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State Privacy Laws Regarding Library Records: State Laws

Libraries are advised to rely on existing laws to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior. Visit ALA's Privacy resource page for more information. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/privacy

United States mapThe American Library Association encourages all librarians, particularly those in public libraries, to work with their local legal counsel to ensure they understand state confidentiality laws so they may respond quickly to any requests from law enforcement. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting the confidentiality of library records;  two states, Kentucky and Hawaii, have attorney general's  opinions protecting library users' privacy.  The language of these provisions vary from state to state. The ALA recommends that each library adopt a policy that specifically recognizes the confidentiality of information sought or received, and materials consulted borrowed or acquired by a library user. These materials may include database search records, circulation records, interlibrary loan records and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, programs or services, such as reference interviews. Libraries are advised to rely on existing laws to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior.

Libraries should have in place procedures for working with law enforcement officers when a subpoena or other legal order for records is made. Libraries will cooperate expeditiously with law enforcement within the framework of state law. Visit ALA's privacy resource page for more information. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/privacy

TITLE 41.  STATE GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 8.  ALABAMA PUBLIC LIBRARY SERVICE

ARTICLE 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS

§  41-8-9. Definitions

As used in Section 41-8-10, 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 all information which identifies the patrons utilizing particular books and any other library materials in any medium or format. 

 

§  41-8-10. Confidentiality of registration records

Registration, etc., records of public libraries to be confidential; right of parents to inspect records.

It is recognized that public library use by an individual should be of confidential nature. Any other provision of general, special or local law, rule or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding, the registration and circulation records and information concerning the use of the public, public school, college and university libraries of this state shall be confidential. Registration and circulation records shall not be open for inspection by, or otherwise available to, any agency or individual except for the following entities: (a) the library which manages the records; (b) the state education department for a library under its jurisdiction when it is necessary to assure the proper operation of such library; or (c) the state Public Library Service for a library under its jurisdiction when it is necessary to assure the proper operations of such library. Aggregate statistics shown from registration and circulation records, with all personal identification removed, may be released or used by a library for research and planning purposes. Provided however, any parent of a minor child shall have the right to inspect the registration and circulation records of any school or public library that pertain to his or her child.

 

02/2003

TITLE 40.  PUBLIC RECORDS AND RECORDERS

CHAPTER 25.  INSPECTION AND COPYING OF PUBLIC RECORDS

Alaska Stat. §  40.25.140  

Sec. 40.25.140.  Confidentiality of library records

(a) Except as provided in (b) of this section, the names, addresses, or other personal identifying information of people who have used materials made available to the public by a library shall be kept confidential, except upon court order, and are not subject to inspection under AS 40.25.110 or 40.25.120.  This section applies to libraries operated by the state, a municipality, or a public school, including the University of Alaska.

(b) Records of a public elementary or secondary school library identifying a minor child shall be made available on request to a parent or guardian of that child. 

HISTORY: (§  1 ch 35 SLA 1985)

NOTES:

REVISOR'S NOTES. --Formerly AS 09.25.140. Renumbered in 2000, at which time "AS 40.25.110 or 40.25.120" was substituted for "AS 09.25.110 or 09.25.120" to reflect the 2000 renumbering of AS 09.25.110 and 09.25.120.

02/2003

TITLE 41.  STATE GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 8.  AGENCIES OF THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

ARTICLE 3.  ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY, ARCHIVES AND PUBLIC RECORDS

A.R.S. §  41-1354  

§  41-1354. Privacy of user records; exceptions; violation; classification

A. Except as provided in subsection B, a library or library system supported by public monies shall not allow disclosure of any record or other information which identifies a user of library services as requesting or obtaining specific materials or services or as otherwise using the library.

B. Records may be disclosed:

  1. If necessary for the reasonable operation of the library.
  2. On written consent of the user.
  3. On receipt of a court order.
  4. If required by law.

C. Any person who knowingly discloses any record or other information in violation of this section is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. 

HISTORY: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1985

02/2003

 

 

TITLE 13.  LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES, AND CULTURAL RESOURCES

CHAPTER 2.  LIBRARIES

SUBCHAPTER 7.  CONFIDENTIALITY OF PATRONS' RECORDS

A.C.A. §  13-2-701  

§  13-2-701. Definitions

(a) "Patron" means any individual who requests, uses, or receives services, books or other materials from a library.

(b) "Confidential library records" means documents or information in any format retained in a library that identify a patron as having requested, used, or obtained specific materials, including, but not limited to, circulation of library books, materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, patent searches, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audiovisual materials, films, or records.

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  1. 

 

§  13-2-702. Penalty

(a) Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or thirty (30) days in jail, or both, or a sentence of appropriate public service or education, or both.

(b) No liability shall result from any lawful disclosure permitted by this subchapter.

(c) No action may be brought under this subchapter unless such action is begun within two (2) years from the date of the act complained of or the date of discovery. 

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  2. 

 

§  13-2-703. Disclosure prohibited

(a) Library records which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the patrons of public, school, academic, and special libraries and library systems supported in whole or in part by public funds shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as permitted by this subchapter.

(b) Public libraries shall use an automated or Gaylord-type circulation system that does not identify a patron with circulated materials after materials are returned.

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  2. 

 

§  13-2-704. Disclosure permitted

A library may disclose personally identifiable information concerning any patron:

  1. To the patron;
  2. To any person with the informed, written consent of the patron given at the time the disclosure is sought; or
  3. To a law enforcement agency or civil court, pursuant to a search warrant. 

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  2. 

 

§  13-2-705. Construction -- Statistics

(a) No provision of this subchapter shall be construed to prohibit any library or any business operating jointly with a library from disclosing information for the purpose of:

  1. Collecting overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to such library;
  2. Collecting fines on such overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials; and
  3. Contacting its patrons by telephone, mail service, or other medium for the purpose of notifying, informing, and educating such patrons or otherwise promoting the legitimate programs, policies, and other interests of the library.

(b) Aggregate statistics shown from registration and circulation records with all personal identification removed may be released or used by a library or library system for research or planning purposes. 

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  2; 1995, No. 612, §  1. 

 

§  13-2-706. Use of information in evidence

Personally identifiable information obtained in any manner other than as provided in this subchapter shall not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, arbitration, or other proceeding before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the state or political subdivision of the state. 

HISTORY: Acts 1989, No. 903, §  2. 

 

02/2003

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 1. GENERAL

DIVISION 7. Miscellaneous

CHAPTER 3.5. Inspection of Public Records

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions

Cal Gov Code §  6267

 

§  6267.  Registration and circulation records of library supported by public funds

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. 

 

Cal Gov Code §  6254 

 

§  6254.  Records exempt from disclosure requirements

Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require disclosure of records that are any of the following:

<....>

(j) Library circulation records kept for the purpose of identifying the borrower of items available in libraries, and library and museum materials made or acquired and presented solely for reference or exhibition purposes. The exemption in this subdivision shall not apply to records of fines imposed on the borrowers.

 

02/2003

COLORADO REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 24.  GOVERNMENT - STATE 

LIBRARIES 

ARTICLE 90.  LIBRARIES 

PART 1.  LIBRARY LAW

 

C.R.S. 24-90-119 (2003)

24-90-119. Privacy of user records

(1) Except as set forth in subsection (2) of this section, a publicly-supported library shall not disclose any record or other information that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials or service or as otherwise having used the library.

(2) Records may be disclosed in the following instances:

 (a) When necessary for the reasonable operation of the library;

 (b) Upon written consent of the user;

 (c) Pursuant to subpoena, upon court order, or where otherwise required by law;

 (d) To a custodial parent or legal guardian who has access to a minor's library card or its authorization number for the purpose of accessing by electronic means library records of the minor.

(3) Any library official, employee, or volunteer who discloses information in violation of this section commits a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars.

 

COLORADO REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 24.  GOVERNMENT - STATE 

PUBLIC (OPEN) RECORDS 

ARTICLE 72.  PUBLIC RECORDS 

PART 2.  INSPECTION, COPYING, OR PHOTOGRAPHING

 

C.R.S. 24-72-204   (2003)

(edited)

24-72-204. Allowance or denial of inspection - grounds - procedure - appeal

(1) The custodian of any public records shall allow any person the right of inspection of such records or any portion thereof except on one or more of the following grounds or as provided in subsection (2) or (3) of this section:

 (a) Such inspection would be contrary to any state statute.

 (b) Such inspection would be contrary to any federal statute or regulation issued thereunder having the force and effect of law.

 (c) Such inspection is prohibited by rules promulgated by the supreme court or by the order of any court.

 (d) Such inspection would be contrary to the requirements of any joint rule of the senate and the house of representatives pertaining to lobbying practices.

(3) (a) The custodian shall deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law; except that any of the following records, other than letters of reference concerning employment, licensing, or issuance of permits, shall be available to the person in interest under this subsection (3):

(VII) Library records disclosing the identity of a user as prohibited by section 24-90-119.

 

09/2004 

TITLE 11 LIBRARIES 

CHAPTER 190 PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 11-25 (2008)

 

Sec. 11-25. Reports by libraries. Confidentiality of records.

(a) The libraries established under the provisions of this chapter, and any free public library receiving a state appropriation, shall annually make a report to the State Library Board.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding section 1-210, records maintained by libraries that can be used to identify any library user, or link any user to a library transaction, regardless of format, shall be kept confidential, except that the records may be disclosed to officers, employees and agents of the library, as necessary for operation of the library.

(2) Information contained in such records shall not be released to any third party, except (A) pursuant to a court order, or (B) with the written permission of the library user whose personal information is contained in the records.

(3) For purposes of this subsection, "library" includes any library regularly open to the public, whether public or private, maintained by any industrial, commercial or other group or association, or by any governmental agency, but does not include libraries maintained by schools and institutions of higher education.

(4) No provision of this subsection shall be construed to prevent a library from publishing or making available to the public statistical reports regarding library registration and use of library materials, if such reports do not contain personally identifying information.

 

07/2007

TITLE 29.  STATE GOVERNMENT

PART X.  GENERAL REGULATIONS FOR STATE AGENCIES

CHAPTER 100.  FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

29 Del. C. §  10002

§  10002. Definitions

(a) "Public body" means, unless specifically excluded, any regulatory, administrative, advisory, executive, appointive or legislative body of the State, or of any political subdivision of the State, including, but not limited to, any board, bureau, commission, department, agency, committee, ad hoc committee, special committee, temporary committee, advisory board and committee, subcommittee, legislative committee, association, group, panel, council or any other entity or body established by an act of the General Assembly of the State, or established by any body established by the General Assembly of the State, or appointed by any body or public official of the State or otherwise empowered by any state governmental entity, which: (1) Is supported in whole or in part by any public funds; or (2) expends or disburses any public funds, including grants, gifts or other similar disbursals and distributions; or (3) is impliedly or specifically charged by any other public official, body, or agency to advise or to make reports, investigations or recommendations. Public body shall not include the General Assembly of the State, nor any caucus thereof, or committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, special committee or temporary committee.

(b) "Public business" means any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

(c) "Public funds" are those funds derived from the State or any political subdivision of the State.

(d) "Public record" is information of any kind, owned, made, used, retained, received, produced, composed, drafted or otherwise compiled or collected, by any public body, relating in any way to public business, or in any way of public interest, or in any way related to public purposes, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which such information is stored, recorded or reproduced. For purposes of this chapter, the following records shall not be deemed public:

   <....>

(12) Any records of a public library which contain the identity of a user and the books, documents, films, recordings or other property of the library which a patron has used.

