The Stevens-German Library values free and unfettered access to information and affirms policies that contribute to the exploration of ideas however controversial. Privacy and confidentiality are essential to that exploration and to maintain the academic freedom vital to the exchange of ideas in an institution of higher education.
In accordance with The American Library Association Code of Ethics and the Freedom to Read Statement, and its Freedom to View Statement, the Stevens-German Library is committed to protect the privacy of library patrons in their use of the library and to maintain the confidentiality of all library records.
New York State Law protects the confidentiality of library records, including, but not limited to the circulation of materials, database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, reserve requests and the use of audio-visual materials, films and sound-recordings.
Library patrons should be aware that recent Federal legislation (The Patriot Act of 2001) allows federal agents request patron records held by the library; if such orders are requested by federal authorities by appropriate court order, the library is prohibited by law from notifying the patron of that request.
The library maintains personally identifiable information only when necessary. For example, patron information is required in order to extend borrowing privileges. Personally identifiable information may include data such as name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, birth date, and patron identification number. Appropriate management practices have been put in place to prohibit the retention of unnecessary data such as patron borrowing history. Once an item is returned, the patron record is no longer associated with the item record. An item record is linked to the most recent borrower for a short period of time. In the case of current records, the borrower is linked by identification number and no name is viewable by staff or student workers. Access to patron identification numbers is restricted to a few staff on the basis of job responsibility. Personally identifiable information for researchers using the Paul F. Cooper, Jr. archives and rare books room are retained for a minimal period of time.
Privacy and confidentiality pertain to information sought or received, materials consulted or borrowed, and records that include but are not limited to registration, circulation of materials and interlibrary loans, reference interviews, archival research, and booking of materials, equipment, facilities or services.
Internet transactions are not secure and may be tracked. However, the Stevens-German Library has implemented appropriate software and polices to regularly "wash" the cache and history of public computers in the library.
Prepared by Marilyn Dunn, College Librarian 4/2004
Adopted by The Hartwick College Library Cmte.