privacy | pri-va-cy | noun
the state of freedom from unauthorized observation, intrusion, or company
confidentiality | con-fi-den-tial-ity | noun
keeping information private or secret from unauthorized observation
The exercise of privacy and confidentiality
Sno-Isle Libraries is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers. This assurance to privacy and confidentiality is driven by policy adopted by the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees.
Several guiding principles help shape Sno-Isle Libraries' stance on privacy issues:
- Honoring each individual's right to free and equal access to information and ideas
- The value of individuals, community, and culture
- The importance of innovation in meeting evolving customer needs and expectations
- Accountability for the public's resources
- Providing collections and services that are responsive to the diverse interests and points of view of individuals and communities
Privacy is essential to exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. Your right to privacy in a physical or virtual library is the right to inquire, browse, explore, and discover information without having the subject of your interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library gains possession of your personally identifiable information and keeps that information private on your behalf.
Confidentiality extends to "information sought or received and library resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted" including, but not limited to: database search records, reference questions and interviews, borrowing history, interlibrary loan records, information about materials downloaded or placed on "hold" or "reserve," and other personally identifiable information about library materials, programs, facilities, or services browsed, accessed, visited, used, or borrowed by an individual.
Library privacy in the digital age
Sno-Isle Libraries values the confidentiality and privacy of customers and works to protect individual use of the library from unauthorized eyes. However, library customer expectations surrounding privacy issues are shifting in the digital age. This requires the library to work continuously to achieve a delicate balance between a range of expectations for privacy and increasing customer demands for relevant customized or personalized experiences and opportunities. For example:
- Searching for library materials based upon past searches or borrowing by the customer or others
- Receiving timely notifications of relevant materials of interest currently available at the library based upon the past borrowing, downloading or streaming by the customer or others
- Sharing customer comments, reviews, ratings or titles of browsed or borrowed materials with others via social media
Customers want access to a broad and varied collection of library materials, services and resources. They also expect Sno-Isle Libraries to offer an online experience with the latest technology and conveniences they normally find elsewhere. This increasingly includes the desire to share their library experiences with others within a social, online community.
"For most Americans who are making decisions about sharing their information in return for a product, service or other benefit, the context and conditions of the transactions matter. When considering this basic digital era trade-off, many are in an "It depends" frame of mind. Risk-benefit calculations that enter people's minds during the decision process include the terms of the deal; the circumstances of their lives; whether they consider the company or organization involved to be trustworthy; what happens to their data after they are collected, especially if the data are made available to third parties; and how long the data will be retained.
Young adults generally are more focused than their elders when it comes to online privacy. Younger adults are more likely to know that personal information about them is available online and to have experienced privacy problems. By the same token, our surveys have found that those ages 18 to 29 are more likely than older adults to say they have paid attention to privacy issues, tried to protect their privacy and reported some kind of harm because of privacy problems. They are more likely to have limited the amount of personal information available about them online, changed privacy settings, deleted unwanted comments on social media, removed their name from photos in which they were tagged, and taken steps to mask their identities while online. It is also true that younger adults are more likely to have shared personal information online.
"The state of privacy in post-Snowden America"
Pew Research Center report, September 21, 2016
Customer privacy assurance
Sno-Isle Libraries safeguards your right to pursue open inquiry by accessing, browsing and enjoying library materials, services and resources without inappropriate scrutiny or exposure.
The library may use your customer information in the course of library business to enable it to provide you with relevant, high-quality public library services which meet your needs. Your contact information will be used to send you information and updates about materials borrowed and may periodically provide you with updates on new titles, library services, resources or events available through the library.
Here are some examples of how your information may be used to enable Sno-Isle Libraries to serve you better.
- Process your library transactions (borrowing, reserving desired library items, renewing library materials by extending your due date, or reserving a meeting room)
- Notify you about the status of your borrowed materials
- Improve your website experience
- Respond more effectively to your requests and needs
- Provide periodic alerts (by email, phone or mail) about what the library offers
- Receive your feedback and input via surveys, polls and questionnaires
Library vendors and privacy
Sno-Isle Libraries conducts business with and engages the services of a variety of selected companies to increase the quantity and quality of materials made available to customers, enhance customer experience and broaden the services and resources offered to our customers.
Here are some examples of services the library secures from other companies to improve or broaden your library experience.
- Provide enhanced library catalog and search experiences
- Process and automate your library transactions (borrowing, reserving desired library items, renewing library materials by extending your due date, or reserving a meeting room)
- Provide subscription-based online research databases without additional cost to you
- Provide online audiobooks, eBooks, eMusic, eMagazines, and movies
- Enable marketing, audience, customer and community research
- Provide Wi-Fi and Internet services at community libraries
We do not share personally identifiable customer information with these companies unless these vendors meet our stringent standards, demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the privacy of individual customers through signed contracts and licenses. Library vendors are forbidden to use individual customer data and information for commercial purposed outside the limited terms of their agreement with Sno-Isle Libraries. In addition, these companies are not allowed to share individual customer information with other third-parties unless absolutely necessary to complete a customer-activated transaction. Restrictions are always in place to address the use, aggregation, and dissemination of that information, especially information about children who use the library.
Sno-Isle Libraries contracts with BiblioCommons and EBSCO Discovery to make it easier to search, discover, reserve, and enjoy a wider range of desired titles from the Sno-Isle Libraries catalog of materials and resources. And now you can choose to easily connect and share your comments with others through the BiblioCommons catalog experience.
Both companies were selected because they offer industry-best online solutions to discover what the library offers, as well as social sharing features and benefits. Sno-Isle Libraries is joining public libraries across North America and around the world who offer library visitors and customers better ways to find, enjoy and share their library experiences with others.
The library's confidentiality policy applies to information you supply when you register as a customer, borrow materials, and as you use the library's website. Different privacy guidelines may apply when you use the Library's Wi-Fi to access the Internet or as you pass through the library website portal and enter sites controlled by library vendors to access, use, borrow, download or stream library materials and resources.
Library Privacy and Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information that would be helpful to the investigation of criminal activity. In accordance with state and federal laws, Sno-Isle Libraries requires that law enforcement agencies provide a properly-executed court order showing good cause to release specific customer records based on specific facts before making such records available.
Sno-Isle Libraries is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers while providing the services they request and expect. Here are links to privacy-related policies and statements from Sno-Isle Libraries, vendors and other organizations.
Sno-Isle Libraries vendors
- Beanstack Privacy Statement
- BiblioCommons Privacy Statement
- Tumble Book Library
- Zinio (Recorded Books)