ZSR Library

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Privacy Policy

I. Introduction

Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. In ZSR Library, the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.

The courts have upheld the right to privacy based on the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. Many states provide guarantees of privacy in their constitutions and statute law. Numerous decisions in case law have defined and extended rights to privacy. This Library’s privacy and confidentiality policies are in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. User rights – as well as our institution’s responsibilities – outlined here are based in part on what are known in the United States as the “Fair Information Practice Principles.”

Our commitment to your privacy and confidentiality has deep roots not only in law but also in the ethics and practices of librarianship. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics:

“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.”

II. Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Commitment to Our Users’ Rights of Privacy and Confidentiality

This privacy policy explains your privacy and confidentiality rights, the steps this Library takes to respect and protect your privacy when you use library resources, and how we deal with personally identifiable information that we may collect from our users.

1. Notice & Openness

We affirm that our users have the right of “notice” – to be informed about the policies governing the amount and retention of personally identifiable information, and about why that information is necessary for the provision of services.

We post publicly and acknowledge openly the privacy and information-gathering policies of this Library. Whenever policies change, notice of those changes is disseminated widely to our users.

In all cases we avoid creating unnecessary records, we avoid retaining records not needed for the fulfillment of the mission of the Library, and we do not engage in practices that might place information on public view.

Collected Information – Library

The Z. Smith Reynolds Library keeps a database of patron information in order to know who our users are and where library materials are located. This database includes patrons’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, University ID numbers, e-mail addresses, and other contact information. This database also includes materials currently checked out of the library’s collection and this information is deleted upon return. Patrons are entitled to view their library account information.

Collected Information – Academic

When enrolled in an Information Literacy class, students may be required to use web-based technology. These technologies may include a secure course management system or a publicly viewable website. Before course work is placed on the open Web, permission is obtained from the student. The Library’s policy on the retention of students’ course work follows the policies of the University.

This policy explains our information practices and the choices you can make about the way the Library collects and uses your information. We will keep it confidential and will not sell, license or disclose personal information to any third party without your consent, unless we are compelled to do so under the law or to comply with a court order.

If you are affiliated with our University, the Library automatically receives personally identifiable information to create and update your library account from the Registrar’s Office (for students) or Human Resources (for employees).

3. Access by Users

Individuals who use library services that require the function and process of personally identifiable information are entitled to view and/or update their information. You may either view or update your personal information online or in person. In both instances, you may be asked to provide some sort of verification of identity. The purpose of accessing and updating your personally identifiable information is to ensure that library operations can function properly. Such functions may include notification of overdue items, recalls, reminders, etc.

4. Data Integrity & Security

Data Integrity

The data we collect and maintain must be accurate and secure. We take reasonable steps to assure data integrity, including: using only reputable sources of data; providing our users access to their own personally identifiable data; updating data whenever possible; utilizing authentication systems that authorize use without requiring personally identifiable information; destroying untimely data or converting it to anonymous form.

Data Retention

We protect personally identifiable information from unauthorized disclosure once it is no longer needed to manage library services. Information that will be regularly purged or shredded includes personally identifiable information on library resource use and material circulation history.

Tracking Users

We remove links between patron records and materials borrowed from the library’s collection when items are returned and we delete records as soon as the original purpose for data collection has been satisfied. We permit in-house access to information in all formats without creating a data trail. Our Library has invested in appropriate technology to protect the security of any personally identifiable information while it is in the Library’s custody, and we ensure that aggregate, summary data is stripped of personally identifiable information. We do not ask visitors or website users to identify themselves or reveal any personal information unless they are borrowing materials, requesting printing services, using Special Collections, registering for programs or classes, or making remote use from outside the Library of those portions of the Library’s website restricted to registered borrowers under license agreements. We regularly remove cookies, Web history, cached files, or other computer and Internet use records and other software code that is placed on our computers or networks. We adhere to a server log retention policy to protect user privacy.

Third Party Security

The Z. Smith Reynolds Library website contains links to websites and resources owned and operated by third parties. While the Library strives to protect user information, it is not responsible for the privacy policies or content of these third-party sites. The Library advises users to review the privacy statement of any websites visited.


Users of networked computers will need to enable cookies in order to access a number of third party resources available through the Library. This small file is sent to the browser by a website each time that site is visited. Cookies are stored on the user’s computer and can potentially transmit personal information. They are often used to remember information about preferences and pages visited. You can be prompted to accept, refuse, disable or remove cookies from your hard drive.

Security Measures

Our security measures involve both managerial and technical policies and procedures to protect against loss and the unauthorized access, destruction, use, or disclosure of the data. Our managerial measures include internal organizational procedures that limit access to data and ensure that those individuals with access do not utilize the data for unauthorized purposes. Our technical security measures to prevent unauthorized access include encryption in the transmission and storage of data; limits on access through use of passwords; and storage of data on secure servers or computers that are inaccessible from a modem or network connection.

Staff access to personal data

We permit only authorized Library staff with assigned confidential passwords to access personal data stored in the Library’s computer system for the purpose of performing library work. We will not disclose any personal data we collect from you to any other party except where required by law or to fulfill an individual user’s service request. The Library does not sell or lease users’ personal information to companies, universities, or individuals.

5. Enforcement & Redress

Our Library will not share data on individuals with third parties unless required by law. We conduct regular privacy audits in order to ensure that all library programs and services are enforcing our privacy policy. Library users who have questions, concerns, or complaints about the Library’s handling of their privacy and confidentiality rights should file written comments with the Dean of the Library. We will respond in a timely manner and may conduct a privacy investigation or review of policy and procedures.

We authorize only the Dean of the Library to receive or comply with requests from law enforcement officers; we confer with our legal counsel before determining the proper response. We will not make library records available to any agency of state, federal, or local government unless a subpoena, warrant, court order or other investigatory document is issued by a court of competent jurisdiction that shows good cause and is in proper form. We have trained all library staff and volunteers to refer any law enforcement inquiries to library administrators.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 336-758-5475.