This confidentiality extends to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired. This includes database search records, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.
Homewood Public Library has in place guidelines regarding information access and confidentiality for specific library records, which include the following:
- The Library does not retain records of individual user activity with personally identifiable information except those required for the efficient operation of the Library, in accordance with the Code of Alabama (’41-8-9 & ‘ 41-8-10)
- The Library does not create unnecessary records containing a user’s personally identifiable information – except those required for the efficient operation of the Library.
Specific existing library records:
- Database Search Records: Searches of the collection using OPAC, the online catalog, are conducted by using the Library’s automated circulation system. Once a search is conducted, the software does not retain a copy of the search. Records of the search no longer exist. The Library also does not retain searches of other databases, such as newspaper, magazine, or automobile repair databases, licensed by the Library or library system. However, the database provider may keep their own records.
- Circulation Records: Data matching items with patrons is stored on the Innovative Interfaces Inc. (III) system while the material is checked out to the patron. When an item is returned and any fees and fines are paid, it is removed from the borrower’s file but a link from the item to the borrower is maintained until a different user checks out the item or the item is removed from the system.
Computer Use Records:
The Homewood Public Library offers computers for public access to the Internet. Internet users are not required to have a library card in order to use the public access computers. Reservations are not required. Computer access is first come, first served. Software is maintained on all public accessed computers to erase all personal information after each use.
Inter-Library Loan Records:
Patrons may borrow items not owned by Public Libraries in Jefferson County (dba Jefferson County Library Cooperative) libraries from other libraries worldwide via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). The Homewood Public Library does not track any items borrowed or keep any records of ILL patron requests.
For security purposes and to ensure our services remain available to all of our patrons, the Homewood Public Library uses software programs to monitor network traffic and identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 and 1030. Homewood Public Library will also use these monitoring services for the purposes of identifying pedophiles and any other type of sexual predator. Except for the above purposes, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.
The Homewood Public Library recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which may be helpful to the investigation of criminal activity. If there is a reasonable basis to believe such records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the American judicial system provides the mechanism for seeking release of such confidential records. Library records will not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.
Confidentiality and Our Website
When patrons visit The Homewood Public Library website, the Library collects and stores only information necessary for measuring the number of visitors to different areas of the site and assist in making the site more useful to you. The information includes:
- the address (IP) of the patron’s computer or Internet provider
- the date and time the patron accessed our site
- the pages that are accessed and how patrons navigate the site
- the Internet address of the web site that referred the patron to the Library’s site
Web site data is separate from individual library account data. The Library cannot look up patron library records to determine what web sites were visited. The Homewood Public Library also offers a wireless network that allows patrons to connect to the Internet. Please be aware that data accessed and sent over The Homewood Public Library’s wireless network is not encrypted.
Personally identifying information that you provide by emails or web forms will be used only for such purposes as are described at the point of collection (for example on a web form), such as to send information or provide library services to you, update your membership record, or to respond to your questions or comments.
If you provide contact information, the Library may contact you to clarify your comment or question, or to learn about your level of customer satisfaction with library services.
Any credit card information you provide for fines and fees or services is secure and used only for that intended purpose.
Third Party Online Providers and Privacy Policies
Forms and email
If a patron initiates an inquiry, or subscribes to the Library’s newsletter on The Homewood Public Library web site, this information is considered as part of the borrower account and protected as outlined above.
Confidentiality of Library Records
The Code of Alabama (’41-8-9 & ‘ 41-8-10) reads in part: The registration and circulation records and information concerning the use of the public libraries of this state shall be confidential. Registration and circulation records shall not be open for inspection by, or otherwise available to, any agency or individual except for the following entities: (a) the library that manages the records; (b) the state education department for a library under its jurisdiction (c) the state public library service for a library under its jurisdiction. Provided however, any parent of a minor child shall have the right to inspect the registration and circulation of any school or public library that pertain to his or her child
The law further states that the term registration records includes any information that a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term circulation records includes all information which identifies the patron utilizing particular books and any other materials in any medium or format. In conforming to this law, it is the policy of the Homewood Public Library Board of Trustees that no information may be released regarding Library users or their reading material.
Specifically, the staff may not supply any information regarding a Library patron (e.g., full name, address, place of employment, driver’s license number, social security number, phone number, etc.)
The staff may not supply any information regarding the use of Library material (e.g., who has read a particular book, who has a particular book, a list of material used by any library patron, the type or subject of materials used by any library patron).
Registration and circulation records may be released only through legal process, and then only by the Director of the Library. Upon receipt of a court order or subpoena, the Library Director shall consult with the City of Homewood attorney, or designated legal counsel, to determine if the court order or subpoena complies with applicable law. If the order or subpoena is not appropriate or does not comply, then relief through a protective order may be sought. Further, such counsel for the Library and the Library Director shall have discretion to seek judicial relief if they deem it appropriate to do so.