Library Services at Guantánamo Bay – A Partial View

On November 24, 2009, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DoD concerning library services at the Joint Task Force Detainee Library (JTFDL) at Guantanamo Bay, including the former Camp Iguana.  The DoD forwarded the request to U. S. Southern Command or SOUTHCOM.  The following information was requested from SOUTHCOM:

  • Administrative responsibility for oversight of the libraries
  • Annual reports generated by the DOD and library staff concerning library management, policies, and services
  • Contractors that may provide library management and services
  • DOD regulations governing the management and operation of the Joint Task Force Detainee Library and the  detainee library at Camp Iguana
  • Library access policies
  • Library circulation policies and statistics
  • Library collection development policies
  • Library staff credentials, including the number of staff holding a MLS or MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science)
  • Library staffing levels
  • Policy and procedure manuals developed by the DOD and library staff concerning library management and services
  • Shelf list and/or inventory of titles in the libraries’ collections
  • Training materials generated by DOD and library staff concerning library management, policies, programs, and services

In May 2013, a colleague discovered that reporter Charlie Savage had uploaded a photo of library shelves while touring Guantánamo Bay. I contacted the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), the FOIA Ombudsman, who has worked on my behalf for the last several years to fulfill the request. I assume OGIS was successful as the files below were released to me June 28, 2013.

  • Accounting for Library Materials (July 18, 2003), also on the Web here.
  • Continuity Binder Left Seat-Right Seat Outline, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Joint Detention Group, Detainee Programs and Library, (puzzling doc that will require a bit of research to interpret)

It is clear from the released documents that information was not released in toto, including the name of the library contractor (BTW, I did not request personal names of library contractors as this would violate privacy, although the request was interpreted this way).

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