Confidentiality of Library Records
The Highland Park Public Library protects each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted. The records of patron use of library resources, materials or services are confidential. Patron borrowing records are protected by New Jersey Statute. Registration information may be used for the proper operation of the library including but not limited to efforts to retrieve overdue library materials, in cases of theft or vandalism and the need to contact parents of school-aged children. No staff member shall reveal the borrowing history of an individual except under the circumstances outlined herein.
New Jersey Law:
N.J.S.A. 18A:73-43.2 states that 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.
All records concerning library users’ borrowing history and computer use are confidential and will not be made available to any agency of the federal, state, county, or local governments or to any other person unless a court order or search warrant requiring disclosure has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction or persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library.
The library is legally required to comply with information requests pursuant to the USA PATRIOT ACT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, P.L. 107-56, Oct 26, 2001) in providing information pursuant to this act or by other court order.
The Library shall follow the following procedures:
1. Any requests for information regarding a library user are to be referred to the Library Director, or designee, who will explain the Library’s policy.
2. If a library staff member is presented with a subpoena, he/she is to refer the matter to the Library Director or designee, who will contact the Library’s attorney to verify its validity and advise the Library of what action to take. The President of the Library Board shall also be notified of the request.
3. If a library staff member is presented with a search warrant from a law enforcement officer, he/she is not to interfere with the search and seizure. The staff member is to contact the Library Director or designee as soon as possible. The Library Director can ask the officer to allow consultation with legal counsel and to ask that the Library’s counsel be present during the search. Whether or not the law enforcement official agrees to await the arrival of counsel, the Library’s attorney shall be contacted. A search warrant must be specific as to the information requested. Information outside of the scope of a search warrant cannot be released.
4. The USA Patriot Act requires a search warrant and not a subpoena. A search warrant can be executed immediately upon service. A subpoena allows a party a period of time to respond.
Adopted October 27, 2014