Adopted with Circulation Policy: 4/14/2011
Confidentiality of Library Records
The Board of trustees of the Reedsburg Public Library recognizes that the reading activity and interests of library users are and should be private and its protected under Wisconsin Statute 43.30 (1) which reads in part:
Public Library records. (1m) Records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds, including the records of a public library system, indicating the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library’s documents or other materials, resources or services may not be disclosed except by court order or to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library or library system, to persons authorized by the individual to inspect such records, to custodial parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 under sub.(4), to libraries under subs. (2) and (3), or to law enforcement officers under sub. (5).
The Board interprets this document to include all transactions associated with the use of library materials including interlibrary loan hold shelf, records of reference questions, computer use and other documents or electronic records which would link the individual with particular materials or services.
Library record inquiries by persons other than the cardholder require permission from the cardholder. Permission requires a signed hold authorization form, or the library card of the patron inquired about.
Disclosure of records to custodial parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 is permitted.
It is the policy of the Library to contact legal counsel immediately and to resist the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction. Requests for registration and circulation information by law enforcement officials should be referred to the Director.
The above Wisconsin Law is overridden by the USA PATRIOT Act. (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). Among other provisions, the USA PATRIOT Act: 1) authorizes the FBI, or any police department deputized by the FBI, to obtain a search warrant for “any tangible thing” which can include books, records, papers, floppy disks, data tapes and computers with hard drives. It permits the FBI to compel immediate production of records from a library including circulation, borrower registration, and Internet usage records, without probable cause, (but with a search warrant), 2) prohibits a library employee who receives such a request under the law from talking with anyone, except an attorney about the request (search warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Act includes a “gag order”), 3) prohibits notification to a patron that his/her records have been requested, and 4) preempts and overrides all state laws declaring library records to be confidential.
Though we cannot guarantee complete privacy, the Reedsburg Public Library uses several measures to maintain the privacy of our patrons according to library policies:
The library does not keep any records relating to patrons that contain personally identifiable information, which are unnecessary to the efficient operation of the library.
The library keeps records of Internet usage only long enough to get a circulation count.
The library system will not save online catalog searches
The system does not maintain individual borrowing history unless the patron elects to opt-in to this service.
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370 Vine Street Reedsburg