The New Albany-Floyd County Public Library (“NAFC Public Library”) subscribes to the American Library Association (“ALA”) Code of Ethics (Article III) which states:

“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.”

The NAFC Public Library Board of Trustees previously adopted a resolution (Res. adopted 1/6/2000) establishing a policy regarding access to public records, and excepting certain library records from disclosure pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3 et seq. The following Privacy Policy shall work in conjunction with that previously stated Public Records Policy.

1. Confidentiality of Library Records

In keeping with the ALA’s Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records (1986) and Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information About Library Users (1991), NAFC 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, e-mail 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 issues in proper form (a legal subpoena or search warrant) that shows good cause based on specific facts. The general procedures for complying with law enforcement officials are outlines in Section 4, below.

2. Personally Identifiable Information

NAFC Public Library staff will only collect information needed to contact library users, such as mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, etc., in order to ensure the proper notification, lending, and return of library materials and the collection of fines. Records will be retained for the shortest length of time necessary to facilitate library operations. Paper copies containing personally identifiable information will be disposed of in a secure manner on a regular basis.

3. Access to Electronic Resources and Web Server Usage Tracking

NAFC Public Library has or may in the future have electronic resources that can be accessed from anywhere by anyone. System administrators at NAFC Public Library may track the usage of our website and other library systems and services accessed through our servers. Information may be collected about the date and time visited, the type of browser and computer operating system used by visitors, their Internet service provider and IP address, search terms used and links followed, and the sequence of pages visited on our site. This transaction history log will not be stored in such a way as to identify particular library users and the information they access, but is to be aggregated for multiple users and maintained to generate statistics about our Web site.

Another common type of usage tracking relies on the use of a software application called “cookies.” Users of networked computes must enable cookies in order to access a number of online resources. A cookie is a small file sent to the browser by a Web site each time that site is visited. Cookies are stored on the user’s computer and can potentially transmit personal information. NAFC Public Library servers may use cookies, but only to verify that a person is an authorized user in order to allow access to licensed library resources and to customize Web pages to that user’s specification.

4. Procedures for Handling Requests for Library Records

Library staff who are approached by a law enforcement official with any subpoena, search warrant, or court order to examine or obtain the library record of any library user will state that the library has a written privacy policy. In accordance with NAFC Public Library Procedures, the library staff will immediately direct the agent to the office of the Library Director or a manager. Legal counsel will review the order to ascertain that it is in proper form, and advise the library staff about complying with the terms of the order.

Search warrants signed by the Court are immediately enforceable. The officer or agent will be asked to allow the director and legal counsel to review the search warrant prior to the inspection of records. If the agent will not accord this time for review and proceeds with a search, the library staff will obtain a copy of the search warrant and the agent’s identification information and will not interfere but will advise the Director appropriately.

The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act (“Act”) expands federal law enforcement’s surveillance, seizure and investigative powers. If library records (including information abut material borrowed and computer usage are requested under the Act, the law states that, in certain circumstances, library staff cannot inform the person about whom the information is requested, cannot speak to coworkers, the media or other government officials about the inquiry. Such requests may only be reported to the appropriate higher authority within the library.

For Further Information

Links to useful resources on privacy and confidentially are maintained by the ALA on its Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families page.