Confidentiality of Library Patron Records

/Confidentiality of Library Patron Records
Confidentiality of Library Patron Records2018-10-31T12:03:33-07:00

State Law protects the contents of library patron records.

Under this law, library employees are prohibited from sharing information about what a patron has checked out with anyone else, even parents and spouses.

Under this law, no one outside library staff, can find out what you are reading or viewing without your consent or a court order.

Under this law, we are not permitted to do any of the following:

  • Tell a parent what a child has checked out (even if a fine is owed on that material)
  • Give an item on hold to a husband, wife or parent, even when they have the library card that was used to hold the book
  • Provide access to library records to law enforcement without a search warrant.

As a library patron, you can permit other people to know what you have checked out or to pick up library holds for you, however, you must provide a signed note specifically allowing that person to have access to your library records.

If you like, we can provide you with a copy of the statute (Government Code Title 1, Division 7, Chapter 3.5, Sec. 6267).

Thank you for helping us to conform to this law regarding the privacy of library records.

PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (Protection of Library Records)

(Government Code Title 1, Division 7, Chapter 3.5)

Sec. 6267. Registration and circulation records of libraries supported by public funds.

All patron use records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed by a public agency, or private actor that maintains or stores patron use records on behalf of a public agency, to any person, local agency, or state agency except as follows:

(a) By a person acting within the scope of his or her duties within the administration of the library.

(b) By a person authorized, in writing, by the individual to whom the records pertain, to inspect the records.

(c) By order of the appropriate superior court.

As used in this section, the term “patron use records” includes the following:

(1) Any written or electronic record, that is used to identify the patron, including, but not limited to, a patron’s name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address, that a library patron provides in order to become eligible to borrow or use books and other materials.

(2) Any written record or electronic transaction that identifies a patron’s borrowing information or use of library information resources, including, but not limited to, database search records, borrowing records, class records, and any other personally identifiable uses of library resources information requests, or inquiries.

This section shall not apply to statistical reports of patron use nor to records of fines collected by the library.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 80, Sec. 1. (SB 445) Effective January 1, 2012.)