Procedures for Handling Requests for Library Records
In keeping with the Library's policy on the Confidentiality of Library Patron Records and the relevant New Jersey State statutes, Princeton University Library staff will not respond to any informal request by a third party for personally identifiable information about any library patron. Such information includes, but is not limited to, database search records, reference interviews, e-mail requests for information, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, resources, or services.
Personally identifiable information may be released only to a law enforcement agency after presentation of an order by a court or competent jurisdiction issued in proper form (a legal subpoena or search warrant) that shows good cause based on specific facts.
In such cases, Library staff who are approached by a law enforcement officer will state that the Library has a written confidentiality policy (see above link). The staff member will immediately direct the agent to the University Librarian's Office and will also notify his or her supervisor of the agent's visit and request. The University Librarian will work with the Office of General Counsel and will ascertain the appropriateness of the order and advise the library staff on how to proceed.
Disclosing Patron Information to Law Enforcement Officials
In keeping with the Library's policy on the Confidentiality of Library Patron Records and the relevant New Jersey statutes, Princeton University Library staff may not disclose to any third party personally identifiable information regarding any library patron. Such information includes, but is not limited to, database search records, reference interviews, e-mail requests for information, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other materials that can be used to determine a given individual’s use of Library resources.
However, the Library may be required to disclose such personally identifiable information to law enforcement agencies pursuant to a valid and properly served subpoena, warrant or court order. Library staff who are contacted by law enforcement personnel seeking any such information should direct the inquiry immediately to the University Librarian's office, which will promptly contact the Office of General Counsel to determine the appropriate course of action.
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Last Modified: 09/15/2005