Security Camera Policy

Last Updated Date
Policy Type

The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District uses security cameras to help document events involving the safety and security of Library users, staff, and property. The security camera installation consists of dedicated cameras which may provide real-time surveillance through a video management system. The primary use of security cameras is to discourage inappropriate and illegal behavior and to enhance the opportunity to apprehend offenders. Library use is governed by the policy established by the Library Board of Trustees and any applicable rules or regulations adopted by the Library. The Library Director as the executor of the policy for the Board of Trustees has discretion in determining what use is “in the best interest of the Library” and is authorized to act accordingly, including limiting the use of the building and services by individuals whose activities interfere with Library operations, adversely affect public safety, or cause public disturbances. The Board of Trustees may modify, amend or supplement this policy, as it deems necessary and appropriate.


The Library shall post and maintain signs giving notice of the use of security cameras for monitoring and recording activity in public areas of the Library property.

Camera Location

Cameras shall be located and directed to provide surveillance in areas where potential property loss might occur or in locations that present security concerns. Cameras are located to view service desks, exits, and areas prone to theft, vandalism or other activity that violates Library policy or criminal law. In no event shall cameras be located in areas where patrons and/or staff have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as restrooms.

Access to Digital Images

Video data is recorded and stored digitally. Recorded data is considered confidential and secure. Access to recorded video data is limited to the Library Director and Head of Information Technology; and in addition, access to the Library’s video recordings has been given to the Winnetka Police Department. The intention of providing this access is to provide images of any activity on Library grounds to the police in a timely manner.

Retention of Digital Images

Video images will not be maintained, provided no criminal activity or policy violation has occurred or is being investigated. Recordings not otherwise needed for official reasons shall be retained for a period of not less than 14 days and thereafter erased. Still shots or selected portions of the recorded data relating to specific incidents shall be retained for one year after the incident, or until specific footage of an incident is no longer needed, whichever is longer. When litigation and/or criminal proceedings have commenced, recordings shall be retained for one year after litigation and/or criminal proceedings have concluded. The storage media shall be kept in a secure area.

Access by Law Enforcement and Patron Privacy

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. Authorized individuals 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. 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 with respect thereto. Upon receipt of any document purporting to require the release or disclosure of surveillance recordings, the Library Director, in consultation with the Library Attorney, will ensure compliance with law.

Disclaimer of Liability

Any patron or staff member shall be given a copy of this policy regarding use of the security cameras upon request. The policy is also posted on the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District’s official website. The Library disclaims any liability for use of the video data in accordance with the terms of this policy, given that the Library is a public facility and the security cameras shall be limited to those areas where patrons and/or staff have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Damages and Liability

Any individual using the Library shall be held responsible for willful or accidental damage to the Library’s building and collections caused by the individual in accordance with the Patron Behavior Policy.