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Fanwood Memorial Library Policy Manual
Section: Mission, Goals & Philosophy

Subject: 1.3 Confidentiality of Library records

Confidentiality Policy

Library ethical rules state, and the Board of Trustees of the Fanwood Memorial Library affirm, that it is a basic right of every individual to read what he or she wishes without fear of censure or legal consequences. Each person also has the right to privacy. The Fanwood Memorial Library will do all within its power to protect each userís right to privacy with respect to all information required for registration, for all information sought and received, and for materials consulted, borrowed or acquired. Such records, including computer use records, will not be made available to any individual, organization or government agency except pursuant to N.J.S.A. Education Code 18A:73-43:21. , and under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal or administrative discovery procedures and with proper mandated paperwork

Procedures

All staff of the Fanwood Memorial Library will receive notice of and instruction in proper procedures to be followed in the event of a legal request from local, state or federal authorities.

1. The Library staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to registration records or circulation records, computer use records, or other records identifying the names of Library users, shall immediately refer the requestor to the Director, who is the official custodian of the records. To prevent any misunderstanding, the staff member should avoid discussing with the person making the request what user information may or may not be available, or what the Library can or cannot do. If the Library Director is not available, inform the requestor when the Director will be available. If pressed to act sooner, contact the Director immediately whether the Director is away on business or at home. In the event the Director cannot be reached, the highest ranking person on duty is responsible for working with the requestor.

2. The Library Director shall meet with the requestor of the information. If the requestor is a law enforcement officer the officer must have a properly drawn court order to receive the requested records. If the officer does not have a proper court order, such as a subpoena or warrant compelling the production of records, the Library Director shall refuse to provide the information. The Library Director may explain the confidentiality policy and the Stateís confidentiality law, and inform the agent or officer that usersí records are not available except when a properly drawn court order has been presented to the Library.

3. If the records requested cover registration, circulation, computer use or other records protected under the New Jersey Code, and the Director is uncertain about whether the order, or subpoena presented to the Library Director is sufficient to require release of the records, the Library Director may immediately consult with legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is sufficient to require release of the records. Legal counsel for the Fanwood Memorial Library is the Fanwood Borough Attorney.

4. If any written request, process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or does not otherwise appear to be sufficient to support releasing the records, such defects must be cured before any records are released.

5. If the Library Director or the Director in consultation with Libraryís attorney determines that the order is sufficient and compels the release of the records, the Library Director shall release the records.

6. If the request is made pursuant to the USA Patriot Act, the Library Director is authorized to obtain legal counsel regarding the request. As required by the USA Patriot Act, the Library Director may not discuss the request with anyone other than legal counsel and other persons necessary to obtain such information.

7. If the requestor is not a law enforcement officer and has not presented any type of court or administrative order requiring release of the requested information, the Library Director shall refuse to provide the requested records.

8. Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e. those not supported by a written request, process, order, or subpoena) concerning circulation and other records identifying the names of Library users shall be reported to the Director.

10. Any problems relating to the privacy of circulation and other records identifying the names of Library users which are not provided for above shall be referred to the Director.

References

1. N.J.S.A. EDUCATION CODE 18A:73-43:2

"Library records which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:

  • The records are necessary for the proper operation of the Library;
  • Disclosure is requested by the user; or
  • Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court order.

L.1985, c 172, s. 2, eff. May 31, 1985.

2. Code of Ethics of the American Library Association:
"We protect each Library userís right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."


Board of Trustees
Approved: June 8, 2009
Revised: February 8, 2016


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