In consideration of:
- Council of the American Library Association's strong recommendation that the responsible
officers of each library formally adopt a policy with regard to confidentiality of library patron
- ALA Policy Manual 54.15--Code of Ethics, point 3, which states "Librarians must protect each
user's right to privacy with respect to information sought or received, and to materials consulted,
borrowed or acquired;"
- Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which prevents schools from distributing
students educational records to third parties without a student's consent; and
- Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act, P.A. 83-179, effective January 1, 1984 which
states: "The registration and circulation records of a library are confidential information. Except
pursuant to a court order, no person shall publish or make any information contained in such
records available to the public."
The UIUC Library formally recognizes:
- That all records identifying the names, social security numbers, or I.D. number of library
patrons are confidential in nature;
- That such records are not to be revealed to anyone other than the patron in question without
either the express written permission of the patron in question or the adherence to proper legal
and University procedures regarding required access to such information;
- That library employees are encouraged not to keep records with personally identifiable
information, unless that information is necessary, and to destroy such records as soon as
- That the confidentiality of patron records requires that such records should be consulted by
library employees only for LEGITIMATE purposes such as locating or recalling library materials,
processing overdue notices and fines, adding or deleting names to the database, making
collection development decisions, resolving billing matters, or investigating violations of Library
circulation policies, including but not limited to, the following:
Legitimate Consultation of Patron Records
- expired I.D. number with overdue items still charged
- patrons who repeatedly claim to have returned books
- patrons who have manipulated the system to set their own due dates outside the Library's
established patron loan periods
- patrons with outstanding Library accounts who have been referred to collection
- Library employees may not view patron records for such purposes as idle curiosity, personal
interest, or general monitoring.
- Special requests for confidential information to be used for research purposes shall be
addressed to the University Librarian.
EXAMPLES OF REQUESTS FOR LIBRARY INFORMATION THAT IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MUST NOT BE HONORED.
This list is intended to provide examples of possible violations of confidentiality of library
information and is by no means inclusive. Any request for confidential information from
patron records coming from a law enforcement officer or investigative agent of the state or federal
governments, MUST be referred to the University Librarian.
CIRCULATION AND PATRON RECORDS
- A request for the circulation records of a faculty, student, staff or other library card holder
by someone else.
- A request by a faculty member for the identity of students who borrowed reserve items.
- A request to review the circulation records of a student suspected of plagiarism.
- A request to see interlibrary loan borrowing records.
- A request for addresses, phone numbers, I.D. numbers or other personal information contained in
the borrower database.
- A request to see a list of individuals who are not members of the university community but who
have been granted library borrowing privileges.
- A request by a parent for information such as fines or other fees by the library to Students
Accounts Receivable without the student's permission.
- A request for the name of the person who has signed out a particular item.
- A request to review the identity of persons who have used a study room, listening room, study
carrel or CD-ROM workstation.
- A request to reveal the nature of a library user's reference request or database search.
- A request for the names of persons who have used audio-visual materials.
- A request for a list of items photocopied for or faxed to a particular Library user.
- A request for a list of suggested acquisitions submitted by a particular Library user.
- A request from law enforcement authorities for the identity of anyone conducting research on a
[Directive No. 13; Issued by the Library Administrative Council; Effective date: October