State Laws on the Confidentiality of Library Records

Ohio - Wyoming


State laws are accessible through a variety of sources, both commercial and free. Three free sites are:

American Law Sources On-line (LawSource, Inc.)
FindLaw (Thomson)
WashLaw Web (Washburn University School of Law)

NOTICE: This page is current through June 9, 2011.

Legislators in the following states introduced bills in 2011that, if passed, will affect the privacy interests of library users. The text of proposed legislation is added below each state's current law.

2011
Rhode Island- H 5809 - Referred to House Judiciary - 04/13/2011 Committee recommended measure be held for further study



Ohio General Assembly
Ohio Revised Code
Section 149-432. Release of library record or patron information.
(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Library" means a library that is open to the public, including any of the following:

(a) A library that is maintained and regulated under section 715.13 of the Revised Code;
(b) A library that is created, maintained, and regulated under Chapter 3375 of the Revised Code;
(c) A library that is created and maintained by a public or private school, college, university, or other educational institution;
(d) A library that is created and maintained by a historical or charitable organization, institution, association, or society.
"Library" includes the members of the governing body and the employees of a library.

(2) "Library record" means a record in any form that is maintained by a library and that contains any of the following types of information:

(a) Information that the library requires an individual to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials;
(b) Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a particular subject;
(c) Information that is provided by an individual to assist a library staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject.

"Library record" does not include information that does not identify any individual and that is retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the use of a library and its materials and services.

(3) Subject to division (B)(5) of this section, "patron information" means personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or borrowed any library materials.

(B) A library shall not release any library record or disclose any patron information except in the following situations:

(1) If a library record or patron information pertaining to a minor child is requested from a library by the minor child's parent, guardian, or custodian, the library shall make that record or information available to the parent, guardian, or custodian in accordance with division (B) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.

(2) Library records or patron information shall be released in the following situations:

(a) In accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order;
(b) To a law enforcement officer who is acting in the scope of the officer's law enforcement duties and who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.

(3) A library record or patron information shall be released upon the request or with the consent of the individual who is the subject of the record or information.

(4) Library records may be released for administrative library purposes, including establishment or maintenance of a system to manage the library records or to assist in the transfer of library records from one records management system to another, compilation of statistical data on library use, and collection of fines and penalties.

(5) A library may release under division (B) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code records that document improper use of the internet at the library so long as any patron information is removed from those records. As used in division (B)(5) of this section, "patron information" does not include information about the age or gender of an individual.

Effective Date: 10-05-2000; 11-05-2004


Oklahoma Legislature
Oklahoma Statutes
Section 65-1-105. Disclosure of records.
A. Any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds including but not limited to public, academic, school or special libraries, and having records indicating which of its documents or other materials, regardless of format, have been loaned to or used by an identifiable individual or group shall not disclose such records to any person except to:

1. Persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library;
2. Persons authorized to inspect such records, in writing, by the individual or group; or
3. By order of a court of law.

B. The requirements of this section shall not prohibit middle and elementary school libraries from maintaining a system of records that identifies the individual or group to whom library materials have been loaned even if such system permits a determination, independent of any disclosure of such information by the library, that documents or materials have been loaned to an individual or group.

Added by Laws 1985, c. 81, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1985. Amended by Laws 1986, c. 98, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1986.



Oregon State Legislature
Oregon Revised Statutes
192-502 Other public records exempt from disclosure

The following public records are exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.410 to 192.505:

....

(22) The records of a library, including:
(a) Circulation records, showing use of specific library material by a named person;
(b) The name of a library patron together with the address or telephone number of the
patron; and
(c) The electronic mail address of a patron.



Pennsylvania General Assembly
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Section 4428. Library circulation records.

Records related to the circulation of library materials which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of the State Library or any local library which is established or maintained under any law of the Commonwealth or the library of any university, college or educational institution chartered by the Commonwealth or the library of any public school or branch reading room, deposit station or agency operated in connection therewith, shall be confidential and shall not be made available to anyone except by a court order in a criminal proceeding.


State of Rhode Island General Assembly
Rhode Island General Laws
Section 11-18-32. Video, audio and publication rentals.

