Privacy and Confidentiality Policy

Adopted September 26, 2008

 
SC Code of Laws, Section 60-4-10 states that “confidential records may not be disclosed except to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library or library system or persons authorized by the library patron to inspect his records, or in accordance with proper judicial order upon a finding that the disclosure of the records is necessary to protect public safety, to prosecute a crime, or upon showing of good cause before the presiding judge in a civil matter.

 

Definitions:

Privacy. In a library, the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others.

 

Confidentiality. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.

 
Personally identifiable information (PII) connects individuals to what they bought with their credit cards, what they checked out with their library cards, and what web sites they visited. The PII collected by the library includes name, address, email address, phone number,and library card number. Users have the right of access to their own PII.
 
Records of patron use of library resources, materials, or services protected under SC Statute 60-4-10 include circulation records, workstation logs, security videos, information sought or received, materials consulted or borrowed, database search records, interlibrary loan records, reference interviews, sign-up sheets, patron material complaint forms, emails, voicemail, correspondence about customers’ library use.
Statistical data collected about library card registrants and their library use allows libraries to plan for its collections and services and to target its operation to specific community needs, and enables libraries to effectively report statistics on library use as required by federal, state, local, and private funding bodies.
 
In cases when library users leave the Library’s site to visit another, users are encouraged to become familiar with the privacy statement of each site they visit. Third parties are not bound by library confidentiality statutes or other laws protecting the privacy of user records. For these reasons, neither the library nor the library user can be certain that confidentiality will be adequately protected. (www.ala.org/oif/policies/interpretations/privacyqanda)
 
Protecting user privacy and confidentiality has long been an integral part of the mission of libraries. Both the state of South Carolina and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution provide guarantees of confidentiality and privacy. The library protects the privacy and confidentiality of children as well as adults.
 
The library does not disclose or distribute (unless authorized) users’ names, postal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, borrowers records, computer use records, or other personal information to outside parties unless required to do pursuant to subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required to do so by law. The library will clearly determine without reservation 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 or competent jurisdiction.
 
Library staff must be familiar with and abide by all other applicable guidelines for how to appropriately respond to requests for confidential information, whether from law enforcement or individuals. 
 

Regulations

Library staff will disclose information about or contained in a user’s library account or circulation records to the user, and only the user, upon presentation of the user’s library card or photo identification. This applies to library accounts for children, unless a parent or guardian has been authorized to view said records.
 
For a parent or guardian without authorization to view library accounts for children, the following legal ways to obtain information may be used:
 
♦     If calling for information on what your child has out, etc. have your child nearby to verify that his/her record can be accessed, or
 
      If using “My Account” ask your child for his/her pin number, or
 
      We can send a letter by U.S. post addressed to your child to provide the requested information, or
 
      If at the library, and if your child is present, your child can assert that it is ok to access requested information.