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Library User Privacy Policy

DIVISION: Academic Information Services
UNIT: Lydia M. Olson Library
DATE: June 22, 2006
APPROVED: June 29, 2006
PURPOSE: To protect the confidentiality of certain library records.
APPLICABILITY: Library users and library employees.

In Olson Library, the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. At the heart of a university is the freedom to research unfamiliar and controversial topics. Revealing the identities of individual users or disclosing what information sources or services they consult is prohibited without the written consent of the individual.

The library records information that identifies individual users (such as name, address, or telephone number) and that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials. This information is retained only as long as it is needed to fulfill the function for which it was initially acquired, such as loaning a book. When the library possesses personally identifiable information about users, that information is kept private on their behalf in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards. It is the responsibility of library staff to otherwise destroy personally identifiable information about users in order to prevent unauthorized disclosure. Unless required by law, individual information is not shared with third parties.

To this end, the library employees:

  • limit the collection of personally identifiable information,
  • avoid creating unnecessary records,
  • avoid retaining records that are not needed for efficient library operation, and
  • avoid practices that place personally identifiable information in public view.

The privacy of all borrowers of library materials is respected. The library will not reveal the names of individual borrowers or what items have been checked out to an individual. When a library user needs an item that is checked out, the circulation staff will not disclose the name of the borrower but will recall the item as soon as the guaranteed loan period of two weeks has ended.

Interlibrary Loan
Requests for interlibrary loan and article delivery remain confidential within the library. Documentation of requests may be retained to comply with auditing or copyright regulations.

Collection Development
Suggestions and purchase recommendations may be temporarily linked to a name so that the user can be notified of receipt. This information is confidential and not revealed outside the library. Donors may be identified by gift plates in donated books only at the donor’s request. Some donations may be publicized with the donor’s consent.

Licenses for Electronic Resources
The library expects vendors to respect the privacy of those who use electronic resources licensed to the library. License agreements with these vendors ensure that the identity of individual users and the information they consult is protected. Users may be asked to identify themselves to receive a personalized service, such as receiving alerts of new publications matching a profile of the user’s interest. Such services are provided solely at the user’s discretion. Vendors may not sell or share information identifying individual users to third parties unless authorized by the individual in advance.

Online Library Access
Transaction logs that can be linked to individuals using the library’s online systems, such as the catalog and Web site, are kept intact for only a limited period of time for backup or system problem resolution. The information is held confidential and is not shared with third parties.

Library Assessment
To learn about the use or value of resources and services, anonymous user data is retained and aggregated by the library and its service providers.

CONTACT: Academic Information Services, Olson Library, (906) 227-2117


NMU Web Site Privacy Statement
The Michigan Library Privacy Act 455 of 1982
American Library Association Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
American Library Association Code of Ethics Article III
AIS Requests For Confidential Information Policy


Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
For exceptions and full year hours