Privacy and Confidentiality Policy
The Genesee Area Library has a strong commitment to protect the privacy of patrons, regardless of age, who use our services. The library collects and maintains personally identifiable information about its patrons to provide services. The personal information collected includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License number or alternative state identification number
- Diver’s License number of parent or guardian for minors younger than 17 years
- Names of approved individuals designated to pick up reserves
- Library card number (used for material requests and library account access)
- Materials on reserve or currently checked out to a patron
- Date of birth (used for library card application and some program registrations)
- School grade (used for summer reading program registration)
- Name of school (used for summer reading program registration)
The library protects the privacy of patrons and adheres to the following policies:
- Library staff does not share information collected with other staff members or outside parties except to provide library services or to recover materials, fines and fees, or to verify a patron’s permission to use certain databases.
- Circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials are confidential in nature in accordance with Pennsylvania law (24 Pa Cons. Stat. Sec. 4428). The library record of a minor has the same confidentiality protection under library policy. No records shall be made available to any state, federal, or local government agency, or to any individual not specifically authorized by the Library Director, except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized by under the authority of federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discoveries or legislative investigatory power.
- Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, legal counsel will be consulted to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, the library will object to issuance of any information thereunder.
- Staff will only provide information about specific titles checked out, hold requests, and/or fines and fees to the account holder. Information may NOT be provided to anyone else without a legal court order.
- The record of a minor has the same confidentiality protections. If materials are not overdue, staff may only provide the number of materials checked out to parents or legal guardians. However, a parent or legal guardian can access family members’ account(s) through the public catalog, either at the library or remotely. The parent or legal guardian has the responsibility to maintain the needed information (card number and PIN) to access said account. Adults are free to share their access information as they see fit.
- Hold proxies only have permission to pick up said holds. They do not have permission to access any other account information not related to holds available for pickup.
- If a patron is in possession of anothers library card, that patron may use said card to pick up the cardholders holds and to check out other materials ONLY. The patron may not make changes to the account, nor will they be given any information associated with the account (i.e., fines owed, other items checked out, etc.)
- Someone other than the account holder may pay damaged or lost fees if the item is being returned, or they know the exact amount of the fine(s) or fee(s) owed.
- Library accounts expire every 3 years unless they are updated in person by the account holder with appropriate ID. Expired accounts are marked as “inactive” and can be reactivated by the account holder with appropriate ID. Accounts that have been marked as “inactive” for 5+ years with no items checked out and fines/fees less than $10 will need to register as a new patron.
Use of Library Services:
- The library does not provide, even upon request, documentation for an agency or institution to show that a specific individual has visited the library.
- The library does not provide, even upon request, any information that shows a specific individual has visited or is currently in the library.
- Information collected about patron use of the library’s public computers will not be provided to any person or agency without a legal court order.
- Information collected about individuals registering for library sponsored programs will not be provided to any individual or agency without a legal court order.
- The library never discloses a child’s personal information without written approval from their parent or legal guardian. In accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), we will only ever display a child’s first name, age, and comments on social media.
- To protect the privacy of staff and patrons, generally the library does not permit photos to be taken in its facilities and does not use the names or images of patrons. When names and/or images are used for publicity or other library related usage, patron permissions will be acquired. Patrons are allowed to “opt out” of the images.
- The library uses email addresses to respond to emails received, confirm program registration, and/or to send notices to patrons who have provided an email address. Names and email addresses are not shared with outside parties.
- The library also uses email addresses to alert patrons about new library services and programs. Emails addresses are automatically added during library card registration. Patrons can unsubscribe from this list by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email. Names and email address are not shared with outside parties.
- The library also uses a 3rd party text messaging app called “Remind” to notify patrons about upcoming programs and events that they have signed up for. Upon registering for a program/event and checking “text reminders,” patrons will be sent a text message from “Remind” asking for permission to receive text messages from the library. This can be removed at any time by following the directions provided by “Remind,” or by emailing the library.
- Patrons who wish to be removed from the donation mailing lists may do so by contacting the library by phone, email, or in person.
The Genesee Area Library staff will NOT give out telephone numbers that do not appear in the telephone directory or are easily found with the use of an internet search engine. Staff will refuse to give unlisted numbers or assist in crisscross searches. Staff is only permitted to use the library telephone for library business. Patrons are not permitted to use the library phone for calls. Cell phones are permitted by staff on vibrate only and calls should be taken only when necessary and outside of the building while patrons are present.
Approved: February 21, 2022
Revised: January 16th, 2023