Western Sullivan Public Library provides open and equal access to materials and information. A Library patron’s First Amendment rights to guaranteed freedom of speech, extend to a corresponding right to hear what is spoken and read what is written free from fear of intrusion, intimidation or reprisal. New York State Statute s4509 also insures this freedom. Western Sullivan Public Library also ascribes to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics, point #3, which states, “Librarians must protect each user’s right to privacy with respect to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired.” Only by strictly adhering to the following policy, can the confidentiality of patron records, information, ,and behavior be preserved to the fullest extent permitted by law.
In the event that staff are approached to divulge confidential information, the following steps will be taken:
I. Record name, address, telephone number, and any other appropriate information available on the enquirer.
II. Report the incident immediately to the Library Director. Under no circumstances will staff divulge any confidential information regarding or including;
a. Patron’s name, address, telephone number
b. Library card holding status
c. General information regarding a patron’s library habits including but not restricted to, number of visits, time of visits, number or type of questions asked, Internet usage, etc.
Action taken by the Library Director:
All requests and orders will be reviewed in a timely manner. If necessary, the Director will consult with an attorney and respond in appropriate manner. All requests for the release or disclosure of information will be denied unless the Director has received the named patron’s written consent for said release. (See request form below).
Court Order Release of Library Records:
The Library Director shall comply fully with a court order to release or disclose library records or information. Upon receipt of any process, order or subpoena, the person named and/or served shall immediately report to and consult with the Library Director, Library Board of Trustees and legal counsel to determine if such process, order or subpoena is proper and in full compliance with proper legal authority. If there is a reasonable basis to believe that such records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the American judicial system provides the mechanism for seeking the release of such confidential records. The issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction, will be the only basis on which confident information will be released.