The Gleason Public Library strives to protect the privacy of library patrons’ free access to information to the fullest extent of the law.
- The Library will ask for and retain only that information necessary to perform user services. The Library keeps no permanent record of items checked out, Internet sites visited, electronic databases used, or searches performed by patrons; any data stored (either intentionally or incidentally) on our computer network, consortia servers, or individual machines is protected by MA Law (MGL Chapter 78, Section 7).
- All staff members must support this policy of privacy. Only authorized library staff may access personal data stored in the library’s computer system and files for the purpose of performing library work.
- The Library is not to reveal the borrowing records, reserve or fine records to any person other than the owner to which they are assigned, unless authorized by that individual*. No records can be made available to any inquiries, governmental or otherwise, unless a subpoena has been served by a court of competent jurisdiction and the library administration has consulted with legal counsel to determine if it is proper to release the requested information.
However, Library patrons should be aware that provisions in the USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56) may require the Library to provide Federal officials with information about individuals’ use of library resources pursuant to a subpoena. Other portions under the USA Patriot Act also specify that no delay is possible and that the library workers are prohibited from informing the patron that information regarding their records has been subpoenaed.
While the Library will endeavor to protect the privacy of patrons’ use of Library computers and borrowing practices, absolute privacy is not guaranteed. Please take note that library computers and collection stacks (containing books, magazines, and media) are located in public areas, which must be shared by all library users. In addition, the Library cannot and does not guarantee that every task completed via its network is unconditionally private and secure.
The Gleason Public Library is committed to the American Library Associations (ALA) Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Statement. According to the ALA, in a library, the right to privacy is the right to inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined and scrutinized. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf. Recognizing the role of the library as a center for free and uninhibited access to information of a democratic society, the library staff must vigilantly guard their patrons’ privacy and freedom of inquiry, honoring their trust and confidence. This policy is based on recommendations of the American Library Association and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7 which states, That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record as defined by clause Twenty-sixth of section seven of chapter four.
*The Library understands that special circumstances in the case of minors may arise, in which staff must release information relating to misplaced items, due dates, fines, or lost/damaged items to the legal guardian of that minor.
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