Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

By , June 7, 2011 3:17 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

A few months ago, we reported a story regarding the Woodmont Library’s surveillance camera capturing a crime and local police unhappily having to obtain a warrant for access. In response to this, it looks like the King County Library System will be removing a number of their cameras. details the situation further and concludes that the Downtown Library will be the only library to retain their cameras. The library system views video surveillance as a hindrance to library goals, and the process effectively consumes approximately $30,000 a year.

Unfortunately, the article does not include a weigh-in from Seattle law enforcement, nor does it offer any statistics about footage previously turned over. Although the article has a snazzy quote from a visiting UW Law School Professor, Ronald Collins, (that should make us feel good about ourselves): “The people in the best position to safeguard libraries are librarians . . .” Yet, the situation has the potential to be the start of several back-and-forths, given that cameras were first installed in 2006 to protect the public. If crime were to increase, I can’t imagine the King County Library System being able to hold out.

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