(a) It is unlawful for any person to reveal, transmit, publish, or disseminate in any manner, any records which would identify the names and addresses of individuals, with the titles or nature of video films, records, cassettes, or the like, which they purchased, leased, rented, or borrowed, from libraries, book stores, video stores, or record and cassette shops or any retailer or distributor of those products, whether or not the identities and listings are kept in a remote computing service or electronic storage or the disclosure is made through or by a remote computing service. It is not unlawful to make disclosures to other employees of the library or business that are incident to the normal course of their work or pursuant to lawful compulsion.
(b) All records of these transactions shall be maintained as confidential and may only be released by written waiver.
(c) Any person, firm, or corporation violating the provisions of this section shall be punished for each violation by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both.
(d) Any person injured as a result of a violation of this section for each violation may bring a civil action against the violator for actual damages or for two hundred fifty dollars ($250), whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs.

Section 38-2-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:
(1) "Agency" or "public body" shall mean any executive, legislative, judicial, regulatory, or administrative body of the state, or any political subdivision thereof; including, but not limited to, any department, division, agency, commission, board, office, bureau, authority, any school, fire, or water district, or other agency of Rhode Island state or local government which exercises governmental functions, any authority as defined in § 42-35-1(b), or any other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting on behalf of and/or in place of any public agency.

(2) "Chief administrative officer" means the highest authority of the public body as defined in subsection (a) of this section.

(3) "Public business" means any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.

(4) (i) "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data processing records, computer stored data (including electronic mail messages, except specifically for any electronic mail messages of or to elected officials with or relating to those they represent and correspondence of or to elected officials in their official capacities) or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. For the purposes of this chapter, the following records shall not be deemed public:

.....

(U) Library records which by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library user requesting, checking out, or using any library materials.

(ii) However, any reasonably segregable portion of a public record excluded by this section shall be available for public inspections after the deletion of the information which is the basis of the exclusion, if disclosure of the segregable portion does not violate the intent of this section.

(5) "Supervisor of the regulatory body" means the chief or head of a section having enforcement responsibility for a particular statute or set of rules and regulations within a regulatory agency.

(6) "Prevailing plaintiff" means and shall include those persons and entities deemed prevailing parties pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.


2011 -- H 5809
Introduced By: Representatives Marcello, Serpa, Silva, Ajello, and Keable
Date Introduced: March 03, 2011
Referred To: House Judiciary - 04/13/2011 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

A N A C T
RELATING TO PUBLIC RECORDS - ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS

Several changes are proposed to this law, most of which is not applicable to libraries. Section (U), which deals directly with libraries, is unchanged. There are changes to (ii), (5), and (6) which are detailed below.

Bold = new
underline = proposed deletions

(5) (6) "Prevailing plaintiff" means and shall include those persons and entities deemed defined as prevailing parties pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1988. and shall also include plaintiffs who obtain any relief as a result of filing suit, whether or not a formal judgment is entered in their favor.

(6) "Pension records" shall inc lude all records containing information concerning pension and retirement benefits of current and retired members of the retirement systems and members of said systems, including all records concerning retirement credits purchased and the ability of any member of the retirement system to purchase retirement credits, but excluding all information regarding the medical condition of any person and all information identifying the member's designated beneficiary or beneficiaries.


Section (ii) above is deleted in its entirety. It is altered and moved under:

38-2-3. Right to inspect and copy records -- Duty to maintain minutes of meetings --

(b) Any reasonably segregable portion of a public record excluded by subdivision 38-2-2(4) shall be available for public inspection after the deletion of the information which is the basis of the exclusion, if disclosure of the segregable portion does not violate the intent of this section. If an entire document or record is deemed non-public, the public body shall certify in writing that no portion of the document or record contains reasonable segregable information that is releasable.


S 0680 would drop section (5) above and alter (6) but these changes would not have any effect upon library privacy issues.


South Carolina Legislature
South Carolina Code of Laws
Section 60-4-10. Records identifying library patrons as confidential information; disclosure.

Records related to registration and circulation of library materials which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, private, school, college, technical college, university, and state institutional libraries and library systems, supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, are confidential information.

Records which by themselves or when examined with other public records would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item from the library or using other library services are confidential information.

The confidential records do not include nonidentifying administrative and statistical reports of registration and circulation.

The confidential records may not be disclosed except to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library or library system or persons authorized by the library patron to inspect his records, or in accordance with proper judicial order upon a finding that the disclosure of the records is necessary to protect public safety, to prosecute a crime, or upon showing of good cause before the presiding Judge in a civil matter.

