Policy for Responding to Third Party and Law Enforcement Requests for Library Records and User Information
Adopted December 17, 2007, reviewed 12/16/08, reviewed 12/21/09, 2/21/11, 12/16/11, 12/17/12, amended 12/16/13, 2/16/15, reviewed 12/19/16, 12/18/17, 12/17/18, 12/16/19, 12/20/21, 12/19/22
Librarians’ professional ethics require that personally identifiable information about library users be kept confidential. This principle is reflected in Article III of the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association, which states that “[librarians] protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.”
Indiana law protects the confidentiality of library records (IC 5-14-3). The library has adopted an Access to Library Public Records Policy that clarifies the types of records that are excepted from public disclosure. Please see this policy for more information.
Confidential library records shall not be made available to any third party nor any law enforcement agency of a local, state, or federal government except when a court order in proper form, issued by a court of competent jurisdiction after a showing of good cause, is presented to the library by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the records. The following types of information are examples of confidential library records that might be involved in or requested in an investigation:
A list of Internet users.
A list of patrons.
A list of items checked out by a patron.
Confiscation of Internet computers.
In order to protect the confidentiality of library users, the library will avoid creating unnecessary records. The only records retained will be those that are needed for efficient operation of the library. Indiana laws regarding record retention schedules will be followed, but records will be destroyed or archived regularly according to that schedule.
The legal custodian of records for the Delphi Public Library is the library director. The library director is the person responsible for handling any requests for library records or information about a library user. The library director may designate one or more library employees to serve as persons responsible for responding to any request for library records or information about a library user when the library director is absent or unavailable. All library staff should understand that it is lawful to refer a law enforcement officer or agent to an administrator in charge of the library, and that the staff members are not required to respond immediately to any request. No library employee or volunteer may release library records or reveal information about a library patron to any third party or law enforcement agent unless authorized to do so by the library director, the library director’s designated alternate, or the library’s legal counsel. In all circumstances, without exception, employees and volunteers shall follow the procedures set forth in the Delphi Public Library document, Guidelines for Responding to Law Enforcement Requests for Library Records and User Information.
The library director and the Delphi Public Library board are jointly responsible for ensuring that every library employee and volunteer is provided with a copy of this policy and the accompanying guidelines and ensuring that every employee and volunteer participate in a training program on their implementation at least annually.