 

02/2003

FLORIDA STATUTES

TITLE XVIII  PUBLIC LANDS AND PROPERTY

CHAPTER 257  PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND STATE ARCHIVES

Fla. Stat. §  257.261

 

257.261  Library registration and circulation records.--

(1)  All registration and circulation records of every public library, except statistical reports of registration and circulation, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and from s. 24(a) of Art. I of the State Constitution.

(2)  As used in this section, the term "registration records" includes any information that a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term "circulation records" includes all information that identifies the patrons who borrow particular books and other materials.

(3)(a)  Except in accordance with a proper judicial order, a person may not make known in any manner any information contained in records made confidential and exempt by this section, except as otherwise provided in this section.

(b)  A library or any business operating jointly with the library may, only for the purpose of collecting fines or recovering overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library, disclose information made confidential and exempt by this section to the following: 

  1. The library patron named in the records;
  2. In the case of a library patron less than 16 years of age, the parent or guardian of that patron named in the records; 
  3. Any entity that collects fines on behalf of a library, unless the patron is less than 16 years of age, in which case only information identifying the patron's parent or guardian may be released;
  4. Municipal or county law enforcement officials, unless the patron is 16 years of age, in which case only information identifying the patron's parent or guardian may be released; or
  5. Judicial officials.

(4)  Any person who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

 

02/2004

 

TITLE 24.  EVIDENCE

CHAPTER 9.  WITNESSES GENERALLY

ARTICLE 2.  PRIVILEGE

PART 2.  MEDICAL INFORMATION

O.C.G. §  24-9-46  

 

§  24-9-46.  Confidential nature of certain library records

(a) Circulation and similar records of a library which identify the user of library materials shall not be public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:

   (1) To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business;

   (2) Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or

   (3) Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.

(b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) shall not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section shall not be liable therefor. 

 
02/2003

Department of the Attorney General

Office of Information Practices

State of Hawaii

 

OIP Opinion Letter No. 90-30

October 23, 1990

MEMORANDUM

TO: The Honorable Bartholomew A. Kane

State Librarian

 

ATTN: John R. Penebacker

Special Assistant to the State Librarian

 

FROM: Hugh R. Jones, Staff Attorney

 

SUBJECT:Public Access to Library Patron Circulation and Fine Records

This is in reply to a letter dated October 3, 1990, from John R. Penebacker requesting an advisory opinion from the Office of Information Practices ("OIP") concerning the above-referenced matter.

 

ISSUES PRESENTED

I.    Whether, under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes ("UIPA"), patron circulation records maintained by the Hawaii State Public Library System ("Library"), which identify materials used, requested, or obtained by a patron, must be made available for public inspection and copying?

 

II.   Whether, under the UIPA, information maintained by the Library concerning fines assessed to or owed by Library patrons must be made available for public inspection and copying?

 

BRIEF ANSWERS

I.    Unlike the majority of states, Hawaii does not have a specific statute which prohibits public access to public library circulation records. Accordingly, resolution of the question presented must be determined with reference to the provisions of the UIPA. The UIPA does not require agencies to disclose "[g]overnment records which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-13(1) (Supp. 1989). In order for this exception to apply to a particular government record, it must be a record in which an individual has a significant privacy interest. Based upon attorney general opinions from several other states, and a decision of the Supreme Court of Hawaii, we conclude that individuals have a significant privacy interest in information, such as Library circulation records, which reveals their thoughts, associations, or beliefs.

 

Furthermore, under the UIPA's balancing test set forth at section 92F-14(a), Hawaii Revised Statutes, we conclude that an individual's privacy interest in Library circulation records is not outweighed by the public interest in disclosure. The public disclosure of Library circulation records would reveal little about "the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of government agencies." See Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-2 (Supp. 1989). Indeed, the public disclosure of Library circulation records would reveal little more than the fact that the Library permitted materials to be borrowed. Accordingly, we conclude that generally, the public disclosure of Library circulation records would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" under the UIPA.

 

II.   Although individuals may have a significant privacy interest in the fact that they have been assessed or owe library fines, we conclude that the disclosure of amounts assessed to, or owed by, Library patrons would not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the UIPA. In our opinion, under the UIPA there is a significant public interest in the disclosure of information concerning amounts owed by individuals to government agencies. The disclosure of this information would reveal any favoritism in the assessment and collection of library fines, whether certain patrons are permitted to exceed maximums set by the Library, and whether the Library diligently collects said fines. Therefore, under the UIPA's balancing test, we conclude that the public interest in the disclosure of this information outweighs the privacy interest an individual may have in the same.

 

FACTS

The Library maintains a variety of information concerning its users ("patrons") in a computer database. Information that is maintained by the Library regarding its patrons may generally be divided into three categories. First, the Library maintains "registration data" which consists of the Library patron's name, patron identification number, address, telephone number, place of registration, and registration date. If the patron is a minor, registration information includes the child's name, grade, school, and guardian.

 

Second, the Library maintains information concerning "items on loan or request." This information identifies items currently on loan, the status of item (overdue), the date item is due, items on request, and the date placed.

 

Lastly, the Library maintains information concerning fines owed by its patrons, the items on which fines are due, and whether a patron has exceeded fine maximums established by the Library.

 

The Library requests the OIP to advise it whether the above-stated information it maintains concerning its patrons must be made available for public inspection under the UIPA.

 

DISCUSSION

I.    INTRODUCTION

 

Under the UIPA, "[a]ll government records are open to public inspection unless access is restricted or closed by law." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-11(a) (Supp. 1989). Thus, the UIPA provides, "[e]xcept as provided by section 92F-13, each agency upon request by any person shall make government records available for inspection and copying." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-11(b) (Supp. 1989). "Government record" under the UIPA "means information maintained by an agency in written, auditory, visual, electronic or other physical form." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-3 (Supp. 1989) (emphases added). Because the Library is a "unit of government in this State" or "governing authority," it is an "agency" subject to the provisions of the UIPA. See Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-3 (Supp. 1989).

 

Thus, unless protected by one of the UIPA's statutory exceptions to required agency disclosure, the Library's patron records must be made available for inspection and copying during regular business hours. In examining the exceptions set forth at section 92F-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the only exception that potentially applies to information concerning patrons of the Library is the UIPA's personal privacy exception. We now turn to an examination of this exception.

 

II. UIPA'S PERSONAL PRIVACY EXCEPTION

Section 92F-13(1), Hawaii Revised Statutes, provides:

92F-13 Government records; exceptions to general rule. This chapter shall not require disclosure of:

(1)   Government records which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; . . . .

 

Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-13(1) (Supp. 1989).

Under the UIPA, only "natural persons" have cognizable personal privacy interests. See Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-3 (Supp. 1989) ("individual means natural person"). Additionally, under the UIPA, an individual must have a "significant" privacy interest in a government record before the UIPA's privacy exception will apply to that record. See S. Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 235, 14th Leg., 1988 Reg. Sess., Haw. S. J. 689, 690 (1988); H.R. Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 112-88, 14th Leg., 1988 Reg. Sess., Haw. H.J. 817, 818 (1988) ("[o]nce a significant privacy interest is found, the privacy interest will be balanced"). Therefore, as an initial matter, it must be determined whether Library patrons have a significant privacy interest in the government records under consideration herein.

 

In section 92F-14(b), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Legislature set forth examples of information in which an individual has a significant privacy interest. Section 92F-14(b), Hawaii Revised Statutes, is silent as to the registration or circulation records of public libraries. However, Senate Standing Committee Report No. 2580, dated March 31, 1988, and the commentary to parallel provisions of the Uniform Information Practices Code, upon which the UIPA is based, indicate that this "enumeration is not intended to be exhaustive."[1]

 

The privacy interest that public library patrons have in library circulation records has been the subject of widespread interest, legislation, and legal commentary.[2] As observed by one commentator:

For centuries, librarians have been asked to reveal who reads what. Libraries have been asked for reading histories of specific users, circulation histories of particular books, and research histories of controversial topics. Biographers have pored over the library records of Presidents John Adams and Abraham Lincoln ... Police have asked who borrows books on photoengraving, bomb making, and the occult.

 

Kennedy, Confidentiality of Library Records: A Survey of Problems, Policies, and Laws, 81 Law Libr. J. 733 (1989) (hereinafter "Kennedy").

According to our research, as of the date of this opinion, over forty states have enacted statutes that restrict, in varying degrees, public access to patron records of public libraries. See generally Kennedy, 81 Law Libr. J. 733 (1989); Johnson, A More Cooperative Clerk: The Confidentiality of Library Records, 81 Law Libr. J. 769 (1989). The State of Hawaii, on the other hand, does not have a specific library records privacy statute which restricts the disclosure of library patron records. Generally, those states that have enacted library patron confidentiality statutes establish a routine right of privacy in library records that may be suspended for good cause as determined by a court or some similarly neutral arbiter.

 

These statutes differ widely in defining the types of patron records which are protected from disclosure. One approach defines the class of library records which are protected from the perspective of the library. These statutes shield "circulation records" or "registration records." A second, and more common legislative approach, identifies the relevant class of records in terms of patron activity. Many statutes protect records that reflect library materials "requested," "obtained," or "used" by a patron. Arkansas, for example, has a comprehensive law that protects information or documents generated in circulation transactions, computer database searches, interlibrary loans, reference queries, patent searches, and photocopy requests, as well as requests to use reserve and audiovisual materials. A third legislative approach defines the relevant class of protected records in terms of records which reveal a patron's identity or research interest.[3]

 

In addition to statutes enacted by the majority of states, the American Library Association has adopted a Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records. The current version of this policy strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes as confidential, its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials. See ALA Policy Manual 52.4, in American Library Association, ALA Handbook of Organization 1988/89, at 37 (1988).

 

No judicial decision in this State, nor in other jurisdictions, has held that individuals have a constitutional right to privacy in library circulation records. However, in Brown v. Johnston, 328 N.W.2d 510 (Iowa 1983) the Iowa Supreme Court permitted the state to obtain library circulation records despite claims that library patrons had a right to privacy in those records. In Brown, the court did not explicitly find that patrons' privacy rights were infringed. Instead, the court merely held that if a library patron's right to privacy existed, it was outweighed by the state's interest in a criminal investigation. See Brown 328 N.W.2d 512-13. The decision of the Brown court has been strongly criticized by some commentators. See Comment, Brown v. Johnston: The Unexamined Issue of Privacy in Public Library Circulation Records in Iowa, 69 Iowa Law. Rev. 535 (1983).

 

The facts in Brown are distinguishable from those present here, since in the Brown case, the state sought the circulation records pursuant to a subpoena under the rules of criminal procedure. In this opinion, we must decide whether library circulation records must be available for public inspection under an open records statute. Because Brown involved a subpoena issued under the state's rules of criminal procedure, pursuant to which the state sought access to library circulation records, it is of marginal value in determining whether the public should be permitted access to library circulation records.

 

The constitutional uncertainty that appears in the Brown decision is reflected in several opinions issued by the attorneys general of various states. The attorneys general of Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas have opined that the United States Constitution protects the confidentiality of library circulation records. See Op. Att'y. Gen. Nev. 80-6 (1980); Op. Att'y Gen. Tenn. 87-04 (1987); Att'y. Gen. Tex. Open Records Decision No. 100 (July 10, 1975). The attorneys general for two other states, Iowa and Mississippi, have taken the opposite view. See Op. Att'y. Gen. Iowa No. 71-8-22 (1971); Op. Att'y. Gen. Iowa No. 78-8-25 (1979); Op. Att'y. Gen. Miss. (May 10, 1985) (available on WESTLAW, MS-AG Database).

