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Confidentiality of Patron Records

Library Staff Responsibilities

Library staff may not divulge the following information about a patron:

  1. Personal information (social security number, address, etc.)
  2. Whether a student is currently enrolled or has ever attended the University of Florida
  3. What an individual has borrowed
  4. Who has specific items checked out

This information is for library business only and may not be used for any other purpose. Any unusual requests involving the confidentiality of borrower information should be referred to the department chair, branch librarian, or desk supervisor. When appropriate, patrons may be referred to the Registrar, the Admissions Office or University Council for patron enquiries. Violations of patron record confidentiality will result in disciplinary measures which may include dismissal.

Florida State Law

Patron records are confidential in accordance with Section 257.261 of the Florida Statutes. The Statutes state: "All registration and circulation records of every public library (UF's libraries are considered public libraries by the state), except statistical reports of registration and circulation, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s.119.07(1) and from s.24(a) of Article I of the State Constitution. Except in accordance with proper judicial order, a person may not make known in any manner any information contained in such records, except as provided in this section . As used in this section, the term "registration records" includes any information that a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term "circulation records" includes all information that identifies the patrons who borrow particular books and other materials. This section does not prohibit any library, or any business operating jointly with the library, from disclosing information to municipal or county law enforcement officials, or to judicial officials, for the purpose of recovering overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library. This section does not prohibit any library, or any business perating jointly with the library, from disclosing information to municipal or county law enforcement officials or to judicial officials or to any business for the purpose of collecting fines or overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082 or s.775.083."

Federal Law

Public Law 107-56 Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001.


Section 215 - Access to Certain Business Records for Foreign Intelligence and International Terrorism Investigations
"(a)(1) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an 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 to the Constitution."

Exception

The Department Chair or branch librarian in concert with library administration and University legal and financial officers may undertake disclosure of information to law enforcement or judicial officials, in an effort to recover library materials or collect fines.

Procedures for Law Enforcement Request

  1. Request proper identification from anyone who seeks information about what library materials or electronic information a patron has borrowed or used. Such information will not be disclosed to anyone without legal authorization and proper identification.
  2. Unless required by a valid subpoena, search warrant, or other court order, the library generally may not disclose information about what library materials or electronic information a patron has used or is currently using. Staff should NOT furnish such information to any person requesting it without a valid subpoena, search warrant, or other court order. If the person persists, refer him or her to the Dean of Libraries at 352-273-2505. Staff should call the Office of the Dean of Libraries immediately to alert them about the referral.
  3. Individuals who have a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order should be referred immediately to the Dean of Libraries at 352-273-2505. Staff should call the Office of the Dean of Libraries immediately to them about the referral. Staff should NOT furnish information to any person in response to a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order directed to the University of Florida or the Smathers Libraries. The Office of the Dean of Libraries will respond, working under guidelines of and in concert with the Office of the General Counsel of the University.
  4. If a federal law enforcement or government official demands immediate compliance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order, and if the Office of the Dean of Libraries is closed or unavailable, staff should contact the University Police Department at 392-1111 and ask to speak with a shift supervisor to verify the credentials of the requesting official and the need for immediate compliance. UPD will assist in attempting to contact the Dean of Libraries and the Office of the General Counsel before any information may be released.

 

 

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