Confidentiality of library use is essential to ensure citizens’ freedom to access information. The purpose of this policy is to safeguard the privacy of those who use ImagineIF Libraries. The topics covered in this policy include, but are not limited to, library card registration data, circulation records, library visits and/or any data that contains information that links a specific customer to specific materials or services used.
Information Collected by ImagineIF Libraries
Individuals may choose to share personal information, such as names, email addresses, postal addresses and telephone numbers in order to receive certain library services, such as registering for library cards, accessing Montana Shared Catalog Partners Resource Sharing Group materials or interlibrary loans, or receiving personal responses to questions.
Information about individuals’ borrowing history, computer use or other library use will not be kept by ImagineIF, except as necessary for the library to function. Once borrowing transactions are complete, information linking individuals and items is automatically expunged except for the purposes of fines and/or materials collection. ImagineIF does not track individuals’ internet use or electronic resources accessed. Aggregate statistics about library programming, computer use, materials circulation and other services are collected and reviewed in order to improve and expand library services; these statistics do not contain personally identifying information.
Access to Library Accounts by Individuals
Each customer has individual control over his or her library card, and presentation of the card or card number permits the holder access to information about the borrower’s current circulation record. In order to ensure confidentiality, lost or stolen cards should be reported to ImagineIF Libraries immediately. Information about a borrower’s circulation record also may be released to the borrower, in person, upon presentation of photo ID and verification of date of birth.
If a library cardholder is under the age of 18, the caregiver who signed for the child’s card may be given specific information regarding the child’s record under the following circumstances:
- If the caregiver is in possession of the child’s card, they may be given any information in the child’s record.
- If the child’s card is not present, information will be provided to the caregiver listed on the library account upon presentation of photo identification, and will be limited to materials that are overdue, lost or damaged, or related to fines owed.
In compliance with the Montana Records Confidentiality Act (MCA 22-1-1101, 1103-1111), no information will be released to any person, agency or organization except in response to a valid court order or subpoena, properly presented to a library administrator, or in the recovery of library materials and fines. Any employee or volunteer who discloses information in violation of this policy commits an offense and may be subject to criminal prosecution. The intent of the law is not to withhold information, obstruct just or protect criminals, but to ensure that a citizen’s right to privacy is not violated.
Third-Party Access to Library Records
ImagineIF Libraries partner with some third-party vendors to provide additional library services, such as database access and downloadable media. Customers who choose to use these services are encouraged to learn about the privacy policies of those service providers. In all cases, ImagineIF seeks reputable and responsible partners, and restricts access to personally identifiable information by third parties, but the individual privacy policies of these partners vary. ImagineIF is not responsible for protecting personal information garnered by outside websites.
ImagineIF Libraries may use third-party agencies to recover materials from borrowers.
Activities Prohibited and Not Protected
This policy does not prevent the library from exercising its rights to enforce the library Customer Conduct policy; to protect its facilities, computer network and equipment from harm; or to prevent the use of library facilities and equipment for illegal purposes. Additional information may be collected on an individual basis to ensure the proper functioning of the library. In these cases, information will be kept confidential unless ImagineIF finds it necessary to take legal action.
Heidi Roedel, Chair
Library Board of Trustees