 

In Texas, the Attorney General concluded that library circulation records could not be inspected by the public under an exemption to the Texas Open Records Law, which applied to "information deemed confidential by law, either Constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Acknowledging that the question was one of first impression, the Texas Attorney General stated:

 

[W]e believe that the courts, if squarely faced with the issue, would hold that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution . . . makes confidential that information in library circulation records which would disclose the identity of library patrons in connection with with the material they have obtained from the library.

 

The First Amendment "necessarily protects the right to receive" information, Martin v. City of Struthers, 318 U.S. 141, 143 (1943). It protects the anonymity of the author, Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960); the anonymity of members of organizations, Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, 372 U.S. 539 (1963); Bates v. City of Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516 (1960); NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958); the right to ask persons to join a labor organization without registering to do so, Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516 (1945), the right to dispense and to receive birth control information in private, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965); the right to have controversial mail delivered without written request, Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301 (1965); the right to go to a meeting without being questioned as to whether you attended or what you said, DeGregory v. Attorney General of New Hampshire, 383 U.S. 825 (1966), the right to give a lecture without being compelled to tell the government what you said, Sweenzy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957), and the right to view a pornographic film in the privacy of your own home without governmental intrusion, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969).

 

If by virtue of the First and Fourteenth Amendment, "a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch," Stanley v. Georgia, supra at 565, then neither does the state have any business telling a man's neighbor what book or picture he has checked out of the public library to read or view in the privacy of his own home.

 

Texas Open Records Decision No. 100 at 2-3 (Jul. 10, 1975).

In some jurisdictions, the protection of library patron records is established as an exemption to the state's open records law. See Ind. Code Ann. 5-14-3-3(b)(16) (1985); Or. Rev. Stat. 192.500(1)(j) (1985); Va. Code Ann. 2.1-342(B)(8) (1985). On the other hand, the state of Kentucky does not have a library records privacy statute, nor does its open records law specifically exempt such information from disclosure. However, the Kentucky Attorney General has opined that the disclosure of library records which show the use of library materials by named persons would constitute an "unreasonable invasion of privacy." In Op. Att'y. Gen. Ky. No. 82-149 (March 12, 1982), the Kentucky Attorney General found that "the individual's privacy right as to what he borrows from a public library (books, motion picture film, periodicals and any other matter) is overwhelming." Id. at 1.

 

Similarly, before the amendment of Oregon's open records statute to expressly exempt library patron records from disclosure, the Oregon Attorney General stated:

 

In our society, the private thoughts of individuals comprise the most sacred bastions of privacy. The development of these thoughts is commonly nourished by reading. These private thoughts frequently develop as reflections of, or reactions to the literature an individual selects. The knowledge that the disclosure of library circulation records showing the use of specific library materials by named persons may occur, may intimidate individuals in the selection of library materials. Such disclosure could permit inferences to be drawn as to the private thoughts of individuals. We therefore conclude that the disclosure of such circulation records would clearly constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy . . . .

 

41 Op. Att'y. Gen. Or. 435 (1981) (emphasis added). In enacting the UIPA, the Legislature declared that "it is the policy of this State that the formation and conduct of public policy--the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of government agencies--shall be conducted as openly as possible." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-2 (Supp. 1989). On the other hand, the Legislature recognized that "[t]he policy of conducting government business as openly as possible must be tempered by a recognition of the right of the people to privacy, as embodied in section 6 and section 7 of Article I of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-2 (Supp. 1989). Consistent with these principles, the Legislature directed those applying the UIPA to "[b]alance the individual privacy interest and the public access interest, allowing access unless it would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-2 (Supp. 1989).

 

In our opinion, individuals have a significant privacy interest in information that reveals the materials that they have requested, used, or obtained from a public library. In addition to forgoing authorities, in State v. Tanaka, 67 Haw. 658, 701 P.2d 1274 (1985), the Hawaii Supreme Court noted that article I, section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii was intended to protect individuals from unwarranted governmental intrusion in activities or matters which reveal an individual's "activities, associations and beliefs," such as an individual's choice of reading materials. See Tanaka 67 Haw. at 662. We also concur with the Oregon Attorney General, when he observed that the disclosure of library circulation records would permit inferences to be drawn as to the private thoughts of individuals.

 

This conclusion does not end our analysis, since the UIPA provides that the "[d]isclosure of a government record shall not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interests of the individual." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-14(a) (Supp. 1989). In previous OIP advisory opinions, we opined that the "public interest" to be considered under the UIPA's balancing test is the public interest in information concerning the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and actions of government agencies, which sheds light upon an agency's performance of its statutory duties, or upon what the "government is up to." See OIP Op. Ltr. Nos. 89-16 at 4-6 (Dec. 27, 1989); 90-1 at 8 (Jan. 8, 1990); 90-7 at 7 (Feb. 9, 1990).

 

In balancing the individual's privacy interest in library circulation records against the "public interest" in disclosure, we agree with the point of view expressed by the General Counsel of the American Library Association:

 

Library circulation records do not contain information regarding the affairs of government but contain information only about the reading habits and propensities of individual citizens. Moreover, library circulation records clearly do not reflect the official acts of public officials and employees.

It is no secret that libraries keep circulation records to keep track of their collection . . . . The only acts revealed in such records are the acts of private citizens in borrowing books; the only "official act" they reflect is the fact that the library permitted the book to be borrowed.

 

Statement of William D. Hill to John Hill, Attorney General of Texas (May 6, 1975), quoted in Million & Fisher, Library Records: A Review of Confidentiality Laws and Policies, 11 J. Academic Librarianship 346, 347 (1986).

 

We conclude that under the UIPA's balancing test, the public interest in the disclosure of library records reflecting materials requested, used, or obtained by a Library patron, does not outweigh a Library patron's significant privacy interest in such information. Accordingly, we conclude that the public disclosure of this information would, under most circumstances, result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.4

 

Furthermore, in previous OIP advisory opinions, we concluded that generally, the disclosure of an individual's home address and home telephone number would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. See OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-16 (Dec. 27, 1989). Thus, under the UIPA, the Library should not disclose this patron information to the public.

 

With respect to Library government records which identify fines owed by patrons for overdue library materials, the UIPA does evidence a significant public interest in the disclosure of information concerning amounts owed by individuals to government agencies. See Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-12(a)(8) (Supp. 1989); OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-29 (Oct. 5, 1990). Similarly, other State and county laws reflect this significant public interest. See Haw. Rev. 231-3(10) (Supp. 1990) (State compromises of tax liabilities open to public inspection); Rev. Ord. Hon. 8.1.11 and 8.1.17 (1983) (real property tax assessments and delinquencies open to inspection). Indeed, the Texas Attorney General, while concluding that individuals have a constitutional privacy interest in library circulation records, also stated that:

 

[W]e do not believe that this constitutional protection extends beyond the identification of an  individual patron with the object of his or her attention. Thus, we do not believe that the fact that a person has used the library, owes or has paid a fine is confidential information.

 

Att'y. Gen. Tex. Open Records Decision No. 100 at 3.

 

Unlike the disclosure of patron circulation records, the disclosure of amounts owed by library patrons for overdue materials would open up agency actions to the light of public scrutiny. Specifically, the disclosure of such information would indicate whether Library personnel diligently collect unpaid fines, show favoritism in the assessment or collection of such penalties, or allow patrons to exceed fine maximums set by the Library. As such, disclosure of patron fine information would significantly further one of the UIPA's central policies, that the "decisions, and actions of government agencies . . . shall be conducted as openly as possible." Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F-3 (Supp. 1989).

 

We conclude that given the public interest in the disclosure of amounts owed by individuals to government agencies, the disclosure of government records reflecting amounts owed by Library patrons would not be "clearly unwarranted" under the UIPA's personal privacy exception. Of course, for the reasons stated above, the Library should not disclose information which would identify the library materials which are associated with a patron's library fines.

 

Lastly, by this opinion, we merely conclude that the UIPA generally does does not require State and county libraries to make available their circulation records for public inspection. We express no opinion concerning the inter-agency disclosure of such information under section 92F-19, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or pursuant to a subpoena issued in the course of a criminal investigation.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

We conclude that generally, the disclosure of information which reveals library materials requested, used, or obtained by individuals would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under section 92F-13(1), Hawaii Revised Statutes. In our opinion, individuals have a significant privacy interest in information concerning materials that they have requested, used, or obtained from the Library. Further, under the UIPA's balancing test, we find that an individual's privacy interest in this information is not outweighed by the public interest in disclosure.

 

We further conclude that although individuals may have a significant privacy interest in information concerning fines assessed against them by the Library, the public interest in the disclosure of this information outweighs the privacy interests of the individual. Accordingly, we conclude that the disclosure of information regarding library fines that have been assessed or collected from individuals would not result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the UIPA.

 

 

Hugh R. Jones Staff Attorney

HRJ:sc

 

APPROVED:

Kathleen A. Callaghan Director

OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-30

 

 

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF HAWAII

Op. No. 86-18

August 7, 1986

 

REQUEST BY:

Mr. Bartholomew A. Kane

State Librarian

Department of Education

State of Hawaii

65 South King Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

 

OPINION BY:

Lawrence, L. Hines, Deputy Attorney General

APPROVED: Corinne K. A. Watanabe, Attorney General

 

OPINION:

Re: Social Security Numbers for Library Loans

By memorandum dated April 9, 1986, you asked whether the public libraries can demand or ask for the social security number of their patrons. More specificially, you asked the following questions:

1.  Can public libraries demand social security numbers from their own library patrons who wish to borrow books from the University of Hawaii through public libraries?

2.  Can the public libraries ask for the social security number as part of the information requested when registering library patrons for its own automated circulation system?  If this is possible, what are the conditions?

We answer your first question in the negative.  In answer to your second question, the public libraries may request the social security number from its library patrons if the requirements of the federal "Privacy Act of 1974" are satisfied.

Section 7 of the federal "Privacy Act of 1974," Pub. L. No. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1896, provides as follows:

(a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny  to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his social security account number.

(2) the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply with respect to --

(A) any disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or

(B) the disclosure of a social security number to any Federal, State, or local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and operating before January 1, 1975, if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an individual.

(b) Any Federal, State, or local government agency which requests an individual to disclose his social security account number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.  [Emphases added.]

An additional exemption to the "Privacy Act of 1974," was provided by the 1976 amendment to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §  405(c)(2)(C)(i) and (iii), which provides that an agency of a state charged with the administration of any general public assistance, driver's license, or motor vehicle registration law may require an individual to disclose his or her social security number to such agency solely for the purpose of administering such laws.

Thus, under the federal "Privacy Act of 1974" and the "Social Security Act," a federal, state, or local government agency may not require that an individual disclose his or her social security account number as a condition of receiving any benefit or privilege unless required by statute or regulation in existence and operating prior to January 1, 1975, or required by any public assistance, driver's license, or motor vehicle registration law.  Doyle v. Wilson, 529 F. Supp. 1343 (D. Del. 1982).

In addition, any federal, state, or local government agency which requests an individual to disclose his or her social security number shall inform that individual whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statute or regulation such account number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.  Alcaraz v. Block, 746 F.2d 593 (9th Cir. 1984); Doe v. Sharp, 491 F. Supp. 346 (D. Mass. 1980); Greater Cleveland Wel. Rights Org. v. Bauer, 462 F. Supp. 1319 (D. Ohio 1978).

We know of no state statute which requires a library patron to disclose his or her social security number when either borrowing books from the University of Hawaii through the public libraries or registering for the public libraries' automated circulation system.  Also, you have informed us that the public libraries did not have regulations requesting or requiring library patrons to provide their social security numbers when registering to use the library, which were in effect prior to January 1, 1975.

