CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS
September 18, 2002, revised January 2003
We are charged with protecting the rights of library users to view and read materials without fear of intrusion, intimidation, or reprisal. Toward that end and in compliance with applicable law, Henderson Library maintains the confidentiality of library records, including all circulation and online search records involving books, journals, technical reports, and any other material in any form, including but not limited to print, microform, audio, film, tape, CD-ROM, video disk or online format. No library employee shall reveal the identity of a user or borrower to any requestor, whether verbally or through the disclosure of records containing confidential information. The only exceptions are explained below. Library employees violating the confidentiality of library users’ records will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Georgia law (O.C.G.A.§24-9-46) specifically prohibits disclosure of "circulation and similar records of a library which identify the user” except (1) to members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business, (2) upon the written consent of the user or borrower of the library materials, or (3) upon appropriate court order or subpoena. Additionally, all student records, including library circulation records, are protected from disclosure by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Any library employee who is asked for the names of borrowers or users should reply that that information is confidential and protected by law. The inquirers should be referred to the Dean and University Librarian, or, in the Dean's absence, to the Associate Dean.
If the inquirer presents a court order or subpoena, that document must be referred to a Library Administrator who, prior to any disclosure, will make a determination of the legal validity of the document in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs. If the inquirer presents a search warrant and shows official law enforcement credentials, the employee should allow the official(s) to proceed, but immediately contact a Library Administrator who will consult with the Office of Legal Affairs.
W. Bede Mitchell, Dean and University Librarian