Section 60-4-20. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the term "registration records" includes any information which 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 which identifies the patrons borrowing particular books and other materials.

Section 60-4-30. Penalties.

Any person violating the provisions of Section 60-4-10 must upon conviction be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days for the first offense, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than sixty days for the second offense, and must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety days for the third or subsequent offense.


Section 30-4-10. Short Title.

This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Freedom of Information Act".

Section 30-4-20. Definitions.

(a) "Public body" means any department of the State, any state board, commission, agency, and authority, any public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, including committees, subcommittees, advisory committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known, and includes any quasi-governmental body of the State and its political subdivisions, including, without limitation, bodies such as the South Carolina Public Service Authority and the South Carolina State Ports Authority. Committees of health care facilities, which are subject to this chapter, for medical staff disciplinary proceedings, quality assurance, peer review, including the medical staff credentialing process, specific medical case review, and self-evaluation, are not public bodies for the purpose of this chapter.

(b) "Person" includes any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, organization or association.

(c) "Public record" includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body. Records such as income tax returns, medical records, hospital medical staff reports, scholastic records, adoption records, records related to registration, and circulation of library materials which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, private, school, college, technical college, university, and state institutional libraries and library systems, supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, or records which reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item from the library or using other library services, except nonidentifying administrative and statistical reports of registration and circulation, and other records which by law are required to be closed to the public are not considered to be made open to the public under the provisions of this act; nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of those records where the public body, prior to January 20, 1987, by a favorable vote of three-fourths of the membership, taken after receipt of a written request, concluded that the public interest was best served by not disclosing them. Nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of records of the Board of Financial Institutions pertaining to applications and surveys for charters and branches of banks and savings and loan associations or surveys and examinations of the institutions required to be made by law. Information relating to security plans and devices proposed, adopted, installed, or utilized by a public body, other than amounts expended for adoption, implementation, or installation of these plans and devices, is required to be closed to the public and is not considered to be made open to the public under the provisions of this act.

(d) "Meeting" means the convening of a quorum of the constituent membership of a public body, whether corporal or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

(e) "Quorum" unless otherwise defined by applicable law means a simple majority of the constituent membership of a public body.



South Dakota Legislature: Legislative Research Council
South Dakota Codified Laws
Section 14-2-51. Confidential library records.

All public library records containing personally identifiable information are confidential. Any information contained in public library records may not be released except by court order or upon request of a parent of a child who is under eighteen years of age. As used in this section, "personally identifiable" means any information a library maintains that would identify a patron. Acts by library officers or employees in maintaining a check out system are not violations of this section.

Source: SL 1983, ch 154, § 1.


Section 1-27-1.5. Certain records not open to inspection and copying.

The following records are not subject to §§ 1-27-1, 1-27-1.1, and 1-27-1.3:

....

(11) Records or portions of records kept by a publicly funded library which, when examined with or without other records, reveal the identity of any library patron using the library's materials or services;


Tennessee General Assembly
Tennessee Code
Section 10-8-101. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Library" means:

(A) A library that is open to the public and established or operated by:

(i) The state, a county, city, town, school district or any other political subdivision of the state;
(ii) A combination of governmental units or authorities;
(iii) A university or community college; or (B) Any private library that is open to the public; and

(2) "Library record" means a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific information or materials from such 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.

Section 10-8-102. Disclosure prohibited -- Exceptions.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), no employee of a library shall disclose any library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials, information, or services or as having otherwise used such library. Such library records shall be considered an exception to the provisions of Section 10-7-503.

(b) Library records may be disclosed under the following circumstances:

(1) Upon the written consent of the library user;
(2) Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(3) When used to seek reimbursement for or the return of lost, stolen, misplaced or otherwise overdue library materials.

Section 10-8-103. Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to libraries included within the provisions of chapters 1 and 3-5 of this title.

[Acts 1988, ch. 889, § 1.]


Texas Legislature
Texas Statutes
Government Code: Section 552-124. Exception: Records of Library or Library System.

(a) A record of a library or library system, supported in whole or in part by public funds, that identifies or serves to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service is excepted from the requirements of Section 552-021 unless the record is disclosed:

(1) because the library or library system determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library or library system and the record is not confidential under other state or federal law;

(2) under Section 552-023; or

(3) to a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor under a court order or subpoena obtained after a showing to a district court that:

(A) disclosure of the record is necessary to protect the public safety; or

(B) the record is evidence of an offense or constitutes evidence that a particular person committed an offense.

