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Confidentiality at the Reference desk. Boston Public Library.

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  • Confidentiality at the Reference desk. Boston Public Library.

    Q: If I email the library with a reference question will it be kept
    confidential?

    A: Yes, it is part of an intellectual pursuit which is protected by
    Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7.


    Q: If I email the library with a suggestion about your services will it be
    kept confidential?

    A: No, as it is not part of an intellectual pursuit it is a matter of
    public record according to
    Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10.


    Q: If I email the library with a request for an administrative operations
    document will it be kept confidential?

    A: No.


    Q: If I email the library will you give my address to outside parties?

    A: No, all personal information is for internal use only.

    We may use your email address for notices and library promotions.



    Boston Public Library
    BPL
    [ logo http://www.bpl.org/graphics/logo-home.gif ]
    Copley Square
    700 Boylston Street Boston Massachusetts 02116 617.536.5400 www.bpl.org


    September 12, 2003

    Bernie Margolis and I wanted to share this draft document with you at the same
    time that it is being made live for staff and public review and comment.

    Please let us know if you have suggestions for consideration by the staff
    who have been working on the preparation of the Policy.

    Sincerely yours
    Ruth E. Kowal Director of Operations

    Books are just the beginning.
    [ tag line http://www.bpl.org/news/campaign.htm ]



    Draft 9//9/2003

    Draft policy note: items in red will be live links on the web version

    The Boston Public Library is committed to user confidentiality.

    The confidentiality of library records is a core part of library ethics and
    the Boston Public Library follows the Code of Ethics of the American Library
    Association
    [ http://www.ala.org/Content/Navigatio..._of_Ethics.htm ]



    Confidentiality and your library record

    Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 7
    "That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and
    intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public
    record..."

    Confidentiality extends to
    information sought
    or received, and
    materials consulted,
    borrowed
    and includes database search records,
    reference interviews,
    circulation records,
    interlibrary loan transactions,
    registration records
    and all other personally identifiable uses
    of library materials,
    facilities,
    or services.


    Circulation,
    registration information
    and information retrieval records
    may not be disclosed except to:

    1. The card holder with card or other proper id.
    Note:
    This is regardless of age or relationship.
    For example, parents cannot be told what materials a child has checked
    out without the child's consent.

    2. Staff of MetroBoston Library Network members acting within the scope of
    their duties in the administration of the library system and in
    facilitating interlibrary loans.

    3. Persons authorized by the card holder to access the individual's records
    identified by a signed note of permission given by the card holder.

    4. Representatives of any local, state or federal government, pursuant to
    subpoena or search warrant authorized under the authority of federal,
    state or local law relating to civil, criminal or investigative power.

    Upon receipt of any such subpoena or search warrant,
    the Library President will consult with legal counsel to determine
    if the subpoena or search warrant is in proper form and if there is a
    valid basis for its issuance before providing confidential information.


    We occasionally conduct promotional campaigns to inform the community of our
    services.

    We may at those times use your email or postal address for
    our internal mailing lists.


    We do not sell,
    lease
    or otherwise distribute or disclose your name,
    email address,
    postal address,
    telephone number
    or other personal information to outside parties.


    FAQ's Frequently asked questions

    Q: Can my spouse/friend/neighbor/family member pick up
    my reserve materials for me?

    A: Yes, if you have given them permission to use your card with a note
    signed by you.


    Q: Can you tell me what items are out or overdue on the card of my child?

    A: No, but we will be happy to mail a list of those items
    to the card holder.


    Q: If I forget my library card, can I still pick up my reserved book?

    A: Yes, if you bring in some other form of identification.


    Q: Last week I requested three books for my son. We used his card, I think,
    but I stopped by today and all I have is my card. Can I pick up his books?

    A: No, the books must be picked up using the card under which they
    were reserved.


    Q: The email address in my library card record is not right, but I can't
    remember what our email address is. Could you check my husband's card
    and tell me what it is?

    A: We are sorry, but the information in his patron record is confidential.


    Q: How does the Patriot Act affect my privacy?

    A: Representatives of any local, state or federal government with a
    valid subpoena or search warrant may obtain your records.

    With the Patriot Act there are additional restrictions on the library
    which prohibit library workers from informing your or any other entity
    that the federal agents have obtained records about you.


    Q: If I email the library with a reference question will it be kept
    confidential?

    A: Yes, it is part of an intellectual pursuit which is protected by
    Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7.


    Q: If I email the library with a suggestion about your services will it be
    kept confidential?

    A: No, as it is not part of an intellectual pursuit it is a matter of
    public record according to
    Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10.


    Q: If I email the library with a request for an administrative operations
    document will it be kept confidential?

    A: No.


    Q: If I email the library will you give my address to outside parties?

    A: No, all personal information is for internal use only.

    We may use your email address for notices and library promotions.


    Q: How does the library contact me with information about my account?

    A: The library will notify you of hold an overdue material in
    one of three ways:
    by phone
    by email or
    by mail.

    You may specify which method to use.
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