Library Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records

In consideration of:

  • Council of the American Library Association's strong recommendation that the responsible officers of each library formally adopt a policy with regard to confidentiality of library patron records;
  • ALA Policy Manual 54.15--Code of Ethics, point 3, which states "Librarians must protect each user's right to privacy with respect to information sought or received, and to materials consulted, borrowed or acquired;"
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which prevents schools from distributing students educational records to third parties without a student's consent; and
  • California State Law regarding library patron confidentiality: Government Code 6267. All registration and circulation records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, local agency, or state agency except as follows:

    (a) By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library.
    (b) By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records.
    (c) By order of the appropriate superior court.
  • As used in this section, the term "registration records" includes any information which a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term "circulation records" includes any information which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other material. This section shall not apply to statistical reports of registration and circulation nor to records of fines collected by the library.

The LPC Library formally recognizes:

  • That all records identifying the names, social security numbers, or I.D. number of library patrons are confidential in nature;
  • That such records are not to be revealed to anyone other than the patron in question without either the express written permission of the patron in question or the adherence to proper legal and College procedures regarding required access to such information;
  • That library employees are encouraged not to keep records with personally identifiable information, unless that information is necessary, and to destroy such records as soon as possible.
  • That the confidentiality of patron records requires that such records should be consulted by library employees only for LEGITIMATE purposes such as locating or recalling library materials, processing overdue notices and fines, adding or deleting names to the database, or making collection development decisions. Specifically, a list of items charged to a particular ID number can be requested by a library employee only when any of the following circumstances apply:
    • Non-Patrons
      • non-patron I.D. e.g., Library reserves, cataloging)
    • Non-LPC Patrons
      • non-LPC patrons with over due items who are not responding to overdue, billing notices
      • non-LPC patrons who no longer meet state residency or OCLC, CIC reciprocal borrowing agreement requirements, but are renewing materials
    • Former LPC Patrons
      • Patrons who have left the College with outstanding library accounts
      • Former LPC patrons being added to another ILCSO school's patron database
    • Patrons with Extenuating Circumstances
      • patrons with extraordinary and verifiable health-related problems that prevent them from personally settling an outstanding library account
      • deceased patrons
    • Duplicate, Temporary, Multiple I.D. Numbers
      • duplicate patron I.D. numbers
      • patrons switching from a temporary to a permanent I.D. number
      • patrons registered under more than one I.D. number
    • Gross Violations of Circulation Policies
      • expired I.D. number with overdue items still charged
      • patrons who repeatedly claim to have returned books
      • patrons who have manipulated the system to set their own due dates outside the Library's established patron loan periods
      • patrons with outstanding Library accounts who have been referred to collection

Library employees may not request a listing of items charged to a particular patron if the circumstances listed above no longer apply or for any of the reasons stated in the following section. Lists may also not be requested for such purposes as idle curiosity, personal interest, or general monitoring.

Special requests for confidential information to be used for research purposes shall be addressed to the College Librarian.

Examples of requests for library information that is confidential and must not be honored. This list is intended to provide examples of possible violations of confidentiality of library information and is by no means inclusive

Circulation and Patron Records

  • A request for the circulation records of a faculty, student, staff or other library card holder by someone else.
  • A request by a faculty member for the identity of students who borrowed reserve items.
  • A request to review the circulation records of a student suspected of plagiarism.
  • A request to see interlibrary loan borrowing records.
  • A request for addresses, phone numbers, I.D. numbers or other personal information contained in the borrower database.
  • A request to see a list of individuals who are not members of the College community but who have been granted library borrowing privileges.
  • A request by a parent for information such as fines or other fees by the library to Students Accounts Receivable without the student's permission.

Other Examples

  • A request for the name of the person who has signed out a particular item.
  • A request to review the identity of persons who have used a study room, listening room, study carrel or CD-ROM workstation.
  • A request to reveal the nature of a library user's reference request or database search.
  • A request for the names of persons who have used audio-visual materials.
  • A request for a list of items photocopied for or faxed to a particular Library user.
  • A request for a list of suggested acquisitions submitted by a particular Library user.
  • A request from law enforcement authorities for the identity of anyone conducting research on a particular subject.

Email a Librarian

Library Telephone: 925.424.1150
Library Fax: 925.606.7249

Page last modified: March 12, 2015