Patron Privacy Policy

The Marin County Free Library recognizes the need to protect your right to privacy regarding the questions you ask and the materials you borrow.

Public Records Act, California Government Code Sections 6254 (j) and 6267 mandates confidentiality of your registration and borrowing records. These records include any information that a library requires a library user to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and any information which identifies the library user borrowing particular books and other material. All library records relating to an individual library user's use of the library and its resources are confidential. These records may be consulted and used by library staff in the course of carrying out library operations, but will not be disclosed to others except upon the written authorization of the library user, pursuant to court order or as otherwise required by law.

As a public institution the Library is legally obligated to comply with the information request requirements of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, commonly known as the USA Patriot Act, enacted on October 26, 2001. We also adhere to Resolution No. 2003-44, Affirming Support for Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights and Liberties Threatened by the U.S. Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act and Specific Executive Orders and Rulings passed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on May 6, 2003.

Protecting your privacy is important to us. This notice explains our information practices, what information the library collects, and how the library uses that information. All staff who work at the Marin County Free Library sign a statement prior to employment agreeing to abide by our Privacy Policy and State law.

This document applies to all information collected by or submitted to the Marin County Free Library in person or on the website. On some web pages you can make requests, make comments, register for programs and reserve a computer. The types of personal information collected are:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Library card number
  • Drivers license number or other identification number
  • Date/year of birth
  • Materials currently checked out
  • Last patron to check out an item (kept for up to 3 months, up to 6 months for audiovisual materials)
  • Transaction details on the fines due and overdue materials (until returned)
  • Transaction details on the fines paid or waived (kept for 6 months)
  • Funds on deposit for printing from the library's public access computers

We do not share information collected with outside parties, except: (1) with written authorization of the library user, (2) by court order, (3) or under U.S.A. Patriot Act, (4) as required by Law. We use mailing or e-mail addresses to answer the mail we receive, to send notification of overdue materials, and to inform customers of library events when they have authorized us to do so.

When you visit the Library's website we collect and store only information to measure the number of visitors to different areas of our site to assist us in making our site more useful to you. This information includes:

* The address (IP) of your computer or Internet provider
* The date and time you accessed our site
* The Internet address of the website that referred you to our site, if any.

In accordance with Library Confidentiality Policy, we will not sell, lease, or otherwise distribute or disclose your e-mail address, phone number, borrower records or other personal information for non-library purposes to outside parties unless required by law.

The Library's website uses "cookies" to allow you access to certain functions (such as the online catalog and electronic resources) within our site. These cookie files do not capture any personal user information (such as e-mail address or user passwords). Most temporary cookie files are automatically deleted when you close your browser, but you may wish to check your own browser.

Some of the Library website pages contain links to external sites not maintained by the Library. The Library cannot be responsible for your privacy when you disclose information to outside websites. It is your responsibility to protect your personal information.

All Internet search histories are deleted between sessions on the library's public access computers. This occurs when a user logs out, or when a computer times out between users.

The library uses a program called Library Online to manage reservations for its public access computers and to manage printing done by the public. This program captures information from your library card record, including name, card number, phone number and the amount in your printing account.

Library Online stores information on the amount of printing that you do but has no record of the content that was printed.

Information about which patrons reserved and used public access computers is purged every night. If you reserve a computer once your personal information remains in the database indefinitely. Access to this information is limited to a few staff members, and they do not access the database for any reason other than providing services. This database is managed by MARINet.

Protecting the privacy of children is especially important to us. Due to the ease with which children can divulge personal information on the Internet as well as the possibility of inadvertently bringing up inappropriate sites, we urge parents to supervise their children's use of the Internet. Information collected by the Marin County Free Library is not shared with any other agency or organization, unless required by law.

In order for us to reply to an e-mail inquiry, we request that a patron provide an e-mail address only. All other information is optional. After replying to the question via e-mail, librarians delete all copies of the original message and their replies from the e-mail servers.

  • The library does not log instant messaging transcripts. Librarians also delete screen names from "recent buddies" or "offline buddies" lists in our instant messaging client. Librarians never add screen names to our buddy list.
  • The patron's own instant messaging client may keep logs on his/her computer, and the patron's instant messaging provider(s) (e.g., AOL, Yahoo, MSN) may also keep transcripts on their servers. Patrons are advised to check their instant messaging providers' terms of service and chat client log preferences.

This is an optional feature available in the MARINet online catalog. If you turn it on you may view a history of items you have checked out and returned, but this information is accessible only with your library card number and PIN. Library staff cannot view Reading Histories.

This optional service provides e-mail alerts when MARINet libraries receive new materials that match specified criteria. Library staff cannot view Preferred Searches.

MARINet provides secure access for credit card payments through Verisign. Your transaction is encrypted and is as secure as other online payments. MARINet does not store the credit card information you provide after a transaction has been completed.

*Approved by the Board of Supervisors March 28, 2006

Related policies: Other policies affecting patron use of the Library and Library materials include: the Internet Computer Policy; Patron Conduct Policy; Collection Development Policy; the Library Bill of Rights, opens a new window (and associated interpretive documents); and the Marin County Board of Supervisors' Resolution No. 2003-44 on the USA Patriot Act, opens a new window which was passed on May 6, 2003.

NOTE: Nothing in this policy is intended to confer any third party contractual rights in any patron of library facilities or resources. The policy set forth above is subject to modification and does not waive or otherwise limit any applicable governmental immunities that may exist under law in favor of local governments and/or their officials.


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