Lending Use Policies
This Lending and Use Code defines the privileges and responsibilities of persons who borrow or use materials from the University of Texas Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin.
2. Availability of Resources
It is the responsibility of the Libraries to make resources readily available for loan and library use to the greatest number of users.
Ordinarily at most circulation desks there is no limit on the number of items a borrower may check out. However, for some materials, such as those on reserve or in special collections, limitations may be placed.
3. Eligibility and Identification
For a list of categories of persons eligible to use or borrow library materials, see Categories of Library Users. Those who are eligible to borrow materials must present an appropriate ID or library card. In the interest of academic fairness, if borrower's primary role at The University of Texas at Austin is a student role, the student status takes priority over other valid statuses. Borrowers who are eligible for an official University ID card are not eligible for a University of Texas Libraries Courtesy/Special Borrower card, even if they are also participants in reciprocal lending programs which grant them another status.
Anyone may use materials from the open shelves within the library. Materials are lent only to borrowers who present valid (current) University of Texas at Austin identification cards or University of Texas Libraries borrower cards. Library use privileges for limited circulation and closed stack materials may be granted if authorized by appropriate staff.
4. User and Borrower Responsibility
- Users and borrowers are expected to treat library materials and equipment in a responsible manner which will help to preserve them and to ensure availability for other users.
- Borrowers are responsible for returning materials by the date/time due. If no due time is specified, materials are due before the circulation desk closes on the due or recall due date. The responsibility ends when the materials are checked in at an appropriate location. Restrictions are posted at individual book returns. Return receipts are issued upon request. If an item is recalled, it will be due on the date stated on the recall notice.
- Borrowers are responsible for maintaining with the University and the Libraries current email and postal mailing address information.
5. Release of a Borrower's Name
The Libraries may not release the names or the identification numbers of users or borrowers who are using or have used library materials or services. The Texas Public Information Act exempts library records from open government provisions of Texas law and specifically prohibits the release of protected information. (See Appendix_3 of this Lending and Use Code.)
Most materials may be renewed if not needed by another borrower. Some materials may not be renewed. Limited circulation, reserve, most audiovisual, and specially designated materials may be renewed only at the circulation desk from which they were checked out.
Other general collection materials are renewable upon presentation at any automated circulation unit of the University of Texas Libraries. Alternatively, by logging in to My Library Account through the Library Catalog, borrowers may at any time renew general collection materials which have been checked out for a seven-day or longer loan period. Renewal by telephone is not available.
Borrowers are encouraged to take advantage of online renewal, which offers more convenience than in-person presentation of materials at a circulation desk. However, a borrower's responsibility for timely renewal includes a level of planning and awareness which anticipates that the desired method of renewal may be inaccessible. For example, computer downtime or telecommunications problems which prevent the use of online renewal do not relieve the borrower of the responsibility to renew library materials on time to avoid overdue charges.
7. Holds and Recalls
- Recalls. Any user may request the library to obtain for him or her materials checked out to another borrower. Any borrower may keep recalled materials for fourteen days from the original check-out date. However, materials recalled for reserve use are due immediately. When a recalled item is returned, the requestor is notified and the item is held for the requestor for eight days. Limited circulation items are not eligible for recall.
- Holds. Any user may request the library to hold currently checked-out materials when they are returned, or to retrieve currently available Fine Arts AV material, or available items in Library Storage or at the Collections Deposit Library, and send these items to the designated library for pickup. The due date of a checked out item does not change when a hold is placed. When the item is returned and/or ready for pickup, the requestor is notified, and the item is held for the requestor for eight days. Most limited circulation items are not eligible for hold.
Library staff will use the most appropriate procedure for obtaining material for a requestor. Requests placed by borrowers through the Library Catalog will be processed as recalls whenever possible.
Any library borrower should be aware that an item may be recalled from at any time, and that failure to return the item by the recall due date will result in a block on checkout privileges.