In view of the above, we conclude that the public libraries may not demand social security numbers from library patrons who wish to borrow books from the public libraries or the University of Hawaii through the public libraries.  The public libraries may ask for the social security number as part of the information requested when registering library patrons in the public libraries' automated circulation system, so long as the library patron is informed that the disclosure of his or her social security number is not mandatory, but voluntary, and not a prerequisite for borrowing books through the library system, and the patron is told of the uses to be made of the social security number.

 

[1] The Legislature directed those interpreting the UIPA's provisions to consult the Commentary to the Uniform Information Practices Code for guidance in applying similar provisions of the UIPA. See H.R. Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 342-88, 14th Leg., 1988 Reg. Sess., Haw. H.J. 969, 972 (1988).

[2] See generally Comment, Surveillance of Individual Reading Habits: Constitutional Limitations on Disclosure of Library Borrower Lists, 30 Am. U.L. Rev. 275 (1981); O'Neil, Libraries, Liberties and the First Amendment, 42 U. Cinc. L. Rev. 209 (1973).

 

[3] For a thorough discussion of the diverse scope of these state statutes, see Kennedy, 81 Law Libr. J. 733, 754-766 (1989).

IDAHO CODE

GENERAL LAWS 

TITLE 74.  TRANSPARENT AND ETHICAL GOVERNMENT 

CHAPTER 1.  PUBLIC RECORDS ACT

 

Idaho Code § 74-108 (2017)

§74-108. Exemptions from disclosure -- Archaeological, endangered species, libraries, licensing exams

The following records are exempt from disclosure:

(1) Records, maps or other records identifying the location of archaeological or geophysical sites or endangered species, if not already known to the general public.

(2) Archaeological and geologic records concerning exploratory drilling, logging, mining and other excavation, when such records are required to be filed by statute for the time provided by statute.

(3) The records of a library which, when examined alone, or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out, requesting, or using an item from a library.

(4) The material of a library, museum or archive which has been contributed by a private person, to the extent of any limitation that is a condition of the contribution.

(5) Test questions, scoring keys, and other data used to administer a licensing examination, employment, academic or other examination or testing procedure before the examination is given if the examination is to be used again. Records establishing procedures for and instructing persons administering, grading or evaluating an examination or testing procedure are included in this exemption, to the extent that disclosure would create a risk that the result might be affected. 

 

Idaho Code § 74-120 (2017)

§ 74-120. Prohibition on distribution or sale of mailing or telephone number lists -- Penalty

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) of this section, in order to protect the privacy of those who deal with public agencies or an independent public body corporate and politic:

(a) No agency or independent public body corporate and politic may distribute or sell for use as a mailing list or a telephone number list any list of persons without first securing the permission of those on the list; and

(b) No list of persons prepared by the agency or independent public body corporate and politic may be used as a mailing list or a telephone number list except by the agency or independent public body corporate and politic or another agency without first securing the permission of those on the list.

[ ...]

11) If a court finds that a person or public official has deliberately and in bad faith violated the provisions of subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) of this section, the person or public official shall be liable for a civil penalty assessed by the court in an amount not in excess of one thousand dollars ($ 1,000) which shall be paid into the general account.

 
04/2017
 

ILLINOIS COMPILED STATUTES

CHAPTER 75.  LIBRARIES

ILLINOIS LOCAL LIBRARY ACT

ARTICLE 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS

75 ILCS 5/1-7

[Prior to 1/1/93 cited as: Ill. Rev. Stat., Ch. 81, para. 1-7]

 

§  75 ILCS 5/1-7.  [Confidentiality]

Sec. 1-7.  Each library subject to this Act is subject to the provisions of The Library Records Confidentiality Act [75 ILCS 70/1 et seq.]. 

 

LIBRARY RECORDS CONFIDENTIALITY ACT

75 ILCS 70/1

[Prior to 1/1/93 cited as: Ill. Rev. Stat., Ch. 81, para. 1201]

 

§  75 ILCS 70/1.  [Confidentiality of records; statistical reports permitted]

Sec. 1. (a) The registration and circulation records of a library are confidential information. Except pursuant to a court order, no person shall publish or make any information contained in such records available to the public.

(b) This Section does not prevent a library from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistical reports regarding library registration and book circulation where those reports are presented so that no individual is identified therein.

(c) For the purpose of this Section, (i) "library" means any public library or library of an educational, historical or eleemosynary institution, organization or society; (ii) "registration records" includes any information a library requires a person to provide in order for that person to become eligible to borrow books and other materials and (iii) "circulation records" includes all information identifying the individual borrowing particular books or materials. 

§  75 ILCS 70/2.  [Short title]

Sec. 2.  This Act may be cited as the Library Records Confidentiality Act. 

HISTORY: Source: P.A. 86-1475

 

PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT ACT OF 1991

75 ILCS 16/1-25 

 

§  75 ILCS 16/1-25.  Confidentiality of records

Sec. 1-25. Confidentiality of records.  Each library subject to this Act is subject to the provisions of the Library Records Confidentiality Act [75 ILCS 70/1 et seq.]. 

HISTORY: Source: P.A. 83-179; 87-1277, §  1-25. 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

5 ILCS 140/7  (2001)

 

§  5 ILCS 140/7.  Exemptions

Sec. 7. Exemptions. (1) The following shall be exempt from inspection and copying:

<...>   

(l) Library circulation and order records identifying library users with specific materials.

(2) This Section does not authorize withholding of information or limit the availability of records to the public, except as stated in this Section or otherwise provided in this Act. 

 

02/2003

TITLE 5.  STATE AND LOCAL ADMINISTRATION

ARTICLE 14.  PUBLIC PROCEEDINGS

CHAPTER 3.  ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

Burns Ind. Code Ann. §  5-14-3-4  

 

§  5-14-3-4. Exceptions to IC 5-14-3-3 -- Time limitation on confidentiality of records -- Destruction of public records [as amended by P.L.201-2001]

(a) The following public records are excepted from section 3 [IC 5-14-3-3] of this chapter and may not be disclosed by a public agency, unless access to the records is specifically required by a state or federal statute or is ordered by a court under the rules of discovery <....>

  1. Those declared confidential by state statute.
  2. Those declared confidential by rule adopted by a public agency under specific authority to classify public records as confidential granted to the public agency by statute.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (a), the following public records shall be excepted from section 3 of this chapter at the discretion of a public agency: <...>

   (16) Library or archival records:

(A) which can be used to identify any library patron; or

(B) deposited with or acquired by a library upon a condition that the records be disclosed only:

(i) to qualified researchers;

(ii) after the passing of a period of years that is specified in the documents under which the deposit or acquisition is made; or

(iii) after the death of persons specified at the time of the acquisition or deposit.

 

However, nothing in this subdivision shall limit or affect contracts entered into by the Indiana state library pursant to IC 4-1-6-8.

 (c) Notwithstanding section 3 of this chapter, a public agency is not required to create or provide copies of lists of names and addresses, unless the public agency is required to publish such lists and disseminate them to the public pursuant to statute. However, if a public agency has created a list of names and addresses, it must permit a person to inspect and make memoranda abstracts from the lists unless access to the lists is prohibited by law. The following lists of names and addresses may not be disclosed by public agencies to commercial entities for commercial purposes and may not be used by commercial entities for commercial purposes:

  1. A list of employees of a public agency.
  2. A list of persons attending conferences or meetings at a state institution of higher education or of persons involved in programs or activities conducted or supervised by the state institution of higher education.
  3. A list of students who are enrolled in a public school corporation if the governing body of the public school corporation adopts a policy:

      (A) prohibiting the disclosure of the list to commercial entities for commercial purposes; or

      (B) specifying the classes or categories of commercial entities to which the list may not be disclosed or by which the list may not be used for commercial purposes.

 

A policy adopted under subdivision (3) must be uniform and may not discriminate among similarly situated commercial entities.

(d) Nothing contained in subsection (b) shall limit or affect the right of a person to inspect and copy a public record required or directed to be made by any statute or by any rule of a public agency.

(e) Notwithstanding any other law, a public record that is classified as confidential, other than a record concerning an adoption, shall be made available for inspection and copying seventy-five (75) years after the creation of that record.

(f) Notwithstanding subsection (e) and section 7 [IC 5-14-3-7] of this chapter:

  1. public records subject to IC 5-15 may be destroyed only in accordance with record retention schedules under IC 5-15; or
  2. public records not subject to IC 5-15 may be destroyed in the ordinary course of business.  

CODE OF IOWA

TITLE I.  STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND MANAGEMENT

SUBTITLE 9.  RESTRAINTS ON GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 22.  EXAMINATION OF PUBLIC RECORDS (OPEN RECORDS)

Iowa Code §  22.7

 

22.7  Confidential records. 

The following public records shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records, or by another person duly authorized to release such information:

<...>

13.  The records of a library which, by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library. The records shall be released to a criminal or juvenile justice agency only pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime. The records shall be released only upon a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end and that the need for the information is cogent and compelling.

14.  The material of a library, museum or archive which has been contributed by a private person to the extent of any limitation that is a condition of the contribution.

<...>

 

02/2003

KANSAS STATUTES ANNOTATED

CHAPTER 45. PUBLIC RECORDS, DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION

ARTICLE 2. RECORDS OPEN TO PUBLIC

K.S.A. §  45-221f

 

45-221f.   Certain records not required to be open; separation of open and closed information required; statistics and records over 70 years old open.

(a) Except to the extent disclosure is otherwise required by law, a public agency shall not be required to disclose:

 <...>

(7)  Library, archive and museum materials contributed by private persons, to the extent of any limitations imposed as conditions of the contribution.

 <...>

(23)  Library patron and circulation records which pertain to identifiable individuals.

 <...>

(b)  Except to the extent disclosure is otherwise required by law or as appropriate during the course of an administrative proceeding or on appeal from agency action, a public agency or officer shall not disclose financial information of a taxpayer which may be required or requested by a county appraiser or the director of property valuation to assist in the determination of the value of the taxpayer's property for ad valorem taxation purposes; or any financial information of a personal nature required or requested by a public agency or officer, including a name, job description or title revealing the salary or other compensation of officers, employees or applicants for employment with a firm, corporation or agency, except a public agency. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the publication of statistics, so classified as to prevent identification of particular reports or returns and the items thereof.

(c)  As used in this section, the term "cited or identified" shall not include a request to an employee of a public agency that a document be prepared.

(d)  If a public record contains material which is not subject to disclosure pursuant to this act, the public agency shall separate or delete such material and make available to the requester that material in the public record which is subject to disclosure pursuant to this act. If a public record is not subject to disclosure because it pertains to an identifiable individual, the public agency shall delete the identifying portions of the record and make available to the requester any remaining portions which are subject to disclosure pursuant to this act, unless the request is for a record pertaining to a specific individual or to such a limited group of individuals that the individuals' identities are reasonably ascertainable, the public agency shall not be required to disclose those portions of the record which pertain to such individual or individuals.

(e)  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to exempt from public disclosure statistical information not descriptive of any identifiable person.

(f)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), any public record which has been in existence more than 70 years shall be open for inspection by any person unless disclosure of the record is specifically prohibited or restricted by federal law, state statute or rule of the Kansas supreme court or by a policy adopted pursuant to K.S.A. 72-6214, and amendments thereto. 

 

02/2003

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF KENTUCKY

OAG 82-149

March 12, 1982

 

REQUEST BY:

Mr. James A. Nelson

State Librarian and Commissioner

Department of Library and Archives

P.O. Box 537

Frankfort, Kentucky 40602

 

OPINION BY:

Steven L. Beshear, Attorney General; By: Carl Miller, Assistant Attorney General

 

OPINION:

You have requested that we clarify OAG 81-159 in which we said that a public library is not required to make available for public inspection its registration and circulation records.  We said: "We think that the individual's privacy right as to what he borrows from a public library (books, motion picture film, periodicals and any other matter) is overwhelming." This conclusion was based on KRS 61.878 (1)(a) which exempts from the mandatory requirement of public disclosure "public records containing information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."

