Iowa City Public Library responds to concerns over bathroom came - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City Public Library responds to concerns over bathroom cameras

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Cameras inside of bathrooms, it's a reality at the Iowa City Public Library. 

The Library tells KWWL they have had the cameras in place for more than a decade. 

A recent complaint has caused the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to send a letter to the library. 

The complaint comes from a University of Iowa student who says she felt uncomfortable after seeing the camera in the bathroom and has chosen not to use the library bathrooms since. 

Photos taken by the ACLU from inside of the library bathrooms show the cameras but the library says they can't see inside of the actual stalls. 

The library showed KWWL photos of what they say is the cameras perspective, the sink area is seen in the photos. 

"Pretty much the sink area, you know the door you can see people who are you know you can see who is coming and who is exiting usually and the common area of the bathroom," says Susan Craig, Iowa City Public Library Director. 

The ACLU says they have obtained some of the bathroom video simply by putting in an open records request. 

"There is footage of a young girl changing her clothes, there is a woman basically sponging herself off you know doing basically a sink bath using the sink and paper towels," says Veronica Fowler, ACLU Communications Director.

The ACLU is calling for the cameras to be removed. 

According to the library the cameras are there for security reasons and are not monitored until after a crime happens.

 "Things can happen in public restrooms and we want to be able to say to people we have done everything we can for your safety and security," says Craig. 

Craig told us the cameras act as a deterrent and signage warns people they are there. 
"We have consulted with our city attorneys and there is signage you know at the entrance to the bathroom and again inside that says security cameras are in use," she says. 

The current signs are not good enough for the ACLU, they say if the cameras stay they want there to be signs warning people the library is recording inside of the bathroom and the public has the ability to access that video through an open records request. 

Craig tells us the cameras have come in handy, she says they have assisted the police in an assault investigation and caught people stealing from the library. 
    

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