(b) A record of a library or library system that is excepted from required disclosure under this section is confidential.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.03(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


See also Attorney General opinions.


Utah State Legislature
Utah Code
Section 63G-2-302. Private records.

(1) The following records are private:

.....

(c) records of publicly funded libraries that when examined alone or with other records identify a patron;


Section 63G-2-202. Access to private, controlled, and protected documents.

(1) Upon request, and except as provided in Subsection (11)(a), a governmental entity shall disclose a private record to:
(a) the subject of the record;
(b) the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who is the subject of the record;
(c) the legal guardian of a legally incapacitated individual who is the subject of the record;
(d) any other individual who:
(i) has a power of attorney from the subject of the record;
(ii) submits a notarized release from the subject of the record or the individual's legal representative dated no more than 90 days before the date the request is made; or
(iii) if the record is a medical record described in Subsection 63G-2-302(1)(b), is a health care provider, as defined in Section 26-33a-102, if releasing the record or information in the record is consistent with normal professional practice and medical ethics; or
(e) any person to whom the record must be provided pursuant to:
(i) court order as provided in Subsection (7); or
(ii) a legislative subpoena as provided in Title 36, Chapter 14, Legislative Subpoena Powers.

(2) (a) Upon request, a governmental entity shall disclose a controlled record to:
(i) a physician, psychologist, certified social worker, insurance provider or producer, or a government public health agency upon submission of:
(A) a release from the subject of the record that is dated no more than 90 days prior to the date the request is made; and
(B) a signed acknowledgment of the terms of disclosure of controlled information as provided by Subsection (2)(b); and
(ii) any person to whom the record must be disclosed pursuant to:
(A) a court order as provided in Subsection (7); or
(B) a legislative subpoena as provided in Title 36, Chapter 14, Legislative Subpoena Powers.
(b) A person who receives a record from a governmental entity in accordance with Subsection (2)(a)(i) may not disclose controlled information from that record to any person, including the subject of the record.

(3) If there is more than one subject of a private or controlled record, the portion of the record that pertains to another subject shall be segregated from the portion that the requester is entitled to inspect.

(4) Upon request, and except as provided in Subsection (10) or (11)(b), a governmental entity shall disclose a protected record to:
(a) the person who submitted the record;
(b) any other individual who:
(i) has a power of attorney from all persons, governmental entities, or political subdivisions whose interests were sought to be protected by the protected classification; or
(ii) submits a notarized release from all persons, governmental entities, or political subdivisions whose interests were sought to be protected by the protected classification or from their legal representatives dated no more than 90 days prior to the date the request is made;
(c) any person to whom the record must be provided pursuant to:
(i) a court order as provided in Subsection (7); or
(ii) a legislative subpoena as provided in Title 36, Chapter 14, Legislative Subpoena Powers; or
(d) the owner of a mobile home park, subject to the conditions of Subsection 41-1a-116(5).

(5) A governmental entity may disclose a private, controlled, or protected record to another governmental entity, political subdivision, another state, the United States, or a foreign government only as provided by Section 63G-2-206.

(6) Before releasing a private, controlled, or protected record, the governmental entity shall obtain evidence of the requester's identity.

(7) A governmental entity shall disclose a record pursuant to the terms of a court order signed by a judge from a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that:
(a) the record deals with a matter in controversy over which the court has jurisdiction;
(b) the court has considered the merits of the request for access to the record;
(c) the court has considered and, where appropriate, limited the requester's use and further disclosure of the record in order to protect:
(i) privacy interests in the case of private or controlled records;
(ii) business confidentiality interests in the case of records protected under Subsection 63G-2-305(1), (2), (40)(a)(ii), or (40)(a)(vi); and
(iii) privacy interests or the public interest in the case of other protected records;
(d) to the extent the record is properly classified private, controlled, or protected, the interests favoring access, considering limitations thereon, outweigh the interests favoring restriction of access; and
(e) where access is restricted by a rule, statute, or regulation referred to in Subsection 63G-2-201(3)(b), the court has authority independent of this chapter to order disclosure.