In your recent letter you explain that librarians divide libraries into four basic types: school, public, academic and special.  You ask if our opinion applies to a school library, such as a state university, and the state library.

Our opinion applies to any library which is subject to the Open Records Law as defined by KRS 61.870.  This  [*2]  includes all tax supported libraries and all private libraries which receive as much as 25 percent of their funds from state or local authority. It does not include, of course, a private library receiving less than 25 percent of its funds from state or local authority. Our opinion, in effect, places tax supported libraries in the same position as private libraries which would not be governed by the Open Records Law. In other words, all libraries may refuse to disclose for public inspection their circulation records.  As far as the Open Records Law is concerned, they may also make the records open if they so choose; however, we believe that the privacy rights which are inherent in a democratic society should constrain all libraries to keep their circulation lists confidential.

We have heard it suggested that in the case of a state university a professor might have the legitimate right to check the circulation record to see if a student has checked out a particular book and committed plagiarism by submitting verbatim material from the book on an assignment of an original composition.  We cannot give an opinion on such a question because it is outside of the scope of the Open Records [*3]  Law.

The main thrust of OAG 81-159 and of this opinion is that no person can demand as a matter of right to inspect the circulation records of any type of library -- school, public, academic or special -- under the Open Records Law.

 

 

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF KENTUCKY

OAG 81-159

April 21, 1981

REQUEST BY:

James A. Nelson

State Librarian

Department of Library and Archives

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

 

OPINION BY:

Steven L. Beshear, Attorney General; Carl Miller, Assistant Attorney General

 

OPINION:

You have requested an opinion of the Attorney General as to whether registration and circulation records of public libraries are mandatorily required to be open to the public under the Open Records Law, KRS 61.870-61.884.

It is our opinion that they are not.

KRS 61.878(1)(a) reads as follows:

"The following public records are excluded from the application of KRS 61.870-61.884 and shall be subject to inspection only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction:

(a) public records containing information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. . ."

The wording of this statute calls for a weighing of an individual's right of privacy against the public interest in the transaction involved.  Wine Hobbies U.S.A., Inc. v. U.S. Internal Revenue Service, 502 F.2d 133 (1974).

 

We think that the individual's privacy rights as to what he borrows from a public library (books, motion picture film, periodicals and any other matter) is overwhelming.  In fact we can see no public interest at all to put in the scales opposite the privacy rights of the individual.

We would point out, however, that Kentucky has no privacy statute and that the exceptions to mandatory disclosure of public records are permissive and no law is violated if they are not observed by the custodian.

In summary, it is our opinion that the custodian of the registration and circulation records of a public library is not required to make such records available for public inspection under the Open Records Law.

 

LOUISIANA STATUTES

LOUISIANA REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 44.  PUBLIC RECORDS AND RECORDERS

CHAPTER 1.  PUBLIC RECORDS

PART I.  SCOPE

La. R.S. 44:13

 

§  13 Registration records and other records of use maintained by libraries

A. Notwithstanding any provisions of this Chapter or any other law to the contrary, records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds, including the records of public, academic, school, and special libraries, and the State Library of Louisiana, indicating which of its documents or other materials, regardless of format, have been loaned to or used by an identifiable individual or group of individuals may not be disclosed except to a parent or custodian of a minor child seeking access to that child's records, to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library, to persons authorized in writing by the individual or group of individuals to inspect such records, or by order of a court of law.

B. Notwithstanding any provisions of this Chapter or any other law to the contrary, records of any such library which are maintained for purposes of registration or for determining eligibility for the use of library services may not be disclosed except as provided in Subsection A of this Section.

C. No provision of this Section shall be so construed as to prohibit or hinder any library or any business office operating jointly with a library from collecting overdue books, documents, films, or other items and/or materials owned or otherwise belonging to such library, nor shall any provision of this Section be so construed as to prohibit or hinder any such library or business office from collecting fines on such overdue books, documents, films, or other items and/or materials.

D. No provision of this section shall be so construed as to prohibit or hinder any library or librarian from providing information to appropriate law enforcement officers investigating criminal activity in the library witnessed by an employee or patron of the library and reported by the administrative librarian to the appropriate law enforcement officials.

(1)The term "criminal activity in the library", as used in this subsection, shall mean an activity which constitutes a crime, or otherwise constitutes an offense or violation of any law or ordinance, occurring:

(A)within any library building,

(B)upon any library property, OR

(C)near a library and the proximity of such activity to a library or library property constitutes an element of the offense.

(2)The term "information", as used in this subsection shall include but not be limited to electronic data files, security surveillance video tapes, or other records or materials which may constitute evidence which would assist law enforcement officers in identifying the individual or group of individuals who may have committed criminal activity in the library. 

 

02/2003

MAINE REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 27.  LIBRARIES, HISTORY, CULTURE AND ART

CHAPTER 4-A.  LIBRARY RECORDS

27 M.R.S. §  121

 

§  121.  Confidentiality of library records

Records maintained by any public municipal library, the Maine State Library, the Law and Legislative Reference Library and libraries of the University of Maine System and the Maine Maritime Academy that contain information relating to the identity of a library patron relative to the patron's use of books or other materials at the library are confidential. Those records may only be released with the express written permission of the patron involved or as the result of a court order. 

 

02/2003

CODE OF MARYLAND

STATE GOVERNMENT

TITLE 10.  GOVERNMENTAL PROCEDURES

SUBTITLE 6.  RECORDS

PART III.  ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

Md. STATE GOVERNMENT Code Ann. §  10-616

 

§  10-616. Same -- Specific records

 

(a) In general. -- Unless otherwise provided by law, a custodian shall deny inspection of a public record, as provided in this section.

<...>

(e) Circulation records, or other item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual. --

(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection, a custodian shall prohibit inspection, use, or disclosure of a circulation record of a public library or other item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that:

(i) is maintained by a library;

(ii) contains an individual's name or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual; and

(iii) identifies the use a patron makes of that library's materials, services, or facilities.

(2) A custodian shall permit inspection, use, or disclosure of a circulation record of a public library only in connection with the library's ordinary business and only for the purposes for which the record was created.

(f) Gifts. -- A custodian shall deny inspection of library, archival, or museum material given by a person to the extent that the person who made the gift limits disclosure as a condition of the gift.

 

TITLE 23.  LIBRARIES

SUBTITLE 1.  STATE LIBRARY AGENCIES

Md. STATE GOVERNMENT Code Ann. §  23-107. Circulation records

 

(a) Inspection, use, or disclosure prohibited. -- Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a free association, school, college or university library in this State shall prohibit inspection, use, or disclosure of any circulation record or other item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that:

  1. Is maintained by a library;
  2. Contains an individual's name or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual; and
  3. Identifies the use a patron makes of that library's materials, services, or facilities.

(b) Exceptions. -- A free association, school, college, or university library in the State shall permit inspection, use, or disclosure of the circulation record of an individual only in connection with the library's ordinary business and only for the purposes for which the record was created. 

 

02/2003

LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS

PART I.  ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT

TITLE XII. EDUCATION

CHAPTER 78.  LIBRARIES

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 78, §  7

 

§  7. Cities and Towns May Establish Public Libraries. 

A town may establish and maintain public libraries for its inhabitants under regulations prescribed by the city council or by the town, and may receive, hold and manage any gift, bequest or devise therefor. The city council of a city or the selectmen of a town may place in such library the books, reports and laws which may be received from the commonwealth. That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record as defined by clause Twenty-sixth of section seven of chapter four. Library authorities may disclose or exchange information relating to library users for the purposes of inter-library cooperation and coordination, including but not limited to, the purposes of facilitating the sharing of resources among library jurisdictions as authorized by clause (1) of section nineteen E or enforcing the provisions of sections ninety-nine and one hundred of chapter two hundred and sixty-six. 

 

02/2003

MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS

CHAPTER 397  LIBRARIES

THE LIBRARY PRIVACY ACT

MCLS prec §  397.601  

MCL §  397.601

 

§  397.601

AN ACT to provide for the confidentiality of certain library records; and to provide for the selection and use of library materials. 

 

§  397.602.    Definitions. 

   Sec. 2. As used in this act:

(a) "Computer" means any connected, directly interoperable or interactive device, equipment, or facility that uses a computer program or other instructions to perform specific operations including logical, arithmetic, or memory functions with or on computer data or a computer program, and that can store, retrieve, alter, or communicate the results of the operations, to a person, computer program, computer, computer system, or computer network.

(b) "Computer network" means the interconnection of hardwire or wireless communication lines with a computer through remote terminals, or a complex consisting of 2 or more interconnected computers.

(c) "Computer program" means a series of internal or external instructions communicated in a form acceptable to a computer that directs the functioning of a computer, computer system, or computer network in a manner designed to provide or produce products or results from the computer, computer system, or computer network.

(d) "Computer system" means a set of related, connected or unconnected, computer equipment, devices, software, or hardware.

(e) "Device" includes, but is not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, electrochemical, biochemical, hydraulic, optical, or organic object that performs input, output, or storage functions by the manipulation of electronic, magnetic, or other impulses.

(f) "Harmful to minors" means that term as it is defined in section 4 of 1978 PA 33, MCL 722.674.

(g) "Internet" means that term as defined in section 230 of title II of the communications act of 1934, chapter 652, 110 Stat. 137, 47 U.S.C. 230.

(h) "Library" includes a library that is established by the state; a county, city, township, village, school district, or other local unit of government or authority or combination of local units of governments and authorities; a community college district; a college or university; or any private library open to the public.

(i) "Library record" means a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that contains information that personally identifies a library patron, including the patron's name, address, or telephone number, or that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials from a library. Library record does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general.

(j) "Minor" means an individual who is less than 18 years of age.

(k) "Obscene" means that term as it is defined in section 2 of 1984 PA 343, MCL 752.362.

(l) "Sexually explicit matter" means that term as it is defined in section 3 of 1978 PA 33, MCL 722.673.

(m) "Terminal" means a device used to access the internet or a computer, computer program, computer network, or computer system. 

 

§  397.603.    Library record not subject to disclosure requirements; release or disclosure of library record without consent prohibited; exception; procedure and form of written consent; hearing. 

Sec. 3. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a library record is not subject to the disclosure requirements of the freedom of information act, Act No. 442 of the Public Acts of 1976, being sections 15.231 to 15.246 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

(2) Unless ordered by a court after giving the affected library notice of the request and an opportunity to be heard on the request, a library or an employee or agent of a library shall not release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to a person without the written consent of the person liable for payment for or return of the materials identified in that library record.

(3) The procedure and form of giving written consent described in subsection (2) may be determined by the library.

(4) A library may appear and be represented by counsel at a hearing described in subsection (2). 

 

§  397.604.    Improper disclosure; liability, civil action, damages, attorney fees, costs. 

Sec. 4. A library or an agent or employee of a library which violates section 3 shall be liable to the person identified in a record that is improperly released or disclosed. The person identified may bring a civil action for actual damages or $250.00, whichever is greater; reasonable attorney fees; and the costs of bringing the action. 

 

§  397.605.    Selection of library materials, exceptions; regulation of use.

Sec. 5. (1) Except as otherwise provided by statute or by a regulation adopted by the governing body of the library, the selection of library materials for inclusion in a library's collection shall be determined only by an employee of the library.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by law or by a regulation adopted by the governing body of the library, the use of library materials shall be determined only by an employee of the library. 

