Library Policy on Confidentiality and Privacy

Upholding the privacy rights of library users is an important tenet of the library profession. As stated in the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association:

We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted. (http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm)

Therefore Library staff cannot give out any confidential information regarding library users. Confidential information includes: name, address, email address, telephone number, social security number, race or gender, country of citizenship, religion, employment, medical, law enforcement. Information on who has checked out or consulted a particular item, or a list of items checked out by a particular user is also considered confidential.

Library staff do not monitor patron access to or selection of information or engage in the use of personally identifiable information for profiling purposes. Likewise, patron information queries are not collected and any knowledge of patron reading habits or interests are used for the sole purpose of providing service.

Information queries generated from the library’s website (Ask a Librarian, Suggestion Box, etc.) may include information regarding IP address, browser and Internet service provider in order to facilitate troubleshooting access problems. This information is not shared with third parties. Some library databases require Internet “cookies” to be enabled in order to have full functionality. These cookies are deleted at the end of each session.

The Library's circulation records and other records identifying the name of library users and other personal information are confidential. Library staff and faculty acting within the scope of their library duties will have access to this personal information. Patrons will also have access to their own library records. However, the gathering of personally identifiable information is only done in the interest of providing or improving service to patrons and it is securely kept for the shortest amount of time possible. This information is not provided to third parties unless under a court order.

In accordance with California law (Cal Gov Code 6267), such library records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

If a court order (i.e., subpoena or search warrant) is issued under Foreign Intelligence Security Act or FISA (50 U.S.C. 1803) rules, the Library employee served with court order may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrant or the fact that records or other tangible materials were produced as a result of the court ordered search.

Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e., those not supported by a process, order, or subpoena) concerning circulation and other records with identifying information on library users shall be reported to the appropriate officer of the Library.

Any questions about this policy should be directed to the Dean of the Library or to his or her designee.

Approved by the Library faculty on 6/6/03