Caroline County Public Library makes every effort to protect the privacy of library users. The Library adheres to the American Library Association Code of Ethics that states in Article III:
"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."
This policy establishes guidelines for the protection of personally identifiable information contained in library records or accessible in the library or through its computer systems.
Confidentiality of Library Records
In keeping with the American Library Association's Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records and Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information About Library Users and State of Maryland Government Code Ann. § 10- 616, Caroline County Public Library staff will not respond to any informal request by a third party for personally identifiable information about any library user. Such information includes database search records, reference interviews, email requests for information, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services. Personally identifiable information may be released only to a law enforcement agency after presentation of an order by a court of competent jurisdiction issued in proper form (a court issued subpoena or search warrant) and/or under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act.
Exception: A parent or guardian of a child up to the age of twelve may see the child's record.
The USA PATRIOT Act
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act) became law on Oct. 26, 2001. Under provisions of the act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement officials may seek court orders for Library records for investigations relevant to national security or terrorism. Libraries or librarians served with these search warrants may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrants or the fact that records were produced as a result of the warrants. Patrons cannot be told their records were given to law enforcement agencies or that they were the subjects of FBI investigations.
Procedures for Handling Requests for Library Records
Library staff who are approached by a law enforcement officer or agent with any request or court order to examine or obtain the library records of any library user will ask for identification and direct the officer or agent the Library Administrator or other designated person in charge. The Library Administrator or the designated person in charge will review the request or search warrant and seek the advice of the County Attorney.
Search warrants signed by the court are immediately enforceable. Staff will request identification and a copy of the warrant. Staff may request that the agent or officers direct inquiries through the Library Administrator or the designated person in charge. The Library Administrator or designated person in charge may request time to fax the warrant to the County Attorney for verification. If the officer or agent wishes to immediately enforce the search warrant, staff should not interfere but should proceed to notify the Library Administrator or designated person in charge of the search.
Personally Identifiable Information
Caroline County Public Library will collect only the information needed to contact library users and prove state residency, such as mailing address, email address, phone number, etc., in order to ensure the proper notification, lending, and return of library materials and the collection of fines. Birthdates and primary language are collected to aid the library with statistical usage reports. Records will be retained for the shortest length of time necessary to facilitate library operations.
The Library does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute personally identifiable information to outside parties except for possible uses related to the recovery of materials.
The Library may share personal information with service providers who help with parts of our business operations (e.g., fraud prevention, bill collection, technology services). Our contracts dictate that these service providers use your information only in connection with the services they perform for us and not for their own benefit.
Reference questions are retained only for the purpose of statistics and to assist with follow up queries from customers. The questions themselves and any personal information such as names, email addresses, telephone and fax numbers submitted with the questions are confidential and are treated as other library user information under provisions the Confidentiality of Library Records policy above.
Disclosure of Customer Record
Staff may give account information, including materials checked out, fines and fees, to a customer according to the following criteria:
- Customer in person: Customer must present library card, driver’s license, or supply library card number or name and address, phone number and birthday to verify ownership of account.
- Customer over the phone: Customer must supply library card number or name and address, phone number and birth date.
Using Materials and the Internet in the Library
The library is not responsible for someone being seen or recognized in the library or for passersby seeing what materials or websites are being used in the library. When customers logout at the end of their computer sessions, the cache of Internet sites visited and any personal files saved to the computer are cleared automatically.
Photos and Videos
Participation at library events constitutes implied consent to be photographed and to have those photos sent to news outlets and published on the library’s website as well as library social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Photos, images and videos submitted by users for online galleries or contests may also be used by the Library for promotional purposes. To ensure the privacy of individuals and children, images will not be identified using full names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian. When the library expects to use photos with full names and personal identifying information for publicity purposes, customers will be asked to fill out and sign a photo release form, which the library will keep on file for two years. Requests to have photos removed from library websites may be submitted in writing to the Library Administrator.
Privacy and Security on the Internet
The Library’s website includes links to outside sites that may have different privacy policies than the Library. The Library is not responsible for customers’ privacy when customers disclose information to outside websites. Users are cautioned that the Internet is not always secure and that the privacy of credit card transactions and other communications is not assured.
For more information on Internet privacy and safety and on evaluating Internet sites, please see these related documents:
Cookies are small text files placed on user computers by a website to enable customization of individual visits. Some library electronic services, such as sessions on the library catalog using the personalized log-in option and in remote databases, place temporary cookies for current sessions. These cookies do not capture personal information or compromise visitor privacy. You may delete them from your home browser when the sessions are ended. Visitors can refuse the cookie by using instructions provided in Internet browsers. This refusal may result in the inability to access many library services from computers outside the library.
Remote Access Databases
Many of the Library's electronic databases can be freely accessed from anywhere by anyone with a Caroline County Public Library card. The vendors of some of these databases collect statistics such the names of the databases used, how often they are used, and whether they are used in the Library or by remote access and the vendors provide the statistics to the Library. Database vendors used by the Library do not track personal information or specific queries submitted to the databases.
Wireless Internet Access
The Library cannot assure the safety of customers’ data when using either wired or wireless Internet access. Connecting a computer to the Internet via the Library’s wireless network exposes it to the same viruses and other security risks as any Internet connection does. The customer is responsible for ensuring that his computer is protected against such threats. Customers use the Library's wireless network at their own risk. Virus and security protection is the customer’s responsibility.
Web log files:
The Library uses log files that record information such as Internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp, and page navigation. The Library gathers this information to track web site visitor movement in the aggregate, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses that are recorded by log files are not linked to personally identifiable information.
Supporting Policies and Codes:
American Library Association's Code of Ethics
American Library Association's Policy of Confidentiality of Library Records
Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users
State Privacy Laws Regarding Library Records
Contacting Caroline County Public Library:
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of the Library, or customers’ dealings with the Library’s web sites, please contact:
Deborah A. Bennett
Caroline County Public Library
100 Market Street
Denton, MD 21629
Approved by the Board of Library Trustees for Caroline County February 11, 2011