(8) (a) A governmental entity may disclose or authorize disclosure of private or controlled records for research purposes if the governmental entity:
(i) determines that the research purpose cannot reasonably be accomplished without use or disclosure of the information to the researcher in individually identifiable form;
(ii) determines that:
(A) the proposed research is bona fide; and
(B) the value of the research outweighs the infringement upon personal privacy;
(iii) (A) requires the researcher to assure the integrity, confidentiality, and security of the records; and
(B) requires the removal or destruction of the individual identifiers associated with the records as soon as the purpose of the research project has been accomplished;
(iv) prohibits the researcher from:
(A) disclosing the record in individually identifiable form, except as provided in Subsection (8)(b); or
(B) using the record for purposes other than the research approved by the governmental entity; and
(v) secures from the researcher a written statement of the researcher's understanding of and agreement to the conditions of this Subsection (8) and the researcher's understanding that violation of the terms of this Subsection (8) may subject the researcher to criminal prosecution
under Section 63G-2-801.
(b) A researcher may disclose a record in individually identifiable form if the record is disclosed for the purpose of auditing or evaluating the research program and no subsequent use or disclosure of the record in individually identifiable form will be made by the auditor or evaluator except as provided by this section.
(c) A governmental entity may require indemnification as a condition of permitting research under this Subsection (8).

(9) (a) Under Subsections 63G-2-201(5)(b) and 63G-2-401(6), a governmental entity may disclose to persons other than those specified in this section records that are:
(i) private under Section 63G-2-302; or
(ii) protected under Section 63G-2-305 subject to Section 63G-2-309 if a claim for business confidentiality has been made under Section 63G-2-309.
(b) Under Subsection 63G-2-403(11)(b), the records committee may require the disclosure to persons other than those specified in this section of records that are:
(i) private under Section 63G-2-302;
(ii) controlled under Section 63G-2-304; or
(iii) protected under Section 63G-2-305 subject to Section 63G-2-309 if a claim for business confidentiality has been made under Section 63G-2-309.
(c) Under Subsection 63G-2-404(8), the court may require the disclosure of records that are private under Section 63G-2-302, controlled under Section 63G-2-304, or protected under Section 63G-2-305 to persons other than those specified in this section.

(10) A record contained in the Management Information System, created in Section 62A-4a-1003, that is found to be unsubstantiated, unsupported, or without merit may not be disclosed to any person except the person who is alleged in the report to be a perpetrator of abuse, neglect, or dependency.

(11) (a) A private record described in Subsection 63G-2-302(2)(f) may only be disclosed as provided in Subsection (1)(e).
(b) A protected record described in Subsection 63G-2-305(43) may only be disclosed as provided in Subsection (4)(c) or Section 62A-3-312.

(12) (a) A private, protected, or controlled record described in Section 62A-16-301 shall be disclosed as required under:
(i) Subsections 62A-16-301(1)(b), (2), and (4)(c); and
(ii) Subsection 62A-16-302(1).
(b) A record disclosed under Subsection (12)(a) shall retain its character as private, protected, or controlled.

Amended by Chapter 239, 2010 General Session


State of Vermont Legislature
Vermont Statutes
Title 1: Section 317. Definitions; public agency; public records and documents.

(a) As used in this subchapter, "public agency" or "agency" means any agency, board, department, commission, committee, branch, instrumentality, or authority of the state or any agency, board, committee, department, branch, instrumentality, commission, or authority of any political subdivision of the state.

(b) As used in this subchapter, "public record" or "public document" means any written or recorded information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which is produced or acquired in the course of public agency business. Individual salaries and benefits of and salary schedules relating to elected or appointed officials and employees of public agencies shall not be exempt from public inspection and copying.

(c) The following public records are exempt from public inspection and copying:

…..

(19) records relating to the identity of library patrons or the identity of library patrons in regard to library patron registration records and patron transaction records in accordance with chapter 4 of Title 22;


Title 22: Chapter 4 - Library Patron Records

§ 171. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Library" means a public library as defined in subdivision 101(2) of this title, any college, university, or school library, or any other library or archive that is open on a regular basis and makes available on site, or circulates, materials to the public without a fee.

(2) "Patron registration records" means library records that contain information a library patron must provide in order to be eligible for borrowing privileges at a library.

