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

Subject: 1.3.1 Staff Guidelines regarding requests for confidential Library records

The following guidelines will be distributed to and reviewed with all current Library Staff annually.

What to do if the police approach the Library regarding access to Library records:

1 The Library staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to circulation or any other records identifying the names of users will immediately refer the person making the request to the responsible officer of the institution, normally the Director, who shall explain the confidentiality policy. If the Director is not on-site, a call will immediately be made to contact and inform the Director of the visit.

2. Give the police a copy of New Jersey's Confidentiality of Library Records Law (NJSA 18A:73-43.2). The statute states that:

"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."

This means that Library records can only be disclosed if the police have a subpoena issued by a court or court order.

3. The Director, or the official designee, shall, upon receipt of such process, order or subpoena, consult with the appropriate legal officer from the Borough to determine if such process, order or subpoena is in good form and if there is showing of good cause for its issuance. Request should be made of the police for a twenty-four hour waive of disclosing records to allow counsel review and presence during the search.

4. The Director or designee shall immediately notify the Board President, Borough Attorney and Borough Administrator of any event regarding release of confidential records.

5. If the process, order or subpoena is not in good form or if good cause has not been shown, insistence shall be made that such defects be cured before any records are released or equipment turned over to authorities. If proper documentation is provided, turn records over and get a receipt from the governmental agency.

6. Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e., those not supported by a process, order or subpoena) concerning circulation and records identifying the names of Library users shall be reported to the legal counsel of the Borough.

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

8. Upon approval legal counsel, the Director, and/or designated staff members, will compile and deliver all records identified in the process, order or subpoena.

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

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