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Confidentiality of Patron Information & Library Records

Title:  Public Services Policies

Subject:  Confidentiality of Patron Information and Library Records      

Item Number:  6-1

Approved by:  PCDL Board of Trustees

Date Adopted:  September 19, 2002  
The Portage County District Library supports its patrons’ rights to privacy and protects the confidentiality of patron information and library records in accordance with Ohio law.  Patron information is defined as personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials.  A library record is defined as a record in any form that is maintained by the library and that contains any of the following types of information:

  • information an individual is required to provide in order to be eligible to use library service or borrow materials;
  • information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a particular subject;
  • information that is provided by an individual to assist a library staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject. 

Information that does not identify any individual and that is retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the use of a library and its materials and services is not considered confidential and is not subject to this policy. 

Under Ohio law, the Portage County District Library shall not release any library record or disclose any patron information except in the following situations:   

  • for the records of a minor child when requested by that minor child’s parent, guardian or custodian;
  • in accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order, or to a law enforcement officer who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances;
  • at the written request or with the written consent of the individual who is the subject of the record or information;
  • for library administrative purposes as defined by Ohio Revised Code § 149.432, including establishment or maintenance of a system to manage the library records or to assist in the transfer of library records from one records management system to another, compilation of statistical data on library use, and collection of fines and penalties.   

Additionally, the library may release records that document improper use of the internet at the library so long as any patron information is removed from those records.  As used in this situation, patron information does not include information about the age or gender of an individual.