Any user may request the library to locate an item which is not on the shelf or currently checked out. The requestor is notified of the results of the search. Items from the general collection are held for the requestor for eight days. Items which circulate for library use or other short loan periods are not held, but the requestor is notified that they have been located.
9. Definition of Loan Periods
Materials are due on the date or at the time indicated on the date due slip, as stated when borrowed, or as noted on the online renewal screen in My Library Account. The materials must be checked in by that date/time to avoid a fine. When a specific time due is not indicated, materials are due by the closing time of the circulation desk. In most libraries the circulation desk closes fifteen minutes before the library closes. In these units materials returned after the posted closing time of the circulation desk may be checked in the next day the library is open and may incur fines. Materials returned to a book return must be checked in at an appropriate location by the due date/time to avoid a fine. Book returns are cleared on a regular basis, daily or as posted. Restrictions are posted at individual book returns.
The following loan periods are available to borrowers:
Due on the end of semester due date. Approximately a month before that day, the due date is changed to the next semester loan due date. A summer semester loan extends over both summer school sessions.
Due twenty-eight days from the date checked out. If the circulation desk is closed on the twenty-eighth day, due the next day the circulation desk is open following the twenty-eighth day.
Due fourteen days from the date checked out. If the circulation desk is closed on the fourteenth day, due the next day the circulation desk is open following the fourteenth day.
Due seven days from the date checked out. If the circulation desk is closed on the seventh day, due the next day the circulation desk is open following the seventh day.
Due three days from the date checked out. If the circulation desk is closed on the third day, due the next day the circulation desk is open following the third day.
Due twenty-four hours after checkout. If the cirulation desk is closed twenty-four hours after checkout, due one hour after the circulation desk opens.
Due two hours from the time checked and may be checked out for overnight use if closing time intervenes before the two hours are up. Two-hour items checked out overnight are due one hour after after opening on the next day the circulation desk is open. Library-Use only items, if checked out on Two-Hour loan less than two hours before desk closing, are due by the time the desk closes.
Restricted to use within the library. Library-use materials are due at the desk from which they were checked out before the desk closes. Exact due times are set by library staff.
Due on the end of semester due date. Approximately a month before that day, the due date is changed to the next semester loan due date. A summer semester loan extends over both summer school sessions. The item is checked out to the carrel rather than to the individual to whom the carrel is assigned. It must remain in the assigned carrel with the carrel flag visible. The checkout transaction to a carrel becomes invalid if the carrel assignment is not made for the corresponding semester.
10. General Policies Governing Loan Periods for Types of Materials
University of Texas at Austin borrowers:
- Twenty-Eight-Day loan to Undergraduate Students
- Semester loan to Graduate Students and Employees
Non-University of Texas at Austin borrowers:
- Twenty-Eight-Day loan to Courtesy Borrowers, including Graduate and Undergraduate Students from other institutions
- Semester loan to Special Borrowers from other institutions
Loan periods for bound and unbound periodicals vary by library, but generally are Two-Hour or 3-Day: some libraries restrict periodicals to Library-Use. Borrowers with special needs may request a longer loan period, which may be granted at the branch level.
Rare book and manuscript materials:
Two-Hour, Twenty-four Hour, or Three-Day loan. Some reserve materials may be Library-Use.
Microforms; Maps; Audio-visual materials; Vertical file materials; Software; Equipment:
Loan period (as defined in section 9 above) determined by library depending on type of materials.
Special collections may have limited loan periods as determined by the library. For example:
New Books Collection (PCL):
11. Notification to Borrower of Overdue Material
Materials are due on the date or at the time indicated on the date due slip or checkout receipt, as stated when borrowed, or as noted on the online renewal screen in My Library Account. If an item is recalled, the new due date is shown on the recall notice, and the item must be returned no later than that date. The library is not responsible for notifying borrowers that materials are overdue but does send reminders and overdue notices as a courtesy. Failure to receive a reminder or overdue notice does not excuse the borrower from the responsibility of renewing or returning items by the due date and time.
