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Patron Privacy and Confidentiality
Patron privacy is very important to the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library. The Library strives to create an environment that is:
  • A safe and crime free place
  • A place for learning and pursuit of knowledge and information on any topic
  • A place where patrons can ask any question and discuss any topic
To protect patron privacy, we support and enforce the laws of Wisconsin, which require that Library records are kept confidential. Wis. State Statute 43.30 requires that Library records may only be disclosed:
(1) with the consent of the individual library user
(2) to a parent or legal guardian of a juvenile under 16 years of age
(3) by court order
(4) to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the Library or library system,
(5) to other libraries (under certain circumstances) for interlibrary loan purposes
The Irvin L. Young Memorial Library also supports the efforts of our government to protect the country and its people. As a public library, we face the dilemma of having the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our patrons while responding to legitimate safety and security concerns. The Library will rely on existing laws and Library policies to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior. It should be noted that in matters of national security, federal law (specifically the Patriot Act) can supersede state law.
About the USA Patriot Act of 2001
HR-3162 became Public Law 107-56 in response to the events of 9/11/01. The full title of the law is: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.The Act may provide law enforcement broader boundaries when investigating information accessed and transmitted by patrons with regards to national security concerns. Access to patron information may include but not be limited to:
  • Catalog Search Records
  • Circulation Records
  • Computer Use Records
  • Irvin L. Young Memorial Library Meeting Rooms Use Records
  • Interlibrary Loans & Holds Records
  • Reference Interviews
Catalog Search Records: These records refer to the searches of the collection a patron may conduct on the computer catalog. Once a search is conducted, the software does not retain a copy of the search on Library computers. Records of the search may exist on the servers, and the Library's software vendor could be requested to provide information to law enforcement officials without the knowledge of Irvin L. Young Memorial Library staff or individual Library patrons.
Circulation Records: Material is circulated via Library circulation software. The circulation software tracks materials currently checked out, automatically erasing a reader's borrowing record once a book is returned and all fines are paid. It is not possible to look up a patron's card number and find out what they borrowed in the past unless there was a problem associated with the circulation of that item. If there was a problem associated with the item, information may be stored in the patron's circulation history. It is possible to look up the record for a specific item and obtain limited information about a patron (specifically, who last borrowed the item and whether a fine was paid.) However, there is no direct link between a patron and an item, once the item has been returned without a problem.
Computer Use Records: The Library provides public access to the Internet. Patrons provide their library card number and PIN when reserving or using computers. The user history is cleared every day in the Library’s time and print management software.  The history of patrons' Internet research and activity is erased automatically every 20 days from the individual public computers.
Irvin L. Young Memorial Library Meeting Rooms Use Records: The Library requests patrons to sign in prior to using the Community Room and the White Memorial Room as a means of scheduling access to the rooms. The sign-up sheets are destroyed at the end of two years.
Interlibrary Loan & Holds Records: Patrons may borrow items not owned by the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library via interlibrary loan. The Library generates a record that includes patron information in order to initiate this borrowing. Once the materials are returned and all appropriate fines and/or fees are paid, the record is archived for 3 months and then removed from the system.
Reference Interviews: A reference interview occurs when a patron looking for information is interviewed or questioned by a Library staff member in order to narrow down the specific information needed. If a patron name and number is taken by phone and patron information is written down, the paper record is destroyed after one year.
Procedures for Complying with Law Enforcement
The Irvin L. Young Memorial Library staff will comply with law enforcement when supplied with a legal subpoena or search warrant.
Staff Procedures:
  • If anyone approaches staff alleging to be a law enforcement official requesting information, s/he will immediately contact the Director. (In the Director's absence, staff will contact the Assistant Director. In the event that neither can be reached, the highest ranking person on duty is responsible for working with the requestor.) Staff should not disclose any information to law enforcement personnel. The Director or her/his representative will ask to see official identification and will photocopy the ID.
  • If the law enforcement official presents a subpoena, the Library Director or her/his representative will contact the city attorney for advice on how best to proceed. It is desirable for legal counsel to be present when the subpoena is executed. In the event that the city attorney is not available, the legal counsel for the American Library Association will be contacted.
  • If the law enforcement official presents a search warrant, it is executable immediately. The Library Director or her/his representative will notify the city attorney and will attempt to have legal counsel present during the search to be sure that the search conforms to the terms of the warrant. If time does not allow for this, the search must be allowed to proceed. The Library Director or her/his representative will cooperate with the search to ensure that only the records identified in the warrant are produced and that no other users' records are viewed or scanned. Library staff should not interfere with the search and/or seizure of Library property.
  • The Library Director or her/his representative will inventory any items removed from the Library as a result of the search warrant.
  • The Library will keep a record of all legal requests.
  • The Library will keep a record of all costs incurred by any search and/or seizures, including time spent by Library staff assisting in the search or the inventorying of items.
  • If the court order is a search warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (USA Patriot Act amendment), the warrant also contains a "gag order" which means that no person or institution served with the warrant can disclose that the warrant has been served or that records have been produced pursuant to the warrant except to “any person to whom disclosure is necessary to comply with such order.” It also explicitly allows a recipient to consult an attorney and to obtain legal advice or assistance "with respect to the production of things in response to the order;” and also allows disclosure to “other persons as permitted” by the Director of the FBI or the Director’s designee. The Library and its staff must comply with this order. No information can be disclosed to any other party except legal counsel; including the patron whose records are the subject of the search warrant.
Emergency Disclosures of Communication
If in the normal course of business, the Library staff observes what could reasonably be construed as a threat of imminent danger to life, the highest ranking person on duty is to contact law enforcement immediately. She/he should then immediately contact the Library Director.

Approved 7/04||7/07||rev. 8/10||rev. 4/14