Confidentiality

Confidentiality

The Billerica Public Library maintains confidentiality concerning all patron records and transactions as required by law. According to Massachusetts General Laws Annotated, chapter 78, Section 7, entitled “Public Libraries: Establishment by cities and towns; records,”

“…that part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record as defined by clause twenty-six of section seven of chapter four.”

Chapter 4, Section 7, Clause 26 of the Massachusetts General Laws Annotated, entitled “Public Records,” states the following:

“…’Public records’ shall mean all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee of any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth, or of any political subdivision thereof, or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose, unless such materials of data fall within the following exemptions in hat they are…that part of the registration or circulation records of every public library which reveals the identity of a borrower.”

In accordance with the previously mentioned Massachusetts laws, the Billerica Public Library will only release patron records information as follows:

  1. Delinquency information consisting of overdue materials will be released only to the patron whose card has such a delinquency. If the patron is under 14 years of age, said information may also be released to a parent or guardian.
  2. Upon a patron’s request, a list of materials checked out on their card only may be obtained. In the case of a patron under age 14, a parent or guardian may also request such information.
  3. Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which supersedes state confidentiality laws, a subpoena or search warrant presented by the FBI requires the library to turn over all information requested. A subpoena will allow time for the collection of the information, whereas, if a law enforcement officer presents a search warrant it may be executed immediately.

Except in the cases outlines above, under no circumstances will any information regarding either patron registration or circulation be released to a third party.

Revised and adopted by vote of the Board of Library Trustees March 2003

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