- Policy; Library Records: It is the policy of the Lyon Township Public Library to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of Library Records to the fullest extent permitted by law. A “Library Record” pursuant to the Michigan Library Privacy Act and for the purpose of this policy means a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that contains information that personally identifies a library patron, including the patron’s name, address, or telephone number, or that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials from a library. “Library Record” does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general.
Pursuant to the Library Privacy Act, unless ordered by a court after giving the affected library notice of the request and an opportunity to be heard on the request, the Library or an employee or agent of a Library shall not release or disclose a Library Record or portion of a Library Record to a person without the written consent of the person liable for payment for or return of the materials identified in that Library Record. This Policy also prohibits disclosure of whether or not a person has a library card unless required by law or this Policy.
The library takes seriously its obligation to protect the privacy of every patron, as required by law. This commitment to patron’s privacy may appear to cause inconvenience on occasion. However, this is a small price to pay for the assurance that an individual’s reading preferences and use of the library will remain exclusively his or her own business.
To that end, Library Records or other confidential information shall be released or disclosed only as provided for herein or otherwise provided by Michigan Law.
- Freedom of Information Act Requests: All written requests for public records that are not subpoenas or other legal process must be processed according to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).
A. Receipt of Request. When the Library receives a FOIA request, the Library employee shall immediately provide a copy of the request to the Library Director. A FOIA request includes any written request for documents, information or records. If an individual makes a verbal request, the Library employee shall contact the Library Director immediately regarding the request.
B. FOIA Coordinator. The Library Director shall be the FOIA Coordinator and shall be responsible for providing written responses to FOIA requests. Pursuant to the FOIA, the Library has five (5) business days to respond to the request; however, the FOIA provides that the response time may be extended for an additional ten (10) business days upon written notice to requester.
C. Exemptions. The FOIA permits the Library to exempt certain documents from disclosure. The exemptions that assist in protecting patron privacy include but are not limited to the following:
1. Statutory Exemptions. Pursuant to the Library Privacy Act, Library Records are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). According to the FOIA, the Library may refuse to disclose documents exempt by statute, such as the Library Privacy Act. Thus, Library Records are exempt under the FOIA and under the Privacy Act.
2. Privacy. Other records not covered under the definition of “Library Record” but are considered confidential may be exempt from disclosure because the release of the record would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy under Section 13(1)(a) of the FOIA.
3. Other Exemptions. Section 13 of the FOIA contains other exemptions to further protect other library records, including but not limited to exemptions from disclosing social security numbers and attorney-client privileged information.
D. Action by FOIA Coordinator. Within the time required by the FOIA, the FOIA Coordinator shall respond in writing to a FOIA request. The FOIA Coordinator has the duty to determine if any requested record is exempt from disclosure.
E. Consultation with Attorney. The FOIA Coordinator has the authority to consult with the Library Attorney regarding any matter related to a FOIA request.
- State or local Subpoenas or Court Orders: Any employee of the Lyon Township Public Library who is served with a subpoena, court order, or other legal process to release or disclose any Library Record or other library document from a State or Local law enforcement agency shall promptly notify the Library Director, or his or her designee. If neither is available, the Library Board President shall be contacted.
A. Consultation with Attorney. The Library Director, his or her designee, or the Board President has the authority to consult with the Library Attorney regarding the sufficiency, scope or any other matter related to the subpoena, court order or other legal process.
B. Action by Library Director. After review of the subpoena or court order the Library Director, his or her designee, or the Board President shall take appropriate action to respond.
C. Opportunity to be Heard. The Library may appear and be represented by counsel at a hearing regarding the subpoena.
D. Confidentiality. If a subpoena, court order or other legal process is submitted to the Library by the State or Local Agency, the Library shall maintain the confidentiality as permitted by court order or Michigan law.
- Federal Subpoenas or Court Orders or other document: Any employee of the Lyon Township Public Library who is served with a subpoena, court order, or other legal process to release or disclose any Library Record or other library document from a federal law enforcement agency shall promptly notify the Library Director, or his or her designee.
A. Opportunity to be Heard: The Lyon Township Public Library retains any rights it may have to legal process or opportunities to be heard regarding a federal subpoena, court order and other legal process as permitted by law.
B. Consultation with Attorney. The Library Director has the authority to consult with the Library Attorney regarding the sufficiency, scope or any other matter related to the subpoena, court order or other legal process.
C. Action by Library Director. After review of the subpoena, court order or other legal process, the Library Director shall take appropriate action to respond. The Library Board acknowledges that the Library Director, if required by order or subpoena, may not be permitted to inform the Board that the federal law enforcement agency has requested records.
D. Confidentiality. If a subpoena, court order or other legal process is submitted to the Library by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and if required by such subpoena, court order, other legal process or law, no person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under Section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.)) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained such tangible things. The Library may not be able to inform the patron that his or her records were sought.
- Consent: In compliance with the amended Michigan Library Privacy Act a person who is liable for the payment or return of the materials identified in a Library Record or portion of a record may consent to the release of that record. Further, a parent or legal guardian who signs to accept legal responsibility for return of his/her child’s (under the age of 18) library materials and accepts financial liability for that child’s library fines and other charges, may authorize the disclosure of the minor’s library records by signing the disclosure and release statement granting consent on behalf of the minor.
- Patron Behavior: The Lyon Township Public Library’s policy is to protect the privacy if its patrons. However, if any employee observes any behavior by a patron that the employee believes is harassing, disrupting or otherwise violating Library policy, the employee shall report such behavior to the Library Director.
Initiated: August 11, 2009
Approved: August 25, 2009
Reviewed: August 27, 2013