Washington, DC, February 14, 2011—The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a bill that will extend the Patriot Act through December 8 without providing additional protections for the privacy of bookstore and library records. The Campaign for Reader Privacy, which represents booksellers, librarians, publishers, and authors, is urging its supporters to telephone their House members today to ask them to vote against H.R. 514.

Three provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire at the end of the month, including one that gives the FBI the right to search the bookstore and library records of anyone it considers “relevant” to a national security investigation. This would be the second extension without changes in two years. It also moves the debate over the Patriot Act until late this year. With a presidential election looming next year, there is a danger that the re-authorization could become a partisan issue.

The Campaign for Reader Privacy is supporting S. 290, a bill recently introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that restores some of the protections for reader privacy and extends the expiring provisions until the end of 2013.    

The Campaign for Reader Privacy was organized in 2004 by the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center. Its goal is to ensure that Americans can purchase and borrow books without fear that the government is reading over their shoulder.

Oren Teicher, ABA, (800) 637-0037, ext. 6611
Lynne Bradley, ALA, (800) 941-8478
Judith Platt, AAP, (202) 220-4551
Larry Siems, PEN, (212) 334-1660, ext. 105