Mason Library at Keene State College protects the privacy of those who use the library. Staff members and student workers shall protect registration information about borrowers, their requests for information and materials, and their loan transactions. New Hampshire law prohibits the library from giving out any information regarding a patron's library account to ANY other person regardless of their status or identity, without a subpoena, search warrant, or court order.
Patron privacy information includes:
All employees of Mason Library, including volunteers and student assistants, are instructed to comply with these guidelines. (see New Hampshire RSA 201-D:11)
Employees MAY do the following:
Information Regarding Privacy Issues from the American Library Association
The Library encourages you to explore the ALA website for more information.
About the USA Patriot Act of 2001
Libraries are facing a dilemma of having the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our patrons while responding to legitimate national security concerns. On October 25, 2001, Congress passed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" (USA PATRIOT) Act. The Act broadly expands law enforcement's surveillance and investigative powers.
For additional information, see the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The USA Patriot Act overrides New Hampshire confidentiality laws protecting library records and the library will comply with it. The Library's policy relating to privacy and confidentiality of information has not changed as a result of the of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Access to patron information under the Act may include, but not be limited to, the following records:
Libraries or librarians served with a search warrant issued under FISA (Foreign Intelligence Security Act) rules may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrant or the fact that records were produced as a result of the warrant. Staff cannot tell a patron that his or her records were given to the FBI or that he or she is the subject of an FBI investigation, nor speak to coworkers, the media, or other government officials about the inquiry. Such requests can be reported to a higher authority within the library and the University System of New Hampshire's General Counsel only.
Definitions and How Mason Library Handles These Items
Database Search Records: These records refer to the searches of the collection a patron may conduct on the Online Public Access Terminals (OPAC). These searches are conducted by utilizing Keene-Link, a joint automated catalog of the holdings of Keene State College’s Mason Library and Keene Public Library. Keene-Link is a product of Innovative Interfaces Inc. The system software retains records of searches, but those searches cannot be connected to any individual.
Circulation Records: Patron material is circulated via the Keene-Link system. The circulation software tracks materials currently checked out, automatically erasing them from a reader's borrowing record once a book is returned and all fines are paid. However, on an item-by-item basis, there is a record of the last patron who checked out that item until that item is circulated to another patron. Also, the system has tape back-ups of daily transactions. These tapes are retained for four to five weeks.
Computer Use Records: The library system is equipped with computers, which access the Internet. The computer keeps a history of searches until it is rebooted. See also Computer Use Policy
Interlibrary Loan Records: Patrons may borrow items not owned by Mason Library from other libraries worldwide via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Patron information is kept in a secure database and is used for the sole purpose of contacting the patron about their interlibrary loan requests. To assure compliance with U.S. copyright laws, transaction records are routinely archived. The library does not maintain paper records of individual ILL transactions.
Reference Interviews: Reference Interviews: A reference interview occurs when a patron looking for information approaches a member of the library staff who then interviews the patron in order to narrow down the specific information needed. No paper record containing patron information is generated during the interview. Paper records of telephone reference queries are discarded as soon as the requested information is delivered. Reference questions are received and answered electronically through email and text-based electronic interactions. Text-based interactions are not retained, but email interactions may remain on KSC’s server for a period of time.
Procedures for Responding to Law Enforcement Requests
Emergency Disclosures of Information: If in the normal course of business, a library staff member observes behavior or receives a communication, which may reasonably be construed to be a threat of imminent danger to life and limb of the general public or the staff, he/she should contact local law enforcement agencies immediately. He/she should then contact the Dean of the Library and his/her supervisor and also fill out an Incident Report.
Portions of the policy were adapted from "Keene Public Library Policy and Procedures in Response to the USA Patriot Act of 2001,"Drafted Nov. 7, 2003; updated: December 2010
229 Main St., Keene, NH 03435-3201 - Circulation: 603-358-2711 - Reference: 603-358-2710
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