Director or Assistant Director. If neither is available, staff may assist law enforcement with access when exigent circumstances are cited and complete the TCPL Exigent Circumstances Form as soon as the situation permits.
Access to Video Recordings
Library Staff Access
Only the Director and Assistant Director, or a designee, are authorized individuals to access past video records, for the purpose of investigating incidents of suspicious or criminal activity, litigation, or violations of the library’s Code of Conduct. These recordings may be reviewed with other staff to obtain additional information related to a specific incident or security concern. In those cases, such persons shall not violate any privacy laws or policies after viewing the recordings. In addition, the Director, Assistant Director, and the Information Technology Manager may monitor and operate the security camera system as part of routine system maintenance.
Law Enforcement Access
All requests for video records by law enforcement will be referred to the Director or Assistant Director. Video records may be released upon request from law enforcement to assist in active investigations involving criminal activity at the library, to identify a suspect violating library policies, or to address a security or safety risk to the library or its customers and staff.
Such requests must be in writing and for a limited and specified time period, location, and incident. Personal information about an individual who has used any library service, or borrowed any library materials, will be redacted and will be accorded the same level of confidentiality and protection provided to library users by Ohio state law (including, but not limited to, ORC §149.432, “Releasing Library Record or Patron Information”) and TCPL policies on confidentiality and privacy. Unredacted records will require a subpoena or warrant.
Law enforcement may also be given access to video recordings during exigent circumstances, in which case a TCPL Exigent Circumstances Form must be completed. If the Director or Assistant Director is unavailable, staff may assist law enforcement with access when exigent circumstances are cited and complete the TCPL Exigent Circumstances Form.
The TCPL considers video records public information. Members of the public may submit a public information request to obtain a copy of a recording. All requests for video records will be referred to the Director or Assistant Director, who will evaluate and respond to them in a reasonable timeframe. Such requests must be submitted in writing and must include: who is making the request, their contact information, and a specific description of what is being requested, including the date, time, and location. Personal information about an individual who has used any library service, or borrowed any library materials, will be redacted and will be accorded the same level of confidentiality and protection provided to library users by Ohio state law (including, but not limited to, ORC §149.432, “Releasing Library Record or Patron Information”) and TCPL policies on confidentiality and privacy. A copy of the video records will be provided on a USB drive for the cost of the drive. Members of the public are strongly advised to contact law enforcement before requesting records relating to potential criminal activity.
Retention of Video Records
Video records are stored digitally and retained for approximately thirty (30) days. Records relating to a suspected criminal activity or significant incident will be maintained until resolution of the specific incident, investigation, or litigation.
Unauthorized Access and/or Disclosure
Video records will not be disclosed other than as specifically authorized by this policy. Library staff are to review and comply with this policy and with any laws relevant to this policy. A breach of this policy may result in discipline, up to and including termination