Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought and free association… In a library (physical or virtual) the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others.”*
Arlington Public Library is committed to protecting the privacy of all information about patron requests for service, materials, loan transactions, online sites and resources accessed. To receive a library card, library users are asked to provide the following identifying information: name, address, phone number, email address and birth date. Records that link personally identifiable information to materials borrowed or requested and to websites visited are created and maintained only as long as required for the business of libraries. Library staff do not release such information to individuals or to any private or public agency.
Confidentiality of customer records is protected under state law: Virginia Code § 2.2-3705.7. The Library will comply with all proper judicial process (government order to produce documents or information) authenticated by the County Attorney, while preserving customer confidentiality to the extent allowed by law.
To help protect the privacy of customer information:
- Patrons are encouraged to access information about their own library accounts online.
- Patrons using Library workstations are reminded to log out of their library accounts before leaving the computer.
- Staff will provide information about outstanding transactions or other patron-specific account information only upon request to customers presenting their library card and inquiring about their own account.
- Family members acting at the request of an absent relative may access information about the library account online if they are in possession of the library card of an absent family member.
- Family members may request a list of unpaid fines and currently borrowed materials be sent to the card holder by mail.
- Patrons are encouraged to review the privacy policies of third-party websites and licensed databases linked from the library website.
* An interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Adopted June 19, 2002 by the ALA Council.