Confidentiality Policy

Rules governing the library's protection of the privacy of its users

Nevada Public Library Confidentiality Policy

April 20, 2015

Section A: References
The confidentiality policy of the Nevada Public Library is based on the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Code, and professional ethics.

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech...

Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Code of Iowa 22.7 Examination of Public Records (Open Records)

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.

18. Communications not required by law, rule, procedure, or contact that are made to a government body or to any of its employees by identified persons outside of government, to the extent that the government body receiving those communications from such persons outside of government body if they were available for general public examination.

Professional Ethics: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted." (Source: Code of Ethics of the American Library Association)


Section B: Confidentiality Policy

Confidentiality is essential to protect the exercise of First and Fourth Amendment rights. In accordance with First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Code and professional ethics, the Board of Trustees of the Nevada Public Library respects the privacy of users and recognizes its responsibility to protect their privacy.

1. The library will not reveal the identities of individual users nor reveal the information sources or services they consult unless required by law. Confidentiality extends to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired. Confidentiality includes database search records, reference interviews, computer use records, and all other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities or services.

2. All borrowers regardless of age are treated equally. Parents may be told how many items are checked out to their minor children and when they are due, but may not be told the titles of the items. This information may only be released to the person who has borrowed the items.

3. The library will hold confidential the names of cardholders and their registration information and not provide access for private, public or commercial use.

4. The lawful custodian of the records is the Director of the Library.

5. The library will not release registration, circulation or other records protected under the Iowa Code unless it is required by law to release the information. Circumstances which may require the library to release the information include the following:
A. A criminal or juvenile justice agency is seeking the information of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime AND the criminal or juvenile justice agency presents the library Director with a court order demonstrating that there has been a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end, and the need for the information is cogent and compelling.

B. The library receives a warrant for the information issued under the USA Patriot Act (which includes amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act).
C. The library receives a National Security Letter seeking the information pursuant to the USA Patriot Act.
D. The library receives a valid court order requiring the library to release registration, circulation or other records protected under the Iowa Code and the information is not sought in conjunction with a criminal or juvenile justice investigation.
E. See Staff Directive portion of this document for procedures and samples of warrants, subpoenas, Patriot Act warrants and National Security Letter, etc.