 

§  397.606.    Restriction of internet access to minors; immunity from liability; exceptions. 

Sec. 6. (1) If a library offers use of the internet or a computer, computer program, computer network, or computer system to the public, the governing body of that library  shall adopt and require enforcement of a policy that restricts  access to minors by providing the use of the internet or a computer, computer program, computer network, or computer system in  1 of  the following  ways :

   (a) Both of the following:

(i)  By making available, to individuals of any age, 1 or more terminals that are restricted from receiving obscene matter or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors.

(ii)  By reserving, to individuals 18 years of age or older or minors who are accompanied by their parent or guardian, 1 or more terminals that are not restricted from receiving any material.

 (b) By utilizing a system or method that is designed to prevent a minor from viewing obscene matter or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors.

(2) A governing body of a library, member of a governing body of a library, library, or an agent or employee of a governing body of a library or library, is immune from liability in a civil action as provided in section 7 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 691.1407.

(3) This section does not apply to a library established by a community college district, a college or university, or a private library open to the public. 

 

02/2003

MINNESOTA STATUTES

Data Practices

CHAPTER 13 GOVERNMENT DATA PRACTICES

LIBRARY DATA

Minn. Stat. §  13.40

 

13.40 Library and historical data

Subdivision 1.  Records subject to this chapter.  (a) For purposes of this section, "historical records repository" means an archives or manuscript repository operated by any state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision whose purpose is to collect and maintain data to further the history of a geographic or subject area.  The term does not include the state archives as defined in section 138.17, subdivision 1, clause (5). 

(b) Data collected, maintained, used, or disseminated by a library or historical records repository operated by any state agency, political subdivision, or statewide system shall be administered in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. 

Subd. 2.  Private data; library borrowers.  (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the following data maintained by a library are private data on individuals and may not be disclosed for other than library purposes except pursuant to a court order:

(1) data that link a library patron's name with materials requested or borrowed by the patron or that link a patron's name with a specific subject about which the patron has requested information or materials; or

(2) data in applications for borrower cards, other than the name of the borrower. 

(b) A library may release reserved materials to a family member or other person who resides with a library patron and who is picking up the material on behalf of the patron.  A patron may request that reserved materials be released only to the patron. 

Subd. 3.  Nongovernmental data.  Data held in the custody of a historical records repository that were not originally created, received, maintained, or disseminated by a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision are not government data.  These data are accessible to the public unless:

(1) the data are contributed by private persons under an agreement that restricts access, to the extent of any lawful limitation; or

(2) access would significantly endanger the physical or organizational integrity of the data. 

 

02/2003

MISSISSIPPI CODE

TITLE 39.  LIBRARIES, ARTS, ARCHIVES AND HISTORY

CHAPTER 3.  LIBRARIES AND LIBRARY COMMISSION

Article 9. MISSISSIPPI STATEWIDE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM ACT OF 1988

 

 

§  39-3-365. Confidentiality of library user records

Records maintained by any library funded in whole or in part by public funds, which contain information relating to the identity of a library user, relative to the user's use of books or other materials at the library, shall be confidential. Such records may only be released with the express written permission of the respective library user or as the result of a court order. 

 

§  39-3-367. Release and use of aggregate statistics

Aggregate statistics shown from registration and circulation records, with all personal identification removed, may be released or used by a library for research, planning and reporting purposes. 

 

§ 39-3-369. Use of records for purpose of  collecting overdue materials and fines

No provision of this act shall be construed to prohibit any library, or any business operating jointly with a library, from disclosing information for the purpose of collecting overdue books, documents, films or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to such library. No provision of this act shall be construed to prohibit or hinder any such library or business office from collecting fines on such overdue books, documents, films or other items or materials.  

 

HISTORY: SOURCES: Laws, 1992, ch. 521, §  3, eff from and after July 1, 1992. 

02/2003

REVISED STATUTES OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI

TITLE 11.  EDUCATION AND LIBRARIES

CHAPTER 182.  COUNTY AND CITY LIBRARIES--LIBRARIES GENERALLY

LIBRARIES GENERALLY

 

§182.815 Disclosure of library records, definitions.

As used in this section and section 182.817, the following terms shall mean

  1. "Digital resource or material", any E-book, digital periodical, digital thesis, digital dissertation, digital report, application, website, database, or other data available in digital format from a library for display on a computer screen or handheld device;
  2. "E-book", any book composed or converted to digital format for display on a computer screen or handheld device;
  3. "Library", any library established by the state or any political subdivision of the state, or combination thereof, by any community college district, or by any college or university, and any private library open to the public;
  4. "Library material", any book, E-book, digital resource or material, document, film, record, art work, or other library property which a patron may use, borrow or request;
  5. "Library record", any document, record, or other method of storing information retained, received or generated by a library that identifies a person or persons as having requested, used, or borrowed library material, and all other records identifying the names of library users. The term "library record" does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library material in general.

 

§182.817. Disclosure of Library Records Not Required - Exceptions

1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, no library, employee or agent of a library, or third party contracted by a library that receives, transmits, maintains, or stores library records shall release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to any person or persons except:

  1. In response to a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the library; or
  2. In response to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary to protect the public safety or to prosecute a crime.

2. Any person whose privacy is compromised as a result of an alleged violation of this section may file a written complaint within one hundred eighty days of the alleged violation with the office of the attorney general describing the facts surrounding the alleged violation. Such person may additionally bring a private civil action in the circuit court of the county in which the library is located to recover damages. The court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages and may award to the prevailing party attorney's fees, based on the amount of time reasonably expended, and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper. A prevailing respondent may be awarded attorney fees under this subsection only upon a showing that the case is without foundation.

3. Upon receipt of a complaint filed in accordance with subsection 2 of this section, the attorney general shall review each complaint and may initiate legal action if deemed appropriate.

 

06/2014

MONTANA CODE

TITLE 22  LIBRARIES, ARTS, AND ANTIQUITIES

CHAPTER 1  LIBRARIES

PART 11  LIBRARY RECORDS CONFIDENTIALITY ACT

Mont. Code Anno., §  22-1-1101 – 22-1-1111

 

22-1-1101  Short title. 

This part may be cited as the "Montana Library Records Confidentiality Act". 

 

22-1-1102  Definitions. 

As used in 22-1-1103, the following definitions apply:

(1)  "Library" means a library that is established by the state, a county, city, town, school district, or a combination of those units of government, a college or university, or any private library open to the public.

(2)  "Library records" means any document, record, or any other method of storing information retained, received, or generated by a library that identifies a person as having requested, used, or borrowed library material or other records identifying the names or other personal identifiers of library users. Library records does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general or records that are not retained or retrieved by personal identifier. 

 

22-1-1103  Nondisclosure of library records. 

(1)  No person may release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to any person except in response to:

(a)  a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the library; or

(b)  an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary because the merits of public disclosure clearly exceed the demand for individual privacy.

(2)  A library is not prevented from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistical reports regarding library registration and book circulation if those reports are presented so that no individual is identified therein.

(3)  Library records may be disclosed to the extent necessary to return overdue or stolen materials or collect fines.

 

22-1-1111. Penalty.

Any person who violates 22-1-1103 is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to the person identified in a record that is improperly released or disclosed. The person identified may bring a civil action for actual damages or $100, whichever is greater. Reasonable attorney fees and the costs of bringing the action may be awarded to the prevailing party. 

 

02/2003

REVISED STATUTES OF NEBRASKA

CHAPTER 84.  STATE OFFICERS

ARTICLE 7.  GENERAL PROVISIONS AS TO STATE OFFICERS

R.R.S. Neb. §  84-712.05  

 

§  84-712.05. Records which may be withheld from the public; enumerated

The following records, unless publicly disclosed in an open court, open administrative proceeding, or open meeting or disclosed by a public entity pursuant to its duties, may be withheld from the public by the lawful custodian of the records:

(1) Personal information in records regarding a student, prospective student, or former student of any tax-supported educational institution maintaining the records, other than routine directory information;

   <...>

(10) Records or portions of records kept by a publicly funded library which, when examined with or without other records, reveal the identity of any library patron using the library's materials or services.

 

02/2003

NEVADA REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 19.  MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS RELATED TO GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

CHAPTER 239.  PUBLIC RECORDS

IN GENERAL

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §  239.013  

 

§  239.013. Confidentiality of records of library which identify user with property used

Any records of a public library or other library which contain the identity of a user and the books, documents, films, recordings or other property of the library which he used are confidential and not public books or records within the meaning of NRS 239.010. Such records may be disclosed only in response to an order issued by a court upon a finding that the disclosure of such records is necessary to protect the public safety or to prosecute a crime. 

 

02/2003

NEW HAMPSHIRE REVISED STATUTES

TITLE VI.  PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

CHAPTER 91-A.  ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS AND MEETINGS

RSA 91-A:5  

 

§  91-A:5. Exemptions

The records of the following bodies are exempted from the provisions of this chapter:

I. Grand and petit juries.

II. Parole and pardon boards.

III. Personal school records of pupils.

IV. Records pertaining to internal personnel practices; confidential, commercial, or financial information; test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment, or academic examinations; and personnel, medical, welfare, library user, videotape sale or rental, and other files whose disclosure would constitute invasion of privacy. Without otherwise compromising the confidentiality of the files, nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a body or agency from releasing information relative to health or safety from investigative files on a limited basis to persons whose health or safety may be affected.

V. Teacher certification records, both hard copies and computer files, in the department of education, provided that the department shall make available teacher certification status information. 

VI. Records pertaining to matters relating to the preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, including training to carry out such functions, developed by local or state safety officials that are directly intended to thwart a deliberate act that is intended to result in widespread or severe damage to property or widespread injury or loss of life.

 

TITLE XVI  LIBRARIES

CHAPTER 201-D STATEWIDE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM

RSA 201-D:11

§ 201-D:11 Library User Records; Confidentiality. –

I. Library records which contain the names or other personal identifying information regarding the users of public or other than public libraries shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as provided in paragraph II. Such records include, but are not limited to, library, information system, and archival records related to the circulation and use of library materials or services.

II. Records described in paragraph I may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such libraries and shall be disclosed upon request by or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required by statute.

III. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any library from releasing statistical information and other data regarding the circulation or use of library materials provided, however, that the identity of the users of such library materials shall be considered confidential and shall not be disclosed to the general public except as provided in paragraph II.

 

02/2003

NEW JERSEY STATUTES

TITLE 18A.  EDUCATION

SUBTITLE 13.  STATE LIBRARY, ARCHIVES AND HISTORY; STATE MUSEUM;

COUNCIL ON THE ARTS

CHAPTER 73.  STATE LIBRARY, ARCHIVES AND HISTORY; STATE MUSEUM

ARTICLE 3.  STATE LIBRARY, ARCHIVES AND HISTORY

N.J. Stat. §  18A:73-43.2

 

§  18A:73-43.2. Confidentiality; exceptions

Library records which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:

a. The records are necessary for the proper operation of the library;

b. Disclosure is requested by the user; or

c. Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court order. 

 

Accessed 7/22/18

NEW MEXICO

CHAPTER 18.  LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

ARTICLE 9.  LIBRARY PRIVACY

 

§  18-9-1.  Short title

This act [18-9-1 to 18-9-6 NMSA 1978] may be cited as the "Library Privacy Act". 

 

§  18-9-2.  Purpose

The purpose of the Library Privacy Act [18-9-1 to 18-9-6 NMSA 1978] is to preserve the intellectual freedom guaranteed by Sections 4 and 17 of Article 2 of the constitution of New Mexico by providing privacy for users of the public libraries of the state with respect to the library materials that they wish to use. 

