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Section title

The Tacoma Public Library and Confidentiality.

The confidentiality of your library records is protected by law and by the administrative policies of the Tacoma Public Library. Library policies concerning confidentiality safeguard your rights to free speech and privacy. Our administrative policies are designed to prevent anyone from finding out what library materials you may be using. For example, these policies prevent a teacher from discovering what books his or her pupils are reading, they prevent a spouse from finding out if his or her partner is checking out books on divorce, child custody or other volatile issues, and they protect library records from inquiries by local, state and federal authorities. Read the entire Confidentiality of Records Policy.
 
How am I affected by this policy?
Because the Library is unable to verify with certainty the identity of a person who
telephones for assistance, our administrative policies restrict the type of information
that library staff may provide you by telephone. In addition, the Library's interest in
protecting the confidentiality of patron records restricts the type of information which staff may provide if you come to the library with a card belonging to a friend or family
member.

In the case of group cards (tax or agency cards) which are designed to be used by more than one person, the Library assumes that the person presenting the card is authorized to use it and circulation information will be released to the bearer.

Some examples:
When renewing library materials by telephone, whether for yourself or for a friend or
family member, you must provide us with the library card number, and with the full name and address of the card owner. Library staff will match and verify this information against the patron's library record.

Library staff may renew items by telephone if you provide them with a title or a due date.  While they are able to tell you the number and type of overdue items and the amount of any fines, they are restricted from giving you the specific information about materials related to fines. They are also restricted from telling you during a telephone conversation specifically which titles need to be renewed, even if you are the owner of the card.

Using a friend's card
When you come to the library in person and present a library card belonging to a friend or family member, you may check out materials, and you may pay fines on that card. However, library staff cannot provide you with information about any library materials that may already be checked out on that card. At your request, the information will be mailed to the name and address listed on the library record. Additionally, Library policy prohibits the bearer of another patron's card from using the resources of the Computer Lab at the Main Library.

When you come to the library in person and present your own library card, library staff will answer any questions you may have about your record. However, they may ask you
questions to verify that you are the owner of the card you present, and, occasionally,
staff may ask you to present photo identification.

Upon your request and with presentation of your library card and/or photo identification, library staff will provide you with a print-out of library materials you currently have checked out, and/or any fines on your record.

Can I receive information about my children's circulation records?
The library record of a child has the same confidentiality protection under Library
policy as that of any other patron. However, because the Tacoma Public Library understands that instances may arise when it is necessary for a parent or legal guardian to be provided with information about their child's library record (for example, when a child has a fine, or when a child has misplaced library materials) there are procedures that will enable parents to obtain information about a minor child's records.

In all instances and regardless of circumstances, it is the policy of the Tacoma Public
Library to safeguard access to patron library records and restrict access to that
information only to the patron who owns the library card or to the parent / legal
guardian of a minor. To help us ensure the confidentiality of library records, please
keep your library card in a secure place. If your card is lost or stolen, please report
the loss immediately to any branch of the Tacoma Public Library.

 

Last Updated 27.04.2011
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Tacoma Public Library · 1102 Tacoma Ave. South · Tacoma, Washington 98402 · 253.292.2001
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