What is Ohio's Patron Confidentiality Law?
In September 2000, Ohio’s lawmakers passed section 149.432 of the Ohio Revised Code dealing with confidentiality of library records. Ohio was the last of the 50 states to enact such confidentiality legislation. In the past, library borrower records were open for public review, inspection and copying. Basically, this new law provides that cardholder information is confidential with a few exceptions.
What does this mean to me?
Library staff may ask for more identification-related information when assisting customers with transactions. While this may seem like an inconvenience or an unnecessary annoyance to some customers, the staff is committed to protecting the privacy of our customers’ information and complying with this new state law.
Who can look at my record?
Customers have the option of choosing who can access their library account information, be it a spouse, relative or other individual. All customers will have opportunity to sign a consent form listing those who may be privy to such account information.
Parents/custodians/legal guardians of minor children will be asked to list other individuals who may have access to a child’s account information, including grandparents, caregivers or other individuals.
These customer consent forms must be on file at the library if detailed information linking the titles of materials to a specific customer is to be given out.
What about the staff? Can they look at my library records?
Access to identifiable information about you is limited to those employees who have a specific business reason to retrieve such information. Our employees are trained on the importance of confidentiality and privacy of customer information.
The library does not share its customer list with outside organizations except for administrative functions, such as sharing information with our collection agency. Not even the Friends of the Library groups may have access to your records!
How does the USA Patriot Act affect me?
The Patriot Act allows law officers to review customer records via a search warrant. By law, library staff must comply immediately with the orders of a search warrant. However, since customer library records are cleared as materials are returned, the only records available to law enforcement officers would be items currently checked out and items that have fines. If you should have any additional questions about your library record and the Patriot Act, please ask a library staff member.
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