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About the Library: Patron Records

Patron Record Confidentiality

Librarians’ professional ethics require that personally identifiable information about library users be kept confidential. This principle is reflected in Article III of the Code of Ethics, which the American Library Association adopted in 1981 and revised in 1995 to guide librarians in making ethical decisions. Article III states: “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”

In order to protect the rights of individuals using Yale University Library material, electronic products and services, all circulation, collection registration, and/or use files are private and confidential records.

Under no circumstances may staff release the name of a reader to whom a book is charged, who is using a computer on library premises, or who has used any other library services. All staff, circulation and reference procedures, and automated systems will handle the recall of books from a reader, the identity of borrowers, and the profile of an individual’s search for information, in such a way that confidentiality of records is maintained.

All requests for confidential information that cannot be handled through service procedures or any questions concerning this policy should be referred to an Associate University Librarian or University Librarian. As appropriate, Library Administration will consult with the University’s General Counsel.

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