12. Library Fines, Fees, and Item Costs
Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, and Courtesy Borrowers are assessed fines for late return of materials. Fines are assessed according to Appendix 1 to this Lending Code, entitled Fine and Fee Schedule, for each day of the year that a library is open.
A borrower is assessed a fine as of the time the item is checked in. A borrower who is billed for an overdue item is not charged an overdue fine, but if the item is later returned the borrower will be charged the overdue fine or billing service fee, whichever is greater.
1. Processing Fees
A processing fee is asssessed when an item is billed as overdue, or declared by the borrower to be lost. The processing fee covers the costs of updating records, and, if necessary, aquiring and cataloging a replacement.
2. Billing Service Fees
A billing service fee is assessed when an item is billed as overdue. The billing service fee covers costs of searching shelves, sending notices and bill, and updating records. It is not canceled if the item is later returned.
3. Damaged Material Fees
A damaged material fee is assessed for the repair or replacement of material damaged while in use by or checked out to the user or borrower.
c. Item costs
A borrower is assessed an item cost when an item is billed as overdue or declared by the borrower to be lost. The cost assessed is either the current replacement cost or a default cost based on the average item cost of the subject area as determined by the appropriate bibliographer. Changes in default item costs are reviewed and recommended by Research Services Division staff and implemented after library, University, and Regental approval.
An item cost may be cancelled or refunded if a billed item is returned. Instead of the item cost, a replacement copy of the item may be accepted if provided by the borrower. The library reserves the right to determine whether a replacement is acceptable.
A billed item which is returned after its records have been withdrawn must be forwarded to the appropriate bibliographer in order to be considered for reinstatement, in accordance with Policy Memoranda Nos. 18 (Withdrawal Policy) and 20 (Reinstatement Policy). If the item is reinstated, the item cost will be canceled or refunded to the borrower. If the item is not reinstated, or if the transaction is so old that the Office of Accounting no longer maintains an online record of the bill or payment, the item cost will not be canceled or refunded. In this case the borrower remains responsible for the item cost if it has not yet been paid.
A sign listing library fines and fees is posted in each library.
13. Abuse of Library Privileges or Materials
Library privileges may be suspended for borrowers and users who fail to abide by the provisions of this Code or who have unpaid library assessments. Procedures for suspension of library privileges are described in Appendix 2 to this Code, entitled Billing Procedures.
Failure to return an item that has been recalled may also result in suspension of library checkout privileges.
The library may refer cases of irresponsible use of library materials or equipment to the appropriate administrative or legal authorities for sanctions. Irresponsible use includes, but is not limited to:
- allowing water, food, or other substances to damage items,
- alteration, disbinding, or mutilation of materials or files,
- deliberate misplacement within the library,
- deliberately keeping materials known to be needed by others in order to gain an unfair academic advantage,
14. Borrower Right to Appeal
Borrowers have the right to appeal library assessments or the suspension of library privileges as described in Appendix 2 to this Code, entitled Billing Procedures. Initial inquiries concerning an assessment or the suspension of privileges should be made at the circulation desk which initiated the assessment in question.
15. Categories of Library Users
In terms of library checkout privileges, for users with multiple statuses, University of Texas at Austin status takes priority over non-University of Texas at Austin status, and if a user's primary role at the University is a student role, then student status takes priority over faculty or staff status.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN BORROWERS
University of Texas at Austin Students
- Undergraduate or special students - Twenty-Eight-Day loan
- Graduate Students - Semester loan
University of Texas at Austin Employees
These borrowers may check out general collection materials on Semester loan:
- Current and retired faculty *
- Current and retired administrative and professional staff *
- Formally appointed Visiting Scholars *
- Current and retired classified staff
NON-UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN BORROWERS
These borrowers may check out general collection materials on Semester loan:
- University of Texas Regents *
- University of Texas System administrative and professional staff *
- Other University of Texas System component institution faculty and professional staff
- Other faculty and staff of institutions with which the University of Texas Libraries has established lending agreements
*These categories of borrowers are eligible for the Proxy Borrower privilege. An eligible Borrower may arrange to have a Proxy Borrower check out materials for use by the sponsoring Borrower. Information on the Proxy Borrower privilege is available in a separate publication at circulation desks and online on the printable Proxy Borrower application form.