(3) "Patron transaction records" means library records that contain names or other personal identifying information that discloses an individual's activities within a library, including the materials that have been viewed in print or electronic form, research questions posed, materials in any format that the patron has requested through interlibrary loan or has borrowed, or any other library service or consultation that the patron has requested. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 172. Library record confidentiality; exemptions
(a) A library's patron registration records and patron transaction records shall remain confidential.
(b) Unless authorized by other provisions of law, the library's officers, employees, and volunteers shall not disclose the records except:
(1) with the written permission of the library patron to whom the records pertain;
(2) to officers, employees, volunteers, and agents of the library to the extent necessary for library administration purposes;
(3) in response to an authorized judicial order or warrant directing disclosure;
(4) to custodial parents or guardians of patrons under age 16;
(5) to the custodial parents or guardians of a student, in accordance with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, by the library at the school the student attends.
(c) Statistical records pertaining to the patronage, circulation activities, and use of any service or consultation the library provides, provided that they do not contain the names of patrons or any other personally identifying information, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 173. Right of patron action
Any person whose confidential patron registration records or patron transaction records have been disclosed, except as provided in this chapter, is authorized to bring a civil action against the library that disclosed the records. (Added 2007, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)



Virginia General Assembly
Code of Virginia
Section 2.2-3705.7. Exclusions to application of chapter; records of specific public bodies and certain other limited exemptions.

A. The following records are excluded from the provisions of this chapter but may be disclosed by the custodian in his discretion, except where such disclosure is prohibited by law:

.....

3. Library records that can be used to identify both (i) any library patron who has borrowed material from a library and (ii) the material such patron borrowed.


Section 2.2-3705.8. Limitation on record exclusions.
A. Neither any provision of this chapter nor any provision of Chapter 38 (2.2-3800 et seq.) of this title shall be construed as denying public access to (i) contracts between a public body and its officers or employees, other than contracts settling public employee employment disputes held confidential as personnel records under 2.2-3705.1; (ii) records of the position, job classification, official salary or rate of pay of, and records of the allowances or reimbursements for expenses paid to any officer, official or employee of a public body; or (iii) the compensation or benefits paid by any corporation organized by the Virginia Retirement System or its officers or employees.
The provisions of this subsection, however, shall not require public access to records of the official salaries or rates of pay of public employees whose annual rate of pay is $10,000 or less.

B. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as denying public access to the nonexempt portions of a report of a consultant hired by or at the request of a local public body or the mayor or chief executive or administrative officer of such public body if (i) the contents of such report have been distributed or disclosed to members of the local public body or (ii) the local public body has scheduled any action on a matter that is the subject of the consultant's report.


NOTE: It is within the discretion of the records' custodian whether to release library records to the parent of a minor for the purpose of identifying and locating books checked out by the minor that are overdue. See opinion of Attorney General to The Honorable Robert G. Marshall, Member, House of Delegates, 02-002 (2/25/02).



Washington State Legislature
Revised Code of Washington
Section 42.56.210. Certain personal and other records exempt.

(1) Except for information described in RCW 42.56.230(3)(a) and confidential income data exempted from public inspection pursuant to RCW 84.40.020, the exemptions of this chapter are inapplicable to the extent that information, the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, can be deleted from the specific records sought. No exemption may be construed to permit the nondisclosure of statistical information not descriptive of any readily identifiable person or persons.

(2) Inspection or copying of any specific records exempt under the provisions of this chapter may be permitted if the superior court in the county in which the record is maintained finds, after a hearing with notice thereof to every person in interest and the agency, that the exemption of such records is clearly unnecessary to protect any individual's right of privacy or any vital governmental function.

(3) Agency responses refusing, in whole or in part, inspection of any public record shall include a statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record (or part) and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.

Section 42.56.310. Library records.

Any library record, the primary purpose of which is to maintain control of library materials, or to gain access to information, that discloses or could be used to disclose the identity of a library user is exempt from disclosure under this chapter.

[2005 c 274 § 411.]


West Virginia Legislature
West Virginia Code
Section 10-1-22. Confidential nature of certain library records.

(a) Circulation and similar records of any public library in this state which identify the user of library materials are not public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:

(1) To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business;
(2) Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
(3) Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.

(b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) does not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this section is not liable therefor.



Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin Statutes
Section 43-30. Public library records.

(1b) In this section:

(a) "Custodial parent" includes any parent other than a parent who has been denied periods of physical placement with a child under s. 767.41 (4).
(b) "Law enforcement officer" has the meaning given in s. 165.85 (2) (c).

