Subpoena and Warrant Procedures

What If I Am Approached by the FBI or the Police?

The following procedures have been established to ensure that library staff at all levels respond appropriately in the event of a request by law enforcement to produce library records (e.g., items checked out, ILL requests, computer use, etc.).

Library Records

If a person or persons asks to see library records, under Georgia Law 24-12-30, circulation and similar records of a library that identify the user of library materials are confidential and many not be disclosed except:

  • To members of the library staff in the course of business;
  • Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user’s parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
  • Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.

If a law enforcement official requests information from library records, request to see identification and refer the inquiry to the Libraries Administration.

Scenario 1

If they do not have a court order, subpoena, or warrant, inform the law enforcement official that a user’s library records are not available except when a court order in good form has been presented to the library. You should not answer any questions other than your name and address. Immediately direct the law enforcement official to Libraries Administration.

Scenario 2

If they present a subpoena, immediately direct the person or the subpoena to Libraries Administration. A subpoena for documents will be titled a Subpoena Duces Tecum.

If it is after hours and no one is in Libraries Administration, direct the person or take the subpoena to the highest-ranking administrator or manager available. If the subpoena is delivered during evening or weekend hours, place the subpoena in the department head’s mailbox and note the day and time of receipt on the back of the subpoena. It is important to realize that subpoenas do not demand immediate action.

The dean and university librarian or other library administrator will contact the Office of General Counsel.

Scenario 3

If they present a warrant do not interfere with their search or seizure. Immediately inform Libraries Administration. If no one in Libraries Administration is available, notify the highest-ranking administrator or manager available.

The dean and university librarian or other library administrator will contact the Office of General Counsel.

When the law enforcement officials leave with library property, they will leave a receipt concerning the items removed. Please pass this receipt on to Libraries Administration.

If the warrant has been issued under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (US PATRIOT Act amendment), additional provisions apply:

  • Staff are prohibited from disclosing that an information request has been made or that records have been produced.
  • Therefore, you may not tell the person(s) about whom the information is requested, nor speak to coworkers, the media, or other government officials about the inquiry. Such requests may only be reported to a higher authority within the Libraries or the University.

What Happens Next?

Libraries Administration will notify Office of General Counsel (OGC).

Contacts at OGC:

  • Chris Kellner, Associate General Counsel, phone: 404-727-6012
  • Kathy Siemon, Senior Legal Assistant, phone: 404-712-2750
  • Office of General Counsel, phone: 404-727-6011