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Confidentiality of Library Circulation Records

The Board of Library Trustees of the Marshall Public Library believes that efforts to gain access to library circulation records constitute an invasion of the right of privacy of library patrons, and that if permitted, would do damage to the education and social value of the libraries of this country.

These records are considered to be confidential in nature, and shall not be made available to any individual, or to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures of legislative investigatory power. Procedures expand and modify that policy, but the intent should be kept in mind.

Modifications to strict confidentiality

Electronic Notification System

The electronic notification system calls telephone numbers to notify patrons of materials on hold and overdue materials. Because it calls the number, not the person, and because the message does not identify the library material, we frequently get calls for additional information.

Family members

We have allowed family members to check out materials on hold (but not interlibrary loan materials) for a patron. This does not give the family member access to the circulation records of another.

This is the biggest challenge to confidentiality policy. We expect parents to monitor their child’s library use, if they wish, and also require parents to be legally responsible for materials checked out on a child’s card, yet our policy is not to reveal information about materials checked out on a child’s card, even to a parent, unless the parent has the child’s card or the barcode from a child’s card. If the telephone number can be verified, we will provide information about materials checked out, fines, and other circulation records. However, we do not provide circulation record information when the person who requests the information does not have the required barcode and telephone number. This rule holds even if the parent wants to pay fines for the child.

Approved by the Library Board
September 2012

Marshall Public Library

113 South Garfield Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho  83204
Phone:  208-232-1263
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