The Warren Hunting Smith Library follows the basic policies of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and is committed to protecting the rights of library users:
“Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. ... In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.”
The registration and circulation records of the Library system are confidential. Registration records include any information the library requires of users in order to access or borrow materials; such information includes addresses, telephone numbers. Circulation records include all information that identifies a specific borrower as borrowing or accessing particular materials or information. Included in these records are use of ILL and reserve materials.
Personal information gathered as part of the library’s operation is further protected under New York State law:
Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.
In compliance with state and federal laws personal information may be released pursuant to a court order that has been received and approved by the Colleges. If such an instance occurs, the library may be obligated to release personally identifying information. No library employee shall reveal the identity of a borrower to any requestor. Library staff are to refer all requests for the above information to the Director of the Library.
While the confidentiality of specific transactions is maintained, the library collects aggregate statistics on the use of collections and services. Additionally aggregate billing information is shared with other business units of the Colleges.