 

§  18-9-3.  Definitions

As used in the Library Privacy Act [18-9-1 to 18-9-6 NMSA 1978]:

A. "library" includes any library receiving public funds, any library that is a state agency and any library established by the state, an instrumentality of the state, a local government, district or authority, whether or not that library is regularly open to the public; and

B. "patron record" means any document, record or other method of storing information retained by a library that identifies, or when combined with other available information identifies, a person as a patron of the library or that indicates use or request of materials from the library. "Patron record" includes patron registration information and circulation information that identifies specific patrons. 

 

§  18-9-4.  Release of patron records prohibited

Patron records shall not be disclosed or released to any person not a member of the library staff in the performance of his duties, except upon written consent of the person identified in the record, or except upon court order issued to the library. The library shall have the right to be represented by counsel at any hearing on disclosure or release of its patron records. 

 

§  18-9-5.  Exceptions

The prohibition on the release or disclosure of patron records in Section 4 [18-9-4 NMSA 1978] of the Library Privacy Act shall not apply to overdue notices or to the release or disclosure by school libraries to the legal guardian of the patron records of unemancipated minors or legally incapacitated persons. 

HISTORY: Laws 1989, ch. 151, §  5. 

 

§  18-9-6.  Violations; civil liability

Any person who violates Section 4 [18-9-4 NMSA 1978] of the Library Privacy Act shall be subject to civil liability to the person identified in the released records for damages and costs of the action as determined by the court. 

 

Accessed 7/22/2018

NEW YORK CONSOLIDATED LAWS

CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES

ARTICLE 45.  EVIDENCE

NY CLS CPLR §  4509 

 

§  4509.  Library records

Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.

 

Accessed 7/19/18

GENERAL STATUTES OF NORTH CAROLINA

CHAPTER 125.  LIBRARIES

ARTICLE 3.  LIBRARY RECORDS

N.C. Gen. Stat. §  125-19  

 

§  125-19. Confidentiality of library user records

(a) Disclosure. -- A library shall not disclose any library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials, information, or services, or as otherwise having used the library, except as provided for in subsection (b).

(b) Exceptions. -- Library records may be disclosed in the following instances:

  1. When necessary for the reasonable operation of the library;
  2. Upon written consent of the user; or
  3. Pursuant to subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required by law. 

 

02/2003

NORTH DAKOTA CENTURY CODE

TITLE 40.  MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 40-38.  PUBLIC LIBRARIES

N.D. Cent. Code, §  40-38-12

 

§  40-38-12. Library records -- Open records exception

Any record maintained or received by a library receiving public funds, which provides a library patron's name or information sufficient to identify a patron together with the subject about which the patron requested information, is considered private and is excepted from the public records disclosure requirements of section 44-04-18. These records may be released when required pursuant to a court order or a subpoena.

 

Accessed 07/18/2018

OHIO REVISED CODE

TITLE I [1] STATE GOVERNMENT  

CHAPTER 149: DOCUMENTS, REPORTS, AND RECORDS  

[RECORDS COMMISSIONS]

ORC Ann. 149.432

 

§ 149.432 Release of library record or patron information. 

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Library" means a library that is open to the public, including any of the following:

(a) A library that is maintained and regulated under section 715.13 of the Revised Code;

(b) A library that is created, maintained, and regulated under Chapter 3375. of the Revised Code;

(c) A library that is created and maintained by a public or private school, college, university, or other educational institution;

(d) A library that is created and maintained by a historical or charitable organization, institution, association, or society.

"Library" includes the members of the governing body and the employees of a library.

(2) "Library record" means a record in any form that is maintained by a library and that contains any of the following types of information:

(a) Information that the library requires an individual to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials;

(b) Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a particular subject;

(c) Information that is provided by an individual to assist a library staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject.

"Library record" does not include information that does not identify any individual and that is retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the use of a library and its materials and services.

(3) Subject to division (B)(5) of this section, "patron information" means personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials.

(4) "Internet" has the same meaning as in section 3517.106 [3517.10.6] of the Revised Code.

(B) A library shall not release any library record or disclose any patron information except in the following situations:

(1) If a library record or patron information pertaining to a minor child is requested from a library by the minor child's parent, guardian, or custodian, the library shall make that record or information available to the parent, guardian, or custodian in accordance with division (B) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.

(2) Library records or patron information shall be released in the following situations:

(a) In accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order;

(b) To a law enforcement officer who is acting in the scope of the officer's law enforcement duties and who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.

(3) A library record or patron information shall be released upon the request or with the consent of the individual who is the subject of the record or information.

(4) Library records may be released for administrative library purposes, including establishment or maintenance of a system to manage the library records or to assist in the transfer of library records from one records management system to another, compilation of statistical data on library use, and collection of fines and penalties.

(5) A library may release under division (B) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code records that document improper use of the internet at the library so long as any patron information is removed from those records. As used in division (B)(5) of this section, "patron information" does not include information about the age or gender of an individual. 

 

Accessed 7/2018

OKLAHOMA STATUTES

TITLE 65.  PUBLIC LIBRARIES

CHAPTER A.  OKLAHOMA LIBRARY CODE

ARTICLE 1.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT AND GENERAL PROVISIONS

 Okl. St. § 65-1-105

 

§  65-1-105.  Disclosure of records

A.  Any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds including but not limited to public, academic, school or special libraries, and having records indicating which of its documents or other materials, regardless of format, have been loaned to or used by an identifiable individual or group shall not disclose such records to any person except to:

  1. Persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library;
  2. Persons authorized to inspect such records, in writing, by the individual or group; or
  3. By order of a court of law.

B.  The requirements of this section shall not prohibit middle and elementary school libraries from maintaining a system of records that identifies the individual or group to whom library materials have been loaned even if such system permits a determination, independent of any disclosure of such information by the library, that documents or materials have been loaned to an individual or group.

C.  All registration information of minors collected by any library which is supported in whole or in part by public funds including but not limited to public, academic, school or special libraries shall not be disclosed to any person except:

  1. Persons acting only within the legitimate scope of their duties in the administration of the library;
  2. Persons authorized to inspect such records, in writing, by the individual; or
  3. By order of a court of law.

For purposes of this section, "registration information" includes any information required of a minor in order to become eligible to borrow books, utilize library services, and other materials.

D.  Any suspicious requests for records of minors that may be indicative of criminal intent shall be reported immediately to appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Added by Laws 1985, c. 81, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1985.  Amended by Laws 1986, c. 98, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1986; Laws 2013, c. 26, § 1, emerg. eff. April 12, 2013.

 

Accessed 7/12/2018

OREGON REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 19.  MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS RELATED. 

TO GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

CHAPTER 192.  PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RECORDS; PUBLIC REPORTS AND MEETINGS

INSPECTION OF PUBLIC RECORDS

ORS §  192.355

 

192.355 Public records exempt from disclosure. The following public records are exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.311 to 192.478:

<...>

(23) The records of a library, including:

      (a) Circulation records, showing use of specific library material by a named person;
      (b) The name of a library patron together with the address or telephone number of the patron; and
      (c) The electronic mail address of a patron.

 

Accessed 7/9/2018

PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES AND CONSOLIDATED STATUTES

PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES 

TITLE 24 EDUCATION

CHAPTER 93 

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

24 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9375  

 

§ 9375 Library circulation records

Records of the following institutions which relate to the circulation of library materials and contain the names or other personally identifying information of users of the materials shall be confidential and may not be made available to anyone except by a court order in a criminal proceeding:

  1. The State Library.
  2. A local library established or maintained under the provisions of this chapter.
  3. The library of a university, college or educational institution chartered by the Commonwealth.
  4. The library of a public school.
  5. A library established and maintained under a law of this Commonwealth.
  6. A branch reading room, deposit station or agency operated in connection with a library described in this section.

 

Accessed 09/01/2014

GENERAL LAWS OF RHODE ISLAND

TITLE 11.  CRIMINAL OFFENSES

CHAPTER 18.  FRAUD AND FALSE DEALING

R.I. Gen. Laws §  11-18-32  

 

§  11-18-32. Video, audio and publication rentals

(a) It is unlawful for any person to reveal, transmit, publish, or disseminate in any manner, any records which would identify the names and addresses of individuals, with the titles or nature of video films, records, cassettes, or the like, which they purchased, leased, rented, or borrowed, from libraries, book stores, video stores, or record and cassette shops or any retailer or distributor of those products, whether or not the identities and listings are kept in a remote computing service or electronic storage or the disclosure is made through or by a remote computing service. It is not unlawful to make disclosures to other employees of the library or business that are incident to the normal course of their work or pursuant to lawful compulsion.

(b) All records of these transactions shall be maintained as confidential and may only be released by written waiver.

(c) Any person, firm, or corporation violating the provisions of this section shall be punished for each violation by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both.

(d) Any person injured as a result of a violation of this section for each violation may bring a civil action against the violator for actual damages or for two hundred fifty dollars ($250), whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs. 

 

TITLE 38.  Public Records

CHAPTER 38-2 Access to Public Records

R.I. General Laws §  38-2-2

 

§  38-2-2. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Agency" or "public body" shall mean any executive, legislative, judicial, regulatory, or administrative body of the state, or any political subdivision thereof; including, but not limited to, any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, any school, fire, or water district, or other agency of Rhode Island state or local government which exercises governmental functions, any authority as defined in §  42-35-1(b), or any other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting on behalf of and/or in place of any public agency.

(2) "Chief administrative officer" means the highest authority of the public body as defined in subsection (a) of this section.

(3) "Public business" means any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.

(4) (i) "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, computer stored data (including electronic mail messages, except specifically for any electronic mail messages of or to elected officials with or relating to those they represent and correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities) or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. For the purposes of this chapter, the following records shall not be deemed public:

<...>

(U) Library records which by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library user requesting, checking out, or using any library materials.

 

Accessed 7/9/2018

CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA

TITLE 60. LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND ARTS

CHAPTER 4. CONFIDENTIAL LIBRARY RECORDS

 

§  60-4-10. Records identifying library patrons as confidential information; disclosure. 

Records related to registration and circulation of library materials which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, private, school, college, technical college, university, and state institutional libraries and library systems, supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, are confidential information.

Records which by themselves or when examined with other public records would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item from the library or using other library services are confidential information.

The confidential records do not include nonidentifying administrative and statistical reports of registration and circulation.

The 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. 

 

§  60-4-20. Definitions. 

As used in this chapter, 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 all information which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other materials. 

 

§  60-4-30. Penalties. 

Any person violating the provisions of § 60-4-10 must upon conviction be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days for the first offense, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than sixty days for the second offense, and must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety days for the third or subsequent offense.

 

TITLE 30. PUBLIC RECORDS

CHAPTER 4. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

 

§ 30-4-10.  Short Title

This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Freedom of Information Act".

 

§ 30-4-20. Definitions

(a) "Public body" means any department of the State, any state board, commission, agency, and authority, any public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, including committees, subcommittees, advisory committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known, and includes any quasi-governmental body of the State and its political subdivisions, including, without limitation, bodies such as the South Carolina Public Service Authority and the South Carolina State Ports Authority. Committees of health care facilities, which are subject to this chapter, for medical staff disciplinary proceedings, quality assurance, peer review, including the medical staff credentialing process, specific medical case review, and self-evaluation, are not public bodies for the purpose of this chapter.

(b) "Person" includes any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, organization or association.

