MGT-1: Confidentiality of Library Patron Records Policy

Adopted: 8/21/2014  |  Printable PDF

Policy Statement

To protect patrons’ rights of free speech, free thought and free association, the library will maintain confidentiality of library patron records to the fullest extent permitted by law.


  1. Patrons have the right to be informed about the policies governing the amount and retention period of personally identifiable information and about why that information is necessary for the provision of library services. See also Records Retention Policy.
  2. Patron registration information is exempted from disclosure in the Michigan Freedom of Information Act[i].
  3. The library will avoid collecting and retaining information not needed for the fulfillment of its mission and will engage in practices to prevent placing records on public view.
  4. Information the library may gather and retain about current and valid library users may include the following:
    1. Library circulation system
      1. Information is collected in order to maintain an accurate record of items borrowed, to provide a means of notification and contact and to record outstanding fines and fees.
      2. Information collected includes: name, address, phone number, e-mail address, gender, date of birth, items currently checked out, fines owed, fines paid or waived, current holds, requests and informational notes related to library card account matters.
      3. Library cards contain the following information: barcode number, PIN number and monetary balance.
    2. Internet access
      1. Information is collected to allow automated management of the library’s public computer resources.
      2. Information collected includes: barcode number, age for individuals under the age of 18, computer time used for the day, allowed computer time and monetary balance.
    3. Web-based events application
      1. Information is collected to manage library program and event registration. It includes name, phone number, e-mail address, grade, age and library card number.
    4. Web-based summer reading application
      1. Information is collected to manage summer reading logs. It includes name, phone number, e-mail address, grade, library card number, PIN and total books read.
    5. Surveillance recordings
      1. The library records people using the library in order to increase security and to provide a means of identification should an incident occur.
    6. Meeting room applications
      1. The library requires an application for the use of its meeting rooms (see Meeting Room Use policy) in order to verify eligibility, designate a responsible party and to provide a point of contact. It includes name, organization, phone number and library card number.
    7. Credit card transactions
      1. In order to process credit card transactions the library will collect the following information: credit card holder’s name, address, credit card number, credit card security code, credit card type and credit card expiration date. Credit card information is not stored beyond the need for the transaction.
  5. Access to records shall be restricted as much as possible and treated as confidential:
    1. Staff shall only access records required to complete library work as assigned and appropriate to job duties.
    2. Staff shall only provide account information to the library cardholder, unless the person inquiring is listed as a parent, legal guardian or authorized user[ii].  This includes questions about whether or not a person has a library card.
    3. Records may be shared with designated agents of the library if required for the conduct of the library’s activities.
    4. The library may use records to distribute library-related information to registered borrowers.
    5. The library may use information collected in aggregate for statistical analysis and planning purposes.
    6. The library director is the designated custodian of records.
    7. If the library requests the assistance of a law enforcement officer, and the library director determines that records produced by a surveillance device may assist the law enforcement officer to render the requested assistance, the library may disclose the records to the law enforcement officer upon request.
    8. Any other disclosure of library records is prohibited unless required by law.

[i] MCLA 15.243 et seq. Freedom of Information Act
[ii] MLC 397.601 et seq. Library Privacy Act

See Also:
Denial of Request for Information (pdf)

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