These borrowers may check out general collection materials on Twenty-Eight Day loan:
- Adult Texas residents not included elsewhere
- University of Texas at Austin institute or workshop participants
- University of Texas at Austin Extension Division students
- University of Texas at Austin Austin Ex-Students' Association members
- Spouses or domestic partners of University of Texas at Austin faculty, administrative, professional and full-time classified staff (if not enrolled as students)
- University of Texas at Austin non-student temporary staff (appointed for less than 20 hours per week or less than 4 1/2 months)
- Students at other Texas institutions of higher education, patrons of libraries and members of groups, businesses, agencies, organizations, etc. with which the Libraries has lending agreements
Members of the general public not included in the categories noted above may use materials from the open shelves within the library.
LENDING AND USE CODE -- APPENDIX 1: CHARGES FOR OVERDUE AND LOST MATERIAL
June 2007(World Wide Web Version)
A. Overdue Charges
All charges are per item per transaction.
1. Two-Hour, Twenty-Four Hour and Library-Use charges:
$3.00 per hour or fraction thereof per item
$36.00 maximum fine per item
$6.00 per day or fraction thereof per item
$36.00 maximum fine per item
3. Seven-Day charges:
$1.00 per day or fraction thereof per item
$35.00 maximum fine per item
4. Fourteen-Day, Twenty-Eight-Day and Semester Loan charges:
$.60 per day or fraction thereof per item
$21.00 maximum fine per item
5. Materials recalled for Reserve or for the use of another borrower:
$1.00 per day or fraction thereof per item beginning with the first overdue day after the recall due date.
$35.00 maximum fine per item even if the item is already overdue when recalled.
Note: Faculty, Staff, and Special Borrowers are not assessed fines, but they are assessed damaged material and replacement charges.
B. Damaged Material Charges
Except in very unusual cases, the schedule below should be used to determine fees.
a. printed material which can be repaired without rebinding
b. equipment (including laptops)
Cost determined by appropriate library staff
printed material which can be repaired only by rebinding
a. charge for printed material too badly damaged to be repaired or rebound
b. equipment (including laptops)
Cost determined by appropriate library staff
C. Replacement Charges
A user or borrower is assessed replacement charges when an item is damaged beyond repair, when an item is declared lost by the borrower, or when an item is billed as overdue by the library. Items are billed as overdue if they have not been renewed or returned within a specified time after the due date, depending on the loan period.
The replacement charge represents the cost to the library when an item is billed or lost, including the cost of purchasing and processing a replacement where applicable. The charge may include the following:
$25.00 processing fee
$25.00 billing service fee
+ replacement cost of item* and $25.00 binding fee if applicable
* The cost assessed for lost items is in most cases a default amount representing the average cost of items in a particular library or collection. Appendix 4: Default Item Costs provides specific information about the cost of replacing library materials. If there is a question as to the default cost assigned to a specific item, library staff may change the assigned cost to reflect the actual cost of the item, as determined from available sources of cost information. The cost assessed for lost equipment, including laptops and peripherals, is the actual market cost, at the time of loss, of replacing the lost item with identical or comparable equipment.
LENDING AND USE CODE -- APPENDIX 2: BILLING PROCEDURES
I. Billing and Payment
Borrowers receive statements of library charges or bills by e-mail. If there is no e-mail address in the borrower's record, the bill is sent by postal mail. Failure to receive the statement of charges or bill does not excuse the borrower from paying the bill. Outstanding charges are viewable in My Library Account through the library catalog. Charges are due within 30 days of the billing date.
