The investigation into a complaint that District Librarian Gregg Atkins violated a section of the California Government Code concluded without passing the case onto the Solano County District Attorney for prosecution.
On Monday during its regular meeting, the Dixon Public Library Commission discussed Dixon Police officer Maranda Russell’s report that stated the department’s investigation did not find that Atkins violated California Government Code 6267. The code ensures the confidentiality of library patrons with certain exceptions.
"After (the) investigation was completed, (the) case was determined to be unfounded," stated Russell’s report, which was handed out at the start of Monday’s meeting.
But the department’s report does not mean that the case can’t be pursued as a civil matter.
Back in April, former librarian Nancy Schrott claimed that Atkins and his staff violated the Government Code when they distributed 3,500 library cardholders’ e-mail addresses to a private public relations firm – AIM Consulting – hired by the library to drum up support for the library’s expansion project
Under Government Code 6267: “All registration and circulation records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person or local agency.”
But Code 6267 also lists exceptions that allow disclosure:
- By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library.
- By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records.
- By order of the appropriate superior court.
Atkins has indicated that he provided the e-mail addresses to AIM with the understanding that the addresses would be returned to the library when AIM completed its work under contract with the library.
Audience member David Werrin told the Commission that the library might want to purchase indemnity insurance in the event that damage arises from the distribution of the e-mail addresses such as identity theft.
Schrott, who originally filed the complaint against the library, told Dixon Patch that she would not pursue the matter further. She said that the only way a lawsuit could be brought against the library would be if someone were harmed by the library’s actions.
Werrin also told the library commission that it was wrong for the library to have given out the e-mail addresses. He said, even if the library cardholders opted to remove their e-mail addresses from the library database, their personal information could still be compromised.
But Atkins has maintained that the library did nothing wrong and that the library has a responsibility to its clients to provide the latest news and information on the library.