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The staff and trustees of the Wallington Library recognize the need to protect library users’ right to privacy regarding questions asked, resources utilized, and materials borrowed. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics, the Wallington Library strives to protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information, research, services, or materials inquired about or received at the Library.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF PATRON RECORDS
As per New Jersey Law, NJSA 18A:73-43.2, library users’ borrowing records are confidential and not to be disclosed, except in specific instances. Therefore, the staff and trustees of the the Wallington Library will only disclose library user information in the following circumstances:
The record(s) are necessary for the proper operation of the library.
Disclosure of the record(s) are requested by the library user.
Disclosure of the record(s) are required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court order.
A library user may request disclosure of his or her own record(s). A library user may also request disclosure of a minor’s record(s), if the library user is the minor’s parent/legal guardian and the minor is under ten (10) years of age.
It is to be noted that, as Wallington is part of the BCCLS library consortium, library users’ information may also be located at the BCCLS headquarters in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Wallington, BCCLS, and all of its member libraries consider library users’ privacy to be of the utmost importance. More information on BCCLS confidentiality and privacy policies can be found by visiting the Policies & Legal notices page on their website: https://www.bccls.org/about_BCCLS/policies.shtml
If disclosure of a library user’s record(s) is required pursuant to a court order, the Wallington Library will abide by the following procedures:
Any requests for library user’s information will be referred to the Library Director, or Supervising Library Assistant in the Director’s absence. The Library Director or Supervising Library Assistant will explain the Library’s policy and New Jersey Law.
If any library staff member is presented with a subpoena, the staff member will refer the presenter to the Library Director/Supervising Library Assistant, who will contact the Borough’s attorney to verify the validity and advise the library on what action to take. The Library Director/Supervising Library Assistant will also contact the Library Board President as well as the Borough Administrator.
If any library staff member is presented with a search warrant from law enforcement, the staff member is not to interfere with their search and seizure. The staff member will contact the Library Director/Supervising Library Assistant as soon as possible. The Library Director/Supervising Library Assistant will ask law enforcement to allow for consultation with the Borough’s attorney and to allow the attorney to be present during the search. The Borough’s attorney will be contacted either way along with the Library Board President and the Borough Administrator. A search warrant must be specific to the information requested and information outside of the scope of the search warrant should not be released.
In either the case of a subpoena or a search warrant, records shall be kept of all legal requests and all costs incurred by the Wallington Library, including additional staff time and replacement of equipment.
As a public institution, the Wallington Library is legally required to comply with information requests pursuant to the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, P.L. 107-56, Oct 26, 2001).
Under the USA Patriot Act, the person whose records are subject to a search warrant may not be notified that a search warrant has been served. The Library Director/Supervising Library Assistant or the Borough’s attorney may be contacted without a violation of the act. Library staff shall not inform anyone else of the existence of the search warrant.
The USA Patriot Act permits the FBI to get a search warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to retrieve library usage records of someone who is under investigation of involvement in an ongoing terrorist or intelligence investigation. Please note that the USA Patriot Act requires a search warrant and not a subpoena. A search warrant can be executed immediately upon service, while a subpoena allows a party a period of time to respond to and contest.
The information above is for general information purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice. Library users should consult their own legal counsel before taking action on the information provided here. Library staff should bring any questions to the Library Director who will consult with the Borough’s attorney before providing answers.
SECURITY CAMERA POLICY
The Wallington Library strives to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for its patrons and staff. As such, certain areas of the Library are equipped with security cameras to protect patrons, staff, assets, and property, and to identify persons breaking the law or violating the Library’s Patron Rules of Conduct Policy. The Library ensures that video monitoring and recording will be conducted in a manner consistent with all existing local and applicable laws and ordinances.
Reasonable efforts are made to safeguard the privacy of patrons and employees in the Library. The security cameras are positioned to record only those areas where staff and patrons would not have an expectation of privacy. Examples include common areas of the Library such as the entrance, stairwell, near book and media collections, public seating, and the circulation desk. Cameras will not be installed in areas where staff and patrons have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms; nor are they positioned to identify a person’s reading, viewing, or listening activities in the Library. Camera locations shall not be changed or added without the permission of the Library Director.
Only the Library Director and designated staff will have access to live camera images and recorded data. The Library Board of Trustees may access relevant recordings if the Director is involved in an incident. Members of the public will not have access to live camera feeds or recordings. Video records and still photographs may be used by authorized individuals to identify those responsible for policy violations, criminal activity on Library property, or actions considered disruptive to normal Library operations. Video recordings and still photographs may be shared with authorized Library employees to identify those suspended from Library property. Under certain circumstances, authorized individuals may use a still photograph or recorded data to request law enforcement review for accessing the security risk of a specific individual or for investigating a crime on Library property.
Library staff are required to refer any law enforcement requests for security camera footage or still photographs to the Library Director, or a member of the Library Board of Trustees in the Director’s absence. The Library does not make security camera footage or still photographs available to any agency of federal, state, or local government unless a subpoena, warrant, or court order is issued pursuant to law. Before complying with any such requests, the Borough’s attorney may be consulted. In the event of a search warrant, which is executable immediately, Library staff will comply with the warrant and consult the Borough’s attorney if necessary. Upon receipt of a subpoena or other court order, Library staff shall consult with the Borough’s attorney to determine if the document is in proper form and that good cause for its issuance in a court of proper jurisdiction is demonstrated.
Images from the Library’s security camera system are stored digitally on hardware in the Library. Footage is kept confidential, and recording equipment is housed in an area restricted from public access. Recordings are kept for no longer than three (3) days, unless required as part of an ongoing investigation or litigation.
A breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, in the case of an employee, or revocation of Library privileges, in the case of a member of the public. Any Library employee who becomes aware of any unauthorized disclosure of a video record and/or potential privacy breach has a responsibility to immediately inform the Library Director.
Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees on March 18, 2021.