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Library Policies: Privacy Statement and Guidelines


It is the policy of Hofheimer Library that the privacy of all users shall be respected in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards. The Library will not reveal the identities of individual users or reveal what information sources or services they consult. This policy applies to all resources regardless of their format or means of delivery as well as to all services offered by the Library.

For examples of how this policy applies to specific services or programs, please refer to the Practice Guidelines that follow:

Circulation - It is the policy of the Library that the privacy of all borrowers of library materials shall be respected. The Library will not reveal the names of individual borrowers nor reveal what books are, or have been, charged to any individual. When library users need books that are on loan, the Circulation Supervisor will assist them by calling in those books as soon as the loan period (usually three weeks) has ended.

Collection Development and Resource Management - Purchase or acquisition and related collection management requests linked to individual users or groups of users (e.g. the Art Department) are deemed confidential information and not shared outside the Library. Within the Library, user names are temporarily attached to internal records and shared among relevant staff to facilitate notification of library actions and follow-through.

Contracts and Licenses for Information Resources - Consistent with its user privacy policy, the Library expects its information service providers to follow the same standards in the performance of the products they license, lease or sell to the Library. Contracts, licenses, agreements, and arrangements into which the Library enters shall accordingly and as the standard practice, protect the identity of individual users and the information they use.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery - Users of interlibrary loan and document delivery services receive the same protection in terms of confidentiality of their requests. In some cases, information about requests is shared with other library staff for collection development purposes; however, it remains confidential within the Library. Documentation of requests may be retained as necessary for the Library to comply with reporting, copyright or other regulations.

Library Surveys/Assessment Projects - Information and data obtained by the Library through surveys (group or individual interviews or other means) in support of assessment of services, collections, facilities, resources, etc., or in support of research related to library and information services, are considered confidential and will not be shared except in aggregations, to protect the privacy of individual participants.

Reference/Research Consultations - Reference and research consultation services are confidential and information about individuals using these services will not be shared outside the Library. Library staff will not reveal the identity of library users, the nature of their inquiries, nor the information or sources they consult. Data about reference or research consultations may be recorded for management or assessment purposes only.

Approved, Summer 2006