Graeme Merrall on Wed, 4 Aug 2004 18:20:53 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Justice Department attempting to remove public documents from libraries

Fortunately this order has been apparently rescinded. See

-- snip! --

Last week, the American Library Association learned that the Department of
Justice asked the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents
to instruct depository libraries to destroy five publications the
Department has deemed not "appropriate for external use." The Department
of Justice has called for these five public documents, two of which are
texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and
destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a
law office or law library.

The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how
citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the
government during an investigation. The documents to be removed and
destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select
Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset
forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset
Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

ALA has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the
withdrawn materials in order to obtain an official response from the
Department of Justice regarding this unusual action, and why the
Department has requested that documents that have been available to the
public for as long as four years be removed from depository library
collections. ALA is committed to ensuring that public documents remain
available to the public and will do its best to bring about a satisfactory
resolution of this matter.

Librarians should note that, according to policy 72, written authorization
from the Superintendent of Documents is required to remove any documents.
To this date no such written authorization in hard copy has been issued.

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