Library charges are transferred by batch processing to the University's Office of Accounting and are not payable until they appear in Office of Accounting What I Owe records.
Borrowers may pay bills online and by mail or in person at the Office of Accounting. Courtesy borrowers may also pay library bills directly to the library. Students, faculty, staff and special borrowers may not pay library bills at the library. For more detail, see Paying Library Bills.
II. Penalties for Non-Payment of Charges
Unpaid overdue charges trigger a University financial bar. A financial bar prevents students from registering, receiving a diploma or obtaining an official transcript. Other borrowers may have their checkout privileges blocked.
A. University of Texas at Austin Students, Faculty, and Staff,
and Non-University of Texas at Austin Special Borrowers (Codes 3,4,5,6,7,8)
A borrower who questions a library charge should try to resolve the problem with the Circulation Desk Supervisor in the library where the charge was incurred. If the problem cannot be resolved, the borrower should submit a written appeal of the charges, as follows:
Student Library Appeals Committee
University of Texas Libraries
The University of Texas at Austin
Circulation Services Department
P.O. Box P
Austin, TX 78713-8916
Faculty, Staff, and Special Borrowers:
Faculty/Staff Library Appeals Committee
University of Texas Libraries
UT Libs-Circ Serv S5460
Appeals may also be subitted by email to the appeals coordinator.
The appeal should include borrower's name, UT EID, and current address, and should specify the materials involved, the library, the date the transaction occurred, and the grounds for the appeal. The deadline for submitting appeals is the end of the semester following the semester in which the charges were incurred.
The Library Appeals Committee will concern itself primarily with differences between the library staff's and the appellant's view of the transaction. Neither inability to pay nor disagreement with the fine structure is grounds for appeal. Charges under appeal will be waived and any financial bar placed as a result of those charges will be lifted while the appeal is pending. If the borrower has other overdue charges not under appeal, these charges must be paid to remove the financial bar.
Records used to decide an appeal are open to the borrower. The Committee will notify the individual, the library where the charges were assessed, and the Circulation Services Department when an appeal is decided. The Committee's decision is final and may not be further appealed.
B. Courtesy Borrowers
Courtesy Borrowers may appeal library charges within one year of the date the charges were billed.
A Courtesy Borrower who questions a library charge should try to resolve the problem with the Circulation Desk Supervisor in the library where the charge was incurred. If the problem cannot be resolved at that level, or in further discussion with the Courtesy Borrower Supervisor in the Circulation Services Department, the Courtesy Borrower should submit a written appeal to the
Circulation Services Department
University of Texas Libraries
The University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box P
Austin, TX 78713-8916
The letter should include the borrower's name, UT EID, and current address, and should specify the materials involved, the library, the date the transaction occurred, and the grounds for appeal.
The Head Librarian will consider primarily the difference between the library staff's and the borrower's view of the transaction. Neither inability to pay nor disagreement with the fine structure is grounds for appeal. Checkout privileges suspended as a result of the charges under appeal will be restored while the appeal is pending. If the Courtesy Borrower has other charges not under appeal, these charges must be paid to restore checkout privileges and lift the bar. Records used to decide an appeal are open to the borrower. The Head Librarian will notify the Courtesy Borrower and the library where the charges were assessed when an appeal is decided. This decision is final and may not be further appealed.
LENDING AND USE CODE -- APPENDIX 3: CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS
1.Confidentiality as a Guiding Principle
The University of Texas Libraries policy is that its circulation records and other records linking a library user with specific materials or services are confidential in nature. According to the Texas Public Information Act (as amended,1999) and in accord with established principles guiding the provision of library services, staff members may not release the names of borrowers who are using, or who have used, library materials or services. Exceptions are made only upon court order or subpoena, or when deemed necessary by University officials for internal investigations. (See also part 13 of this Lending and Use Code.)
