Content taken from Ohio Library Council's orientation website with permission.
In accordance with Colorado law (24-90-119), the Garfield County Public Library District shall not:
"Disclose any record or other information that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials or service or as otherwise having used the library."
Library, library record, Internet, situations, and patron information are all defined by Colorado Library Law and available here.
What does the Law mean to your library? How is it carried out? If your library provides remote reference services (Web, email, phone, etc.), how are privacy and confidentiality handled? Discuss the examples in the activity with your supervisor. You want to do the right thing, but be sure you know what the right thing is!
USA PATRIOT Act, Intellectual Freedom, and Library Law
Confidentiality is also governed by Federal laws. For changes in library law, and current information regarding confidentiality, privacy, intellectual freedom, and the USA PATRIOT Act, information is available from the ALA site.
- USA Patriot Act pages. Information about how to respond if law enforcement "knocks at the door"; for changes made by the USA Patriot Act to a number of laws; and the ALA Resolution on Patriot Act regarding electronic surveillance and privacy.
- Office for Intellectual Freedom site, containing ALA Intellectual Freedom Policies, Help with Challenges, Privacy, RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification Tags), ALA Resolutions, Children's Internet Protection Act, Notable First Amendment Court Cases, News, and What You Can Do to Oppose Censorship. "Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas."
Internet Filtering, CIPA, Deleting Online Predators Act
Stay aware of state legislation affecting Internet use in public libraries and requirements for CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) and for COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). Look at the issues about the Deleting Online Predators Act, DOPA, (which expands CIPA to include "social networking" web sites) on ALA's information site about the issues of Online Social Networks.
1. Read the procedure regarding the confidentiality of patron records.
2. Discuss the protocol for handling questions regarding library business with your supervisor. Questions regarding contracts, vendors, budgeting, etc. should be referred to the Business Manager.
3. Discuss the following examples with your supervisor. What's the correct answer for your library?
- A member of the library board wants to see the patron record for her high school son. He's 19. May the board member view these records?
- You have to leave a message on an answering machine for a patron that an Interlibrary Loan book is in. Do you include the name of the book in the message?
- When you send postcards to notify patrons that requested materials are in at the library, the titles of the materials can be seen by anybody. Is that okay?
- A police officer wants to see library records for a patron arrested for child molestation. The officer doesn't have a warrant. Are you required to provide the record?
- The library mails newsletters to all patrons. The local Chamber of Commerce would like to use the list of patron addresses for their own newsletter. Do you give it to them?
- A father requests the library records of his son. You know that the parents are divorced and that the mother has sole custody of the child. Do you release the records to the father?