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Schmidt Library Policy on Confidentiality and Privacy of Library Patron Records

Contents:

 

·         Introduction

·         Library Records

·         Vendor Records

·         Campus Records

·         Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

·         Cross References

 

Introduction

Schmidt Library respects the privacy of all who use our collections and services. The Library upholds and complies with federal and state laws as well as professional standards of confidentiality and intellectual freedom. This policy applies to all resources regardless of their format or means of delivery as well as to all services offered by the Library. We maintain strict client confidentiality. We will not reveal the identities of individual users, the information resources they consult, or the services we provide to them without a court order, valid subpoena, or other appropriate legal mandate.

 

Schmidt Library complies with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics that states:

We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.  (January 22, 2008)

 

We also adhere to the Pennsylvania Statute covering the confidentiality of library records that states:

 

Library circulation records:

Records related to the circulation of library materials which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of the State Library or any local library which is established or maintained under any law of the Commonwealth or the library of any university, college or educational institution chartered by the Commonwealth or the library of any public school or branch reading room, deposit station or agency operated in connection therewith, shall be confidential and shall not be made available to anyone except by a court order in a criminal proceeding. (24 P.S. § 4428, 2002)

 

Many of Schmidt Library’s records may also be protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). [See FERPA section below.] 

 

Library Records

Records of the borrowing and use of library materials and equipment are considered to be confidential.  Also confidential are the records of patron transactions of any type including, but not limited to, interlibrary loan, reference interactions, computer use logs, logs of Internet sites consulted, and records regarding fines and fees. As such, this policy covers all records related to the circulation or use of books, periodicals, videos, electronic databases, and other information formats as well as laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and any other equipment loaned by the Library. Also covered are materials personally owned by a faculty member that have been placed on course reserve. Library staff will deny any faculty requests regarding who is using their course reserve content. Reference or other service transactions, whether conducted in person, in writing, by telephone, via e-mail or online interaction, are also considered confidential.

 

Vendor Records

Collection and analysis of data on usage of the Library’s licensed online content and discovery tools made available through the campus network assist both the licensors and the Library to understand and assess the impact of these resources. The Library expects that such usage data compiled by the licensor be collected by a method consistent with applicable privacy laws and confidentiality requirements of the written license agreement. Any available usage data, such as number of searches or articles downloaded, is confidential under this policy.

 

Campus Records

Much of the Library’s business and services is conducted through Internet connections via the campus network and, therefore, falls under the campus Acceptable Use Policy administered by the Department of Information Technology.  All Library employees should be familiar with said policy as well as the YCP FERPA Policy. 

 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as FERPA) protects the privacy of students’ educational records, including student library financial records. In compliance with FERPA, the Library does not disclose information about a student’s record to any third party, including parents, faculty, or other individuals.

 

The most frequent inquiry made by parents is about students’ library fines. Unless there is prior written approval by the student allowing disclosure, refer the parent or other third party to the student. If a student has consented to disclosure, Library personnel may annotate the student’s patron record indicating consent for parental disclosure of fines only, not types of content, services, or specific titles of resources used.

 

Refer all disclosure-related inquiries to the Access Services manager.

 

Cross References:

IT Acceptable Use Policy -  https://itkb.ycp.edu/article.php?id=1068​

YCP FERPA Policy - https://www.ycp.edu/about-us/offices-and-departments/records/#d.en.50151

Effective Date: January 6, 2015

York College of Pennsylvania, 441 Country Club Road York, PA 17403-3651 (717) 846-7788 Copyright © 2017