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Southworth Library

Library Privacy

User Privacy in Southworth Library

The privacy of all users of Southworth Library shall be respected in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards. The Library will not reveal the identities of individual users or reveal what information sources or services they consult. This policy applies to all resources regardless of their format or means of delivery as well as to all services offered by the Library.

To aid understanding of the use or value of resources and services the Library may aggregate and retain user data for a reasonable period of time. It will, however, neither collect nor retain information identifying individuals except during the period when and only for the purpose that such record is necessary to furnish a specific service (for example, loaning a book, ordering a report, recording user service preferences, or for internal service evaluation). Data on individuals will not be shared with third parties unless if required by law.

For examples of how privacy standards apply to specific services or programs, please refer to the Practice Guidelines that follow.

Circulation: the Library will not reveal the names of individual borrowers nor reveal what books are, or have been, charged to any individual.

Collection Development and Resource Management: comments, purchase recommendations, gifts-in-kind, and special requests from patrons make an important contribution in building and shaping the Library's collections. Purchase, transfer, and related collection management requests linked to individual users -- or even group of users (e.g., the Humanities Department) -- are deemed confidential reader information and not shared outside the Library. Within the Library, usernames are temporarily attached to internal records and shared among relevant staff to facilitate notification of Library actions and follow-through.

Contracts and Licenses for Information Resources: consistent with user privacy the Library expects its information service providers to follow the same standards in the performance of the products they license, lease or sell to the Library. Contracts, licenses, agreements and arrangements that the Library enters shall accordingly and as the standard practice protect the identity of individual users and the information they use.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery: requestors of interlibrary loan and document delivery services receive the same protection in terms of confidentiality of their requests. In some cases, information about requests is shared with other library staff for collection development purposes; it remains confidential within the Library. Documentation of requests may be retained as necessary for the Library to comply with auditing, copyright or other regulations.

Library Surveys/Assessment Projects: information and data obtained by the Library or its units through surveys (group or individual interviews or other means) in support of assessment of services, collections, facilities, resources, etc., or in support of research related to library and information services, are considered confidential and will not be shared except in aggregations, to protect the privacy of individual participants.

Public Access Digital Systems: the Library's access systems (e.g., ROOsearch, the Library's website, and discovery tools like EBSCO Discovery Service maintained by the Library) frequently track or "log" the actions performed by users of those systems. Information from transaction logs may be aggregated for reporting on types of use and use of materials. For this purpose, information regarding individual identities or the source of the transaction will not be collected.