Life in a Police State

It seems like it has been a bad couple of weeks to be a library Director. Jackie Griffin of the Berkeley Public Library recently “resigned(Berkeley library rift reaches resolution)”: under a settlement agreement with the city. Jo Ann Pinder was “fired(Gwinnett library board fires director)”: as Director of the Gwinnett County Library without any reason given (although some questionable ones were hinted at). But this one really concerns me as well.
bq.Library Director Michele Reutty is under fire for refusing to give police library circulation records without a subpoena. Reutty says she was only doing her job and maintaining the privacy of library patrons. But the mayor called it “a blatant disregard for the Police Department,” which needed her help to identify a man who allegedly threatened a child. Reutty, the director for 17 years, now faces possible discipline by the library board. – “Merry Firschein(Library chief draws cops’ ire)”: Reutty is in trouble acting “in accordance with New Jersey state statutes governing access of private information from libraries.” While she may have violated procedure by not contacting the borough attorney, it seems from the comments that that is not what the upset is all about. It was not all that long that Steve Roberts “lost his job(JC Confidential)”: for doing essentially what she didn’t. I guess whoever said that “No Good Deed goes unpunished” was correct.

By Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997.

Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident.

Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida.

He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995.

However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999.

In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.