Privacy of Library Records and Library Use
The Monona Public Library protects the privacy of library records and the confidentiality of patron use of the library as required by relevant laws. In addition, the Monona Public Library Board supports the principle of freedom of inquiry for library patrons, and has adopted this policy to protect against the unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of library users.
The relevant Wisconsin laws concerning the confidentiality of library records are Wisconsin Statutes Section 43.30 and the Wisconsin Personal Information Practices Act (Sections 19.62 to 19.80).
Under Section 43.30, library records that indicate the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, resources or services may only be disclosed:
Wisconsin’s Personal Information Practices Act (Sections 19.62 to 19.80) requires all state and local government organizations (including public libraries) to develop procedures to protect the privacy of personal information kept by the organization. Libraries (and all other government organizations) are required to develop rules of conduct for employees involved in collecting, maintaining, using, and providing access to personally identifiable information. Libraries are also required to ensure that employees handling such records "know their duties and responsibilities relating to protecting personal privacy, including applicable state and federal laws."
Records indicating the identity of library users include a library users name, library card number, social security number, telephone number, street address, post-office box number or 9-digit extended zip code.
Records held by the library that include personally identifiable information about library users may also contain information that must be provided to those who request that information, as required by Wisconsin’s public records law. Personally identifiable information about library users must be redacted from any records that are publicly disclosed, except as the records are disclosed under one of the four exceptions provided by Section 43.30 (see above).
Rules to be followed by library staff
Handling of court orders
[Note: All search warrants are court orders, but not all subpoenas are court orders. Library staff may not disclose library records in response to a subpoena that is not a court order if those records indicate the identity of library users.]
If a law enforcement officer (or anyone else) brings a subpoena1 directing library staff to produce library records:
If law enforcement officers bring a court order in the form of a search warrant2:
If FBI agents bring a court order in the form of a search warrant issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)3:
Approved by the Monona Public Library Board on May 19, 2003
Amended May 19, 2004
1. A subpoena is a call to come before a court, and may include a direction to bring specified records. Not all subpoenas are court orders. Your municipal attorney (or library counsel) can determine if a particular subpoena is a court order. A subpoena normally indicates that a response is required within a certain number of days. Library staff may not disclose library records in response to a subpoena that is not a court order if those records indicate the identity of library users.
2. A search warrant is an order signed by a judge directing a law enforcement officer to conduct a search of a designated person, a designated object or a designated place for the purpose of seizing designated property or kinds of property.
3. The USA Patriot Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow the FBI to apply for a court order requiring the "production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment..."