U.S.A. Patriot Act

Policy on the Privacy of Library Records
(Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required
to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act)

The DeWitt Wallace Library of Macalester College observes state and federal laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), regarding the disclosure of personal information in library records. The College has policies for privacy and confidentiality of information [see Registrar’s Policy on Privacy - www.macalester.edu/registrar/announce12.html]

In addition, the library adheres to the principles of the Library Bill of Rights and the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. In particular, we believe as per the second principle of the Intellectual Freedom Principles, “[t]he privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. Policies should be in place that maintain confidentiality of library borrowing records and of other information relating to personal use of library information and services."

Confidential records include, but are not limited to circulation or billing records, reference requests, reference and internet searches, interlibrary loan requests, e-reserve or reserves records, search logs, email, electronic bookmarks or other networked resources, and/or any other transactions involving information services provided by the library.

The U.S.A. PATRIOT Act expands the scope of inquiries by law enforcement into library records, but faculty, student, and staff rights to privacy and confidentiality remain unchanged.

In the event that library staff or library student employees receive a request for confidential information about any library patron from a anyone claiming to represent a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, with or without a search warrant, the Library Director is to be notified. The Director will notify the Provost and will request legal advice from the college administration. No action will be taken without the Director’s authorization. Under no circumstances will any information be provided to the requestor without the approval of the College’s administration.

Approved by the Information Services Advisory Committe March 2004.

Materials to be prepared Summer 2004

  • To have on file, communication chain – Library Director to Provost, to President’s Office and vice versa
  • To have on file communication chain – Library Director to CLIC, and CLIC to Library Director
  • To have on file, length of retention for circulation records, and ILL records - ILL should have patron information deleted upon completion of transaction
  • Procedures and training for staff and student employees
  • Statement to address the concern of Internet Search Logs that reside on H drive, C drive, and temporary files
  • Statement on Privacy for Library Patrons

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