Staff members are expected to evaluate circulation practices periodically to determine those areas where information leading to the identification of borrowers in relation to specific materials might be revealed. Examples of areas for examination include the placement of computer monitors or circulation terminals on which borrowers' records are displayed, the location of hold shelves with flagged books or search/hold/recall request slips, and the location of the work area for sorting and mailing notices.
2. Guidance for Staff
The Vice President and Chief Financial Officer is the University's liaison with judicial and law enforcement authorities and with other individuals and organizations in matters regarding official records of the University. The Libraries staff should direct inquiries from law enforcement representatives and from others to the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. A Libraries staff member may not release information except to the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer or to a Libraries administrator to be passed on to the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. The University of Texas System Business Procedures Memorandum 32-09-99, Texas Public Information Act, establishes each component institution's Chief Financial Officer as the custodian of records for that institution.
An exception to the usual guidelines regarding release of library records concerns an internal investigation of possible student misconduct. Student Judicial Services, a division of the Office of the Dean of Students, serves as arbiter in internal matters relating to student library records. For example, when academic dishonesty is suspected, as when an instructor believes that a reserve item is being held by one student to deprive others, the instructor makes a request to Student Judicial Services to investigate the situation. In such a case, library staff may be asked to release a student's name to Student Judicial Services or to a University of Texas Libraries administrator for passing on to Student Judicial Services, but does not release protected information directly to the faculty member.
A student's parent is included in prohibitions relating to the release of information. A parent can be advised to talk with the student for more information concerning a bill.
In all matters related to confidentiality of records, the Libraries Associate Director for Public Services can assist library staff members and those requesting the release of information.
3. Relevant text from the Texas Public Information Act
(Excerpted from the Texas Government Code)
- Establishment of an exception for library record
Sect 552.124. Exception: Records of Library or Library System
(a) A record of a library or library system, supported in whole or in part by public funds, that identifies or serves to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 unless the record is disclosed:
(1) because the library or library system determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library or library system and the record is not confidential under other state or federal law;
(2) under Section 552.023; or
(3) to a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor under a court order or subpoena obtained after a showing to a district court that:
(A) disclosure of the record is necessary to protect the public safety; or
(B) the record is evidence of an offense or constitutes evidence that a particular person committed an offense.
(b) A record of a library or library system that is excepted from required disclosure under this section is confidential.
Sect 552.021. Availability of Public Information
Public information is available to the public at a minimum during the normal business hours of the governmental body.
Sect 552.023. Special Right of Access to Confidential Information
(a) A person or a person's authorized representative has a special right of access, beyond the right of the general public, to information held by a governmental body that relates to the person and that is protected from public disclosure by laws intended to protect that person's privacy interests.
(b) A governmental body may not deny access to information to the person, or the person's representative, to whom the information relates on the grounds that the information is considered confidential by privacy principles under this chapter but may assert as grounds for denial of access other provisions of this chapter or other law that are not intended to protect the person's privacy interests.
(c) A release of information under Subsections (a) and (b) is not an offense under Section 552.352.
(d) A person who receives information under this section may disclose the information to others only to the extent consistent with the authorized purposes for which consent to release the information was obtained.
(e) Access to information under this section shall be provided in the manner prescribed by Sections 552.229 and 552.307.
B. Establishment of a penalty for distributing confidential information
Sect 552.352. Distribution of Confidential Information
(a) A person commits an offense if the person distributes information considered confidential under the terms of this chapter.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:
(1) a fine of not more than $1,000;
(2) confinement in the county jail for not more than six months; or
(3) both the fine and confinement.
(c) A violation under this section constitutes official misconduct.
4. Guidelines from the American Library Association (ALA)
A. American Library Association (ALA) Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
from the American Library Association Policy Manual.*
52.4 Confidentiality of Library Records
Adopted January 20, 1971; revised July 4, 1975, July 2, 1986, by the ALA Council; and current on the ALA web site November 2001.
The ethical responsibilities of librarians, as well as statutes in most states and the District of Columbia, protect the privacy of library users. Confidentiality extends to "information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired," and includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.
