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Policy Manual - II. Confidentiality of Library Records

II. Confidentiality of Library Records (approved July 2003)

Confidentiality of library records is a basic principle of librarianship. Upholding this principle, the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Board seeks to protect the Library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.

Currently, forty eight (48) states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting the confidentiality of library records, and the Attorneys General of the remaining two states, Hawaii and Kentucky, have ruled that library records are confidential and may not be disclosed under the laws governing open records.

Increased visits to libraries by law enforcement agents, including FBI agents and officers of state, county, and municipal police departments, are raising concern among the public and library community. These visits are not only a result of the increased surveillance and investigation prompted by the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent passage of the USA Patriot Act, but also as a result of law enforcement officers investigating computer crimes, including e-mail threats and possible violations of the laws addressing online obscenity and child pornography.

Therefore, utilizing the authority of Idaho Library Laws 9-340E (3 and 4) which lists libraries among the exemptions from public records disclosure, the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, in support of civil liberties, will not maintain lists of patron’s returned materials. In addition, notices will be posted in the Library notifying patrons that FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS LIBRARIANS FROM INFORMING YOU IF RECORDS ABOUT YOU HAVE BEEN OBTAINED BY FEDERAL AGENTS.

The FBI or other Law Enforcement agencies will then only be able to view books and other materials currently checked out from the Library.