Patron Confidentiality Policy

Data Privacy & Confidentiality of Records

Privacy Policy Statement

The Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library respects the right of privacy of all its customers regarding the use of this Library. The Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library is committed to protecting the privacy of its staff, donors, patrons, and other contacts. The Library’s privacy policy is clear: The Library will collect no personal information about you when you visit the library website or register for a program or a library card unless you choose to provide that information. Any information you choose to provide will only be used to provide or improve library services.

This confidentiality extends to information sought or received. Information includes, but is not limited to: materials consulted, borrowed, and acquired; database search records, circulation records, and interlibrary loan records; and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities or services. The Library supports the principle of freedom of inquiry for all its customers, and has adopted this policy to protect against unwarranted invasion of customers’ personal privacy.

The Library secures library account information by placing it on the secure portion of the Library’s website. That is why customers have to enter a unique barcode number each time they want to access their account information.

During your visit as you browse through the web site, read pages, or download information, the Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library will not automatically gather and store information about you or your visit. Northern Waters Library Service may automatically collect and store information about your visit as follows:

1. The Internet domain (for example, "" if a private Internet access account, or "" if connected from a university) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer whenever it is surfing the Web) from which access to our web site is gained;

2. The type of browser and operating system used to access the Library’s site;

3. The date and time of access to the Library’s site;

4. The pages visited and for how long; and

5. The address of the website from which the initial visit to was launched, if any.

Northern Waters Library Service uses this information to help make the library’s site more useful to visitors and to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. The data that is collected is not connected to your personal information or identity.
Links to Other Sites

The Library’s Website contains links to other sites. The Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library is not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites, which may be different from the privacy practices described in this policy. We encourage you to become familiar with privacy practices of other sites you visit, including linked sites.

Customer Circulation Records

The Library does not use a paper process to collect and track customer circulation records. It is done electronically. The Library maintains information provided by our customers from the information they provide when they register for a library card. When an item is checked out, that item is then tied to that customer’s record in the library’s system. After that library material is returned to the library, the link between the customer and the material is broken – the Library’s system does not retain information on what materials were taken out by whom unless it is necessary to contact customers who have returned items that are damaged or missing parts.

The Library’s computer system has a logger file for technical purposes that logs every transaction in the system to ensure that if there is a data corruption or a system problem, the Library can rebuild the data from the logger file. All of that data is purged through the Library’s data processing back up process on a 60-day cycle.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, Northern Waters Library Service uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage.

Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 and 1030. Except for the above purposes, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

Confidentiality of Library Records Policy

The relevant Wisconsin laws concerning the confidentiality of library records are Wisconsin Statutes Section 43.30, Wisconsin Statutes Section 43.40, the Wisconsin Personal Information Practices Act (Sections 19.62 to 19.80), and Assembly Bill 169 which relates to the disclosure of public library records.

Under Section 43.30, library records that indicate the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, resources or services may only be disclosed:

(1)   with the consent of the individual library user

(2)   by court order

(3)   to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library or library system, or

(4)   to other libraries (under certain circumstances) for interlibrary loan purposes [see ss. 43.30(2) and (3)].

Under Section 43.40, upon the request of a custodial parent or guardian of a child under the age of 16, the library will disclose to that custodial parent or guardian all library records relating to the use of the library’s documents or other materials, resources, or services by that child. In accordance with that State law and in order to keep policies consistent for parents of minor children, the library will disclose all library records relating to the use of the library’s documents or other materials, resources, or services by any child under age 18 upon a custodial parent’s request.

Under AB-169, Wisconsin’s Personal Information Practices Act (Sections 19.62 to 19.80) all state and local government organizations (including public libraries) are required to develop procedures to protect the privacy of personal information kept by the organization. Libraries (and all other government organizations) are required to develop rules of conduct for employees involved in collecting, maintaining, using, and providing access to personally identifiable information.

Under AB-169, libraries are also required to ensure that employees handling such records "know their duties and responsibilities relating to protecting personal privacy, including applicable state and federal laws." Therefore, access to The Library’s customer database and circulation records is limited to qualified staff and trained volunteers, who must read and agree (by signature) to follow The Library’s Confidentiality of Library Records Policy and not divulge circulation, registration, information retrieval records, or any other information, including borrowing needs of customers, which may be requested by a third party for whatever reason.

The Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which may be helpful to the investigation of criminal activity. If there is a reasonable basis to believe such records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the American judicial system provides the mechanism for seeking release of such confidential records. Library staff will resist the issuance of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction. Library records will not be made available 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 or legislative investigatory power. The exception to this is for federal agents with an appropriate warrant per Public Law 107-56 “USA Patriot Act.” In such a case, no delay is possible and library staff is prohibited from informing the customer in question.

Records indicating the identity of library users include a library users name, library card number, social security number, telephone number, street address, post-office box number or 9-digit extended zip code.

Records held by the library that include personally identifiable information about library users may also contain information that must be provided to those who request that information, as required by Wisconsin’s public records law. Personally identifiable information about library users must be redacted from any records that are publicly disclosed, except as the records are disclosed under one of the four exceptions provided by Section 43.30 (see above).  

The Library reserves the right to change or modify this privacy statement at any time. If the Library revises this privacy statement, changes will be posted on the Library’s homepage.

Approved and adopted April 19, 2004, Board of Trustees
Adapted from the American Library Association's Privacy Statement
Revised 10/1/2006