The American Library Association 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: the issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:
1) Formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials to be confidential.
2) Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall 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.
3) Resist the issuance or enforcement 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.
*Note: See also the ALA Policy Manual, 54.16 (On Professional Ethics), point 3: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."
**Note: Point 3, above, means that upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the library's officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance; if the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, they will insist that such defects be cured.
B. Suggested Procedures for Implementing "Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records"
(Adopted by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, January 9, 1983; revised January 11, 1988 and available at the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee web pages.)
1. The library staff member receiving the request to examine or obtain information relating to circulation or registration records will immediately refer the person making the request to the responsible officer of the institution, who shall explain the confidentiality policy.
2. The director, upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, shall consult with the appropriate legal officer assigned to the institution to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in good form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance.
3. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, insistence shall be made that such defects be cured before any records are released. (The legal process requiring the production of circulation records shall ordinarily be in the form of "subpoena duces tecum" [bring your records] requiring the responsible officer to attend court or the taking of his/her deposition and may require him/her to bring along certain designated circulation records.)
4. Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e., those not supported by a process, order, or subpoena) concerning circulation or registration records shall be reported to the appropriate legal officer of the institution.
5. Any problems relating to the privacy of circulation and registration records which are not provided for above shall be referred to the responsible officer.
C. Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users
Adopted July 2, 1991, by the ALA Council
The ethical responsibilities of librarians, as well as statutes in most states and the District of Columbia, protect the privacy of library users. Confidentiality extends to "information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired," and includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.
The First Amendmentís guarantee of freedom of speech and of the press requires that the corresponding rights to hear what is spoken and read what is written be preserved, free from fear of government intrusion, intimidation, or reprisal. The American Library Association reaffirms its opposition to "any use of government prerogatives which lead to the intimidation of the individual or the citizenry from the exercise of free expression ... [and] encourages resistance to such abuse of government power...." (ALA Policy 53.4). In seeking access or in the pursuit of information, confidentiality is the primary means of providing the privacy that will free the individual from fear of intimidation or retaliation.
Libraries are one of the great bulwarks of democracy. They are living embodiments of the First Amendment because their collections include voices of dissent as well assent. Libraries are impartial resources providing information on all points of view, available to all persons regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, social or political views, economic status, or any other characteristic. The role of libraries as such a resource must not be compromised by an erosion of the privacy rights of library users.
The American Library Association regularly receives reports of visits by agents of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to libraries, where it is alleged they have asked for personally identifiable information about library users. These visits, whether under the rubric of simply informing libraries of agency concerns or for some other reason, reflect an insensitivity to the legal and ethical bases for confidentiality, and the role it plays in the preservation of First Amendment rights, rights also extended to foreign nationals while in the United States. The governmentí:s interest in library use reflects a dangerous and fallacious equation of what a person reads with what that person believes or how that person is likely to behave. Such a presumption can and does threaten the freedom of access to information. It also is a threat to a crucial aspect of First Amendment rights: that freedom of speech and of the press include the freedom to hold, disseminate and receive unpopular, minority, "extreme," or even "dangerous" ideas.
The American Library Association recognizes that, under limited circumstances, access to certain information might be restricted due to a legitimate "national security" concern. However, there has been no showing of a plausible probability that national security will be compromised by any use made of unclassified information available in libraries. Thus, the right of access to this information by individuals, including foreign nationals, must be recognized as part of the librarianís legal and ethical responsibility to protect the confidentiality of the library user.
The American Library Association also recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which would 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: the issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction.
LENDING AND USE CODE -- APPENDIX 4: DEFAULT ITEM COSTS
Materials from the Perry-Castañeda Library and the Benson Latin American Collection
Materials from other libraries:
Bound journal volumes:
Circulating CDs and Audio visual equipment which circulates on Library-use loan
(for example, audio cassette recorders, headphones, remotes):
Slides, Filmstrips, Transparencies