(c) "Public record" includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body. Records such as income tax returns, medical records, hospital medical staff reports, scholastic records, adoption records, records related to registration, and circulation of library materials which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, private, school, college, technical college, university, and state institutional libraries and library systems, supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, or records which reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item from the library or using other library services, except nonidentifying administrative and statistical reports of registration and circulation, and other records which by law are required to be closed to the public are not considered to be made open to the public under the provisions of this act; nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of those records where the public body, prior to January 20, 1987, by a favorable vote of three-fourths of the membership, taken after receipt of a written request, concluded that the public interest was best served by not disclosing them. Nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of records of the Board of Financial Institutions pertaining to applications and surveys for charters and branches of banks and savings and loan associations or surveys and examinations of the institutions required to be made by law. Information relating to security plans and devices proposed, adopted, installed, or utilized by a public body, other than amounts expended for adoption, implementation, or installation of these plans and devices, is required to be closed to the public and is not considered to be made open to the public under the provisions of this act.

(d) "Meeting" means the convening of a quorum of the constituent membership of a public body, whether corporal or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

(e) "Quorum" unless otherwise defined by applicable law means a simple majority of the constituent membership of a public body.

 

Accessed 7/9/2018

SOUTH DAKOTA CODIFIED LAWS

 

§  14-2-51.  Confidential library records

All public library records containing personally identifiable information are confidential. Any information contained in public library records may not be released except by court order or upon request of a parent of a child who is under eighteen years of age. As used in this section, "personally identifiable" means any information a library maintains that would identify a patron. Acts by library officers or employees in maintaining a check out system are not violations of this section. 

 

Accessed 7/9/2018

TENNESSEE CODE

TITLE 10.  PUBLIC LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES AND RECORDS

CHAPTER 8.  CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS

Tenn. Code Ann. §  10-8-101 - § 10-8-103

 

§ 10-8-101.  Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)  "Library" means:

      (A)  A library that is open to the public and established or operated by:

(i)  The state, a county, city, town, school district or any other political subdivision of the state;

(ii)  A combination of governmental units or authorities;

(iii)  A university or community college; or

      (B)  Any private library that is open to the public; and

(2)  "Library record" means a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific information or materials from such library. "Library record" does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general. 

 

§ 10-8-102.  Disclosure prohibited -- Exceptions

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b), no employee of a library shall disclose any library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials, information, or services or as having otherwise used such library. Such library records shall be considered an exception to the provisions of §  10-7-503.

(b)  Library records may be disclosed under the following circumstances:

  1. Upon the written consent of the library user;
  2. Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
  3. When used to seek reimbursement for or the return of lost, stolen, misplaced or otherwise overdue library materials. 

 

§ 10-8-103.  Applicability

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to libraries included within the provisions of chapters 1 and 3-5 of this title. 

 

Accessed 7/8/2018

TEXAS STATUTES AND CODES

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 5.  OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS

SUBTITLE A.  OPEN GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 552.  PUBLIC INFORMATION

SUBCHAPTER C.  INFORMATION EXCEPTED FROM REQUIRED DISCLOSURE

Tex. Gov't Code §  552.124

 

§  552.124.  Exception: Records of Library or Library System

(a) A record of a library or library system, supported in whole or in part by public funds, that identifies or serves to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 unless the record is disclosed:

  1. because the library or library system determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library or library system and the record is not confidential under other state or federal law;
  2. under Section 552.023; or
  3. to a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor under a court order or subpoena obtained after a showing to a district court that:

(A) disclosure of the record is necessary to protect the public safety; or

(B) the record is evidence of an offense or constitutes evidence that a particular person committed an offense.

(b) A record of a library or library system that is excepted from required disclosure under this section is confidential. 

 

Accessed 7/8/2018

UTAH CODE

TITLE 63G.  GENERAL GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 2.  GOVERNMENT RECORDS ACCESS AND MANAGEMENT ACT

 

Effective 5/8/2018 

§  63G-2-302.  Private records

(1) The following records are private:

<...>

    (c) records of publicly funded libraries that when examined alone or with other records identify a patron.

 

§ 63G-2-202.  Access to private, controlled, and protected documents.

(1) Except as provided in Subsection (11)(a), a governmental entity:

(a) shall, upon request, disclose a private record to:

(i) the subject of the record;

(ii) the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who is the subject of the record;

(iii) the legal guardian of a legally incapacitated individual who is the subject of the record;

(iv) any other individual who:

(A) has a power of attorney from the subject of the record;

(B) submits a notarized release from the subject of the record or the individual's legal representative dated no more than 90 days before the date the request is made; or

(C) if the record is a medical record described in Subsection 63G-2-302(1)(b), is a health care provider, as defined in Section 26-33a-102, if releasing the record or information in the record is consistent with normal professional practice and medical ethics; or

(v) any person to whom the record must be provided pursuant to:

(A) court order as provided in Subsection (7); or

(B) a legislative subpoena as provided in Title 36, Chapter 14, Legislative Subpoena Powers;

 

 

Accessed 07/2018

THE VERMONT STATUTES

TITLE 22: LIBRARIES, HISTORY, AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

CHAPTER 4: LIBRARY PATRON RECORDS

§ 171. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Library" means a public library as defined in subdivision 101(2) of this title, any college, university, or school library, or any other library or archive that is open on a regular basis and makes available on site, or circulates, materials to the public without a fee.

(2) "Patron registration records" means library records that contain information a library patron must provide in order to be eligible for borrowing privileges at a library.

(3) "Patron transaction records" means library records that contain names or other personal identifying information that discloses an individual's activities within a library, including the materials that have been viewed in print or electronic form, research questions posed, materials in any format that the patron has requested through interlibrary loan or has borrowed, or any other library service or consultation that the patron has requested. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

§ 172. Library record confidentiality; exemptions

(a) A library's patron registration records and patron transaction records shall remain confidential.

(b) Unless authorized by other provisions of law, the library's officers, employees, and volunteers shall not disclose the records except:

    (1) with the written permission of the library patron to whom the records pertain;

    (2) to officers, employees, volunteers, and agents of the library to the extent necessary for library administration purposes;

    (3) in response to an authorized judicial order or warrant directing disclosure;

    (4) to custodial parents or guardians of patrons under age 16;

    (5) to the custodial parents or guardians of a student, in accordance with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, by the library at the school the student attends.

(c) Statistical records pertaining to the patronage, circulation activities, and use of any service or consultation the library provides, provided that they do not contain the names of patrons or any other personally identifying information, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

§ 173. Right of patron action

Any person whose confidential patron registration records or patron transaction records have been disclosed, except as provided in this chapter, is authorized to bring a civil action against the library that disclosed the records. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

 

Accessed 07/2018

CODE OF VIRGINIA

TITLE 2.2.  ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNMENT

SUBTITLE II.  ADMINISTRATION OF STATE GOVERNMENT

PART B.  TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS

CHAPTER 37.  VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

 

§  2.2-3705.7  Exclusions to application of chapter; records of specific public bodies and certain other limited exclusions

The following information contained in a public record is excluded from the mandatory disclosure provisions of this chapter but may be disclosed by the custodian in his discretion, except where such disclosure is prohibited by law. Redaction of information excluded under this section from a public record shall be conducted in accordance with § 2.2-3704.01.

<....>   

3. Library records that can be used to identify both (i) any library patron who has borrowed material from a library and (ii) the material such patron borrowed.

 

Accessed 02/2016

REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON

TITLE 42.  PUBLIC OFFICERS AND AGENCIES

CHAPTER 42.56.  PUBLIC RECORDS ACT

 

§  42.56.310. Library Records


Any library record, the primary purpose of which is to maintain control of library materials, or to gain access to information, that discloses or could be used to disclose the identity of a library user is exempt from disclosure under this chapter.

 

Accessed 07/2018

WEST VIRGINIA CODE

CHAPTER 10.  PUBLIC LIBRARIES; PUBLIC RECREATION; ATHLETIC ESTABLISHMENTS; MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS; ROSTER OF SERVICEMEN; EDUCATIONAL BROADCASTING AUTHORITY

ARTICLE 1.  PUBLIC LIBRARIES

W. Va. Code §  10-1-22

 

§  10-1-22.  Confidential nature of certain library records

(a) Circulation and similar records of any public library in this state which identify the user of library materials are not public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:

  1. To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business, including paid employees and unpaid volunteers upon completing a written confidentiality agreement which shall prevent disclosure of circulation records, personal information, and similar records of any public library except to the extent allowed under this subsection and obtaining written permission from the library director of the library system wherein he or she will be working;
  2. Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
  3. Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.

(b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) does not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this section is not liable therefor.

 

Accessed 07/2018

WISCONSIN ANNOTATED STATUTES

CULTURAL AND MEMORIAL INSTITUTIONS; VETERAN'S AFFAIRS 

 CHAPTER 43. LIBRARIES

Wis. Stat. §  43.30 (2015)

 

43.30. Public library records.

(1b)  In this section:

(ae) “Collection agency" has the meaning given in s. 218.04 (1) (a).
(ag) “Custodial parent" includes any parent other than a parent who has been denied periods of physical placement with a child under s. 767.41 (4).
(b) “Law enforcement officer" has the meaning given in s. 165.85 (2) (c).
 

(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).

 
(2) A library supported in whole or in part by public funds may disclose an individual's identity to another library for the purpose of borrowing materials for the individual only if the library to which the individual's identity is being disclosed meets at least one of the following requirements:
(a) The library is supported in whole or in part by public funds.
(b) The library has a written policy prohibiting the disclosure of the identity of the individual except as authorized under sub. (3).
(c) The library agrees not to disclose the identity of the individual except as authorized under sub. (3).
 

(3) A library to which an individual's identity is disclosed under sub. (2) and that is not supported in whole or in part by public funds may disclose that individual's identity to another library for the purpose of borrowing materials for that individual only if the library to which the identity is being disclosed meets at least one of the requirements specified under sub. (2) (a) to (c).

(4) Upon the request of a custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16, a library supported in whole or part by public funds shall disclose to the custodial parent or guardian all library records relating to the use of the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services by that child.


(5)
(a) Upon the request of a law enforcement officer who is investigating criminal conduct alleged to have occurred at a library supported in whole or in part by public funds, the library shall disclose to the law enforcement officer all records pertinent to the alleged criminal conduct that were produced by a surveillance device under the control of the library.
(b) If a library requests the assistance of a law enforcement officer, and the director of the library determines that records produced by a surveillance device under the control of the library may assist the law enforcement officer to render the requested assistance, the library may disclose the records to the law enforcement officer.

(6)
(a) Subject to par. (b) and notwithstanding sub. (1m), a library that is supported in whole or in part by public funds may report the following information as provided in par. (c):
1. Information about delinquent accounts of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services.
2. The number and type of documents or materials that are overdue for each individual about whom information is submitted under subd. 1.
(b) If a public library discloses information as described in par. (a), the information shall be limited to the individual's name, contact information, and the amount owed to the library.
(c) A library may report the information as described in par. (a) to any of the following:
1. A collection agency.
2. A law enforcement agency, but only if the dollar value of the individual's delinquent account is at least $50.
 

Accessed 07/2018

WYOMING STATUTES

TITLE 16.  CITY, COUNTY, STATE AND LOCAL POWERS

CHAPTER 4.  UNIFORM MUNICIPAL FISCAL PROCEDURES; PUBLIC RECORDS, DOCUMENTS AND MEETINGS

ARTICLE 2.  PUBLIC RECORDS

Wyo. Stat. §  16-4-203  

 

§  16-4-203.  Right of inspection; grounds for denial; access of news media; order permitting or restricting disclosure; exception

(d) The custodian shall deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law:

   <...>

(ix) Library patron transaction and registration records except as required for administration of the library or except as requested by a custodial parent or guardian to inspect the records of his minor child;

 

Accessed 07/2018

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