[Libs-Or] Fw: [ALACOUN:12761] Re: GODORT and Destroying US
diedrec at charter.net
Thu Jul 29 11:17:50 PDT 2004
Here is more of the discussion on the ALA Council list.
To: ALA Council List <alacoun at ala1.ala.org>
Subject: [ALACOUN:12761] Re: GODORT and Destroying US Government Documents
From: "Margolis, Bernard A." <bmargolis at bpl.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 12:53:39 -0400
I wanted to share some additional information on the SuDox Request to the Depositories to Remove and destroy five items. This story broke in the Boston Globe last Saturday. The reporter assigned to the story is an attorney as well as journalist and several years ago did significant legal work in the areas of ?seized assets and forfeiture? the topic of these items in question. In the reporter?s presence I made my second telephone call to Lester Joseph who is the Acting Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division, Department of Justice and apparently the person who made the decision to remove the items from the Depository Libraries. Based on our phone conversation I believe that he misunderstood the options that were available to his Section. He believes, even though some of the items have been in depositories for four (4) years, that they all can be described as ?attorney work product?. I suggested that he has now created an inter!
est in these items when there may not have been a demand in the past. He was unaware of the content of the Superintendent of Documents communication with the depositories, I faxed him a copy of the e-mail which the Boston Public Library had received.
Since that conversation I have taken several actions which I would like to encourage others to follow in whatever manner is comfortable. First, I have written (snail mail) Judy Russell (SUDox) requesting verification of her e-mail. With all of the concern about authentication how can we be sure of the e-mail?s origin? I have asked for info on the process followed for removal. I have also asked why the request was not to return the items but rather to destroy them. (I will not destroy these documents.)
Next, I have written Lester Joseph, asking him to reconsider his request to SUDox. I believe all he really wanted was that new editions/publications not be placed in the depository system. I do not believe, based on our phone conversation, that he actually wanted these to be destroyed.
Third, I have spoken with the Boston Globe about a possible editorial. I hope this will happen. Encourage your newspaper.
Fourth, I have copied the five documents and they are being cataloged as part of the Boston Public Library?s collection ? separate from the depository collection. They are available for public use and will continue to be. This is where the line needs to be drawn.
I am reviewing a few other options. I have received some other newspaper inquiries and sadly it is obvious that some depositories have already removed and destroyed. At a minimum I hope every depository adopts an internal procedure to handle these SUDox requests. The procedure would include some verification of the legitimacy of the request, some review process, and if need be a process that verifies/documents the action taken (by whom, when, how, witnesses, etc.) in case it is later questioned.
We must be firm. We must view ourselves not only as advocates for the public?s right to know, but also as the advocates for the ?information? itself in a fight for survival.
Boston Public Library
Please feel free to circulate this widely!
From: owner-alacoun at ala.org [mailto:owner-alacoun at ala.org] On Behalf Of Bernadine Abbott Hoduski
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 6:39 PM
To: ALA Council List
Subject: [ALACOUN:12751] Re: GODORT and Destroying US Government Documents
Hi Michael, Cathy, and Council,
Librarians have already started to destroy the documents. Some of them do not think about the issue first they just do what GPO tells them to do. That is why we need an appeal process in the law. Right now we need the Joint Committee on Printing and the judiciary committees to step in and put a halt to this until the issue can be addressed by Congress. WO staff are talking to Congressional staff but I am not sure which ones, so I do not know if they are the ones that I would have talked to when I was the professional staffer on JCP for these issues. I trust Tom Susman to give good advice. He was a staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee before he went into private practice. He has advised the WO and ALA for years. He worked with ALA on the GPO Access Act of 1993 and with the ALA group that worked on title 44 suggested changes in the middle 1990s. That effort went no where since the chairman of the Senate Rules committee decided to side witht he private sector rath!
er than ALA. It seems like an appropriate time to think of a very targeted bill that would remedy this problem but this could not take place until the next Congress. No member of Congress is going to work on this type of legislation during an election year. Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, Councilor at large
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Gorman
To: ALA Council List
Cc: ALA Council List ; pmcdermott at alawash.org
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 1:48 PM
Subject: [ALACOUN:12747] Re: GODORT and Destroying US Government Documents
And in the mean time? Has the destruction "by any means" already begun?
The lawyer's response was cautiously lawyerly (as is quite proper) and there is no doubt that the letter of the regulations, etc., gives the government virtual carte blanche. That is, I would suggest, not the point. The point is that this administration is determined to abridge the legitimate rights of the people to the goverment information for which they have paid and ALA should be on the side of the people not on the side of those who seek to revise history..
Madden Library, CSU, Fresno
"The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost"
----- Original Message -----
From: Cathy Hartman <CHARTMAN at library.unt.edu>
Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 2:54 pm
Subject: [ALACOUN:12732] Re: GODORT and Destroying US Government Documents
> Joseph and Michael,
> As the GODORT Councilor, I will consult with the GODORT Steering
> and Legislation Committees to see if they believe that a
> recommendation for action is required at this time.
> The issue of withdrawal of materials from depository libraries is
> not a new one. In 2001, a USGS cd-rom was withdrawn from the
> program at the request of the USGS. At that time, ARL
> commissioned attorney Tom Susman, Ropes & Gray, to address
> "important questions concerning the removal and/or destruction of
> federal depository library documents, including factors that
> libraries might consider concerning public access to copies of
> withdrawn FDLP materials. The memo reviews the legal
> responsibilities of both the federal depository libraries and the
> Government Printing Office while highlighting a number of key
> policy considerations." The URL to review the memo is
> Mr. Susman addresses the issues of appealing a request for
> withdrawal of materials. He found no process in place for an
> appeal, but he noted that a FOIA request could be made for the
> documents, which would require the "agency to justify
> nondisclosure in a process that could lead to a judicial
> proceeding." However, he held little hope that such a process
> would be successful in the current environment.
> I spoke with Patrice McDermott of the ALA Washington office
> earlier this afternoon. It appears that the Washington Office
> staff, in collaboration with our sister library associations, is
> now pursuing options with Congressional staff on this issue, which
> seems appropriate. My suggestion is that we wait for the result
> of the inquiry and then proceed with recommendations for action if
> Cathy Hartman
> GODORT Councilor
> >>> "Joseph M. Egan" <jeagan at mail.epfl.net> 7/27/2004 2:44:51 PM >>>
> I would strongly support ALA action to protest the further destruction
> of the information commons caused by government action such
> as the U.S. Dept. of Justice requesting the destruction of US
> governmentdocuments. Can GODORT act quickly to make a
> recommendation for action
> to the Executive Board?
> Joseph M. Eagan
> Enoch Pratt Free Library
> State Library Resource Center
> Periodicals Department
> 400 Cathedral Street
> Baltimore, MD 21201-4484
> Telephone: 410-396-5451
> FAX: 410-396-1199
> WATS: 1-800-492-5626 (Maryland Only)
> E-mail: jeagan at epfl.net
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