Video Surveillance

Effective Date: 05/21


The Ela Area Public Library District uses a video surveillance system to provide a safe and secure environment for its patrons and staff. The purpose of this policy is to regulate the video surveillance system and recording on the Ela Public Library District premises.

Information obtained through video surveillance will be used exclusively to assist with the investigation of incident, including theft, vandalism, personal injury or property damage, and for security and law enforcement purposes, which must relate to the protection of Library patrons, staff and the public, or deterrence or detections of criminal activity. Video surveillance of the Library premises will be conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner, in accordance with the following principles: a) video surveillance must be conducted in compliance with the laws of Illinois; b) video surveillance will be used by Library employees authorized by the Library Director; c) appropriate signs and notice of video surveillance must be posted in areas subject to video monitoring.



The Library Director and IT Manager will provide input on the placement of cameras on the Ela Public Library District premises. The Library Director and IT Manager are responsible for the surveillance systems. The IT Manager is responsible for hardware and software specification, configuration, and maintenance. Staff will notify the IT Manager or Library Director of any equipment failures or other problems.



Access to surveillance footage is restricted to the Library Director and IT Manager. The Library Director may authorize access to surveillance footage to staff, to the extent required by their job responsibilities. Each user of the surveillance system logs in with unique credentials and access is logged for audit purposes.

Unauthorized access, exporting, or sharing live or recorded video surveillance footage by an employee may be grounds for disciplinary action, including termination of employment.



Video surveillance of the Ela Library District premises is conducted at all times when the Library is open during normal business hours and after hours.

Periodically, cameras may be monitored in real time by authorized staff. However, there is no expectation that footage is monitored in real time by library personnel for security or other purposes.



All cameras shall have audio capture capabilities disabled. No audio may be recorded, streamed or transmitted at any time. Cameras shall not be installed or operated in areas where individual have a reasonable expectation of privacy.



Video surveillance systems will be designed with a targeted retention range of approximately 28- 45 days. However, retention times may vary widely since date storage usage depends on image quality settings, frame rates, scene traffic, and other variables. As video footage grows over time, the oldest recordings are automatically purged from the storage media to make space for newer recordings. Video surveillance will be destroyed in accordance with the Local Records Act.



Signs are located both outside and inside the Ela Public Library notifying patrons that the building and premises are under video surveillance.



Current employees have been informed and new employees will be informed upon date of hires that the Ela Public Library District utilizes video surveillance.



All request for copies of video surveillance are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). According to FOIA, requests must be made in writing and are subject to state and federal laws as related to confidentiality and dissemination of information related to minors. Nothing in this provision preempts the dissemination of video surveillance to law enforcement. Ela Public Library District also complies with the Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act, 75 ILCS 70 et seq.



The Library Director or his or her designee will be notified of all requests for exported video footage to be furnished to law enforcement or other outside agencies, or for archival beyond normal time periods. The same applies to requests from law enforcement for remote access to the Ela Library District’s surveillance systems when applicable.

When footage extraction or archival is requested, the Library Director will notify the IT Manager of specific dates and time blocks requested. These parameters must be as specific as possible and limited only to particular views and time window, because high resolution video footage uses very large amounts of storage space. The IT Manager will maintain a record of export requests, including dates, times, locations, requestor subject, and recipient of the footage.                                                                                                                 



All requests for recording are to be directed to the Executive Director or the Assistant Director. The recordings may be eligible via the Freedom of Information Act per the Library’s attorney. However, a valid subpoena or court order may need to be obtained by the requesting party for the recordings to be produced.

No unauthorized recording of security monitor video footage through cell phones, portable devices, or any other means is permitted. Any Library employee who becomes aware of unauthorized disclosure of a video recording or a potential privacy breach has a responsibility to immediately inform the Executive Director or Assistant Director of the breach.

Authorization to release video without the permission of the Executive Director exists if “a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that there is imminent danger of physical harm to someone.” An example of this would be an abduction that occurred in the Library. If this occurs, the recording should be made available to the law enforcement official immediately and without a subpoena.

Cameras are positioned to monitor public areas of the Library such as public service areas, entrances and areas prone to theft, vandalism or other activities that may violate Library policy  or criminal law. Cameras are not and shall not be located in areas where patrons and/or staff have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms.

Video surveillance records are not to be used directly or indirectly to identify the activities of individual Library patrons except as viewed in relation to a specific event or suspected criminal activity, suspected violation of Library policy or incidents where there is reasonable basis to believe a claim may be made against the Library for civil liability. The Library Director or authorized staff may use a still shot or selected portions of recorded data to request law enforcement review for assessing the security risk of a specific individual or for investigating a crime on Library property.

Law enforcement officials or agencies may be provided access to the recorded data pursuant to a subpoena, court order or as permitted by law. Recorded data will be accorded the same level of confidentiality and protection provided to Library users by Illinois state law and the Library’s policies.

The digital recordings are stored for approximately 28 days and then they are automatically overwritten unless we specifically archive a recording with the exception of appropriate still shots or selected portions of the recorded data relating to specific incidents. In situations involving banned patrons, stored still images may be shared with staff library-wide. The recordings are stored on our video security server.

The Axis Camera Management software is installed at the Info Desk, the Children’s Reference Desk, Adult Reference Desk, IT Office, the Security Monitor laptop and the Director and Assistant Director’s office.

The cameras are located in the lobby, at the front Library entrance, at the staff entrance, at the drive-up window, in the Teen Lounge, in the Children’s Department, in the non-fiction area, and in the Digital Media Labs.

Signage is posted on the front doors, in the lobby, and upstairs notifying patrons about the video surveillance. “Security Notice, Video Surveillance is in use on these premises.”

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