(1m) Records of any library which is in whole or in part supported by public funds, including the records of a public library system, indicating the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services may not be disclosed except by court order or to persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the library or library system, to persons authorized by the individual to inspect such records, to custodial parents or guardians of children under the age of 16 under sub. (4), to libraries under subs. (2) and (3), or to law enforcement officers under sub. (5).

(2) A library supported in whole or in part by public funds may disclose an individual's identity to another library for the purpose of borrowing materials for the individual only if the library to which the individual's identity is being disclosed meets at least one of the following requirements:

(a) The library is supported in whole or in part by public funds.
(b) The library has a written policy prohibiting the disclosure of the identity of the individual except as authorized under sub. (3).
(c) The library agrees not to disclose the identity of the individual except as authorized under sub. (3).

(3) A library to which an individual's identity is disclosed under sub. (2) and that is not supported in whole or in part by public funds may disclose that individual's identity to another library for the purpose of borrowing materials for that individual only if the library to which the identity is being disclosed meets at least one of the requirements specified under sub. (2) (a) to (c).

(4) Upon the request of a custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16, a library supported in whole or part by public funds shall disclose to the custodial parent or guardian all library records relating to the use of the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services by that child.

(5) (a) Upon the request of a law enforcement officer who is investigating criminal conduct alleged to have occurred at a library supported in whole or in part by public funds, the library shall disclose to the law enforcement officer all records pertinent to the alleged criminal conduct that were produced by a surveillance device under the control of the library.

(b) If a library requests the assistance of a law enforcement officer, and the director of the library determines that records produced by a surveillance device under the control of the library may assist the law enforcement officer to render the requested assistance, the library may disclose the records to the law enforcement officer.

History: c.335; 1991 a. 269; 2003 a. 207; 2007 a. 34, 96; 2009 a 180.


Wyoming State Legislature
Wyoming Statutes
Section 16-4-203. Right of inspection; grounds for denial; access of news media; order permitting or restricting disclosure; exception.

(a) The custodian of any public records shall allow any person the right of inspection of the records or any portion thereof except on one (1) or more of the following grounds or as provided in subsection (b) or (d) of this section:

(i) The inspection would be contrary to any state statute;
(ii) The inspection would be contrary to any federal statute or regulation issued thereunder having the force and effect of law; or
(iii) The inspection is prohibited by rules promulgated by the supreme court or by the order of any court of record.

(b) The custodian may deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law, on the ground that disclosure to the applicant would be contrary to the public interest:

(i) Records of investigations conducted by, or of intelligence information or security procedures of, any sheriff, county attorney, city attorney, the attorney general, the state auditor, police department or any investigatory files compiled for any other law enforcement or prosecution purposes;
(ii) Test questions, scoring keys and other examination data pertaining to administration of a licensing examination and examination for employment or academic examination. Written promotional examinations and the scores or results thereof shall be available for inspection, but not copying or reproduction, by the person in interest after the examination has been conducted and graded;
(iii) The specific details of bona fide research projects being conducted by a state institution;
(iv) Except as otherwise provided by Wyoming statutes or for the owner of the property, the contents of real estate appraisals made for the state or a political subdivision thereof, relative to the acquisition of property or any interest in property for public use, until such time as title of the property or property interest has passed to the state or political subdivision. The contents of the appraisal shall be available to the owner of the property or property interest at any time;
(v) Interagency or intraagency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with the agency.
(vi) To the extent that the inspection would jeopardize the security of any structure owned, leased or operated by the state or any of its political subdivisions, facilitate the planning of a terrorist attack or endanger the life or physical safety of an individual, including:

.....

(c) If the right of inspection of any record falling within any of the classifications listed in this section is allowed to any officer or employee of any newspaper, radio station, television station or other person or agency in the business of public dissemination of news or current events, it may be allowed to all news media.

(d) The custodian shall deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law:

.....

(ix) Library patron transaction and registration records except as required for administration of the library or except as requested by a custodial parent or guardian to inspect the records of his minor child;


(e) If the custodian denies access to any public record, the applicant may request a written statement of the grounds for the denial. The statement shall cite the law or regulation under which access is denied and shall be furnished to the applicant.

(f) Any person denied the right to inspect any record covered by this act may apply to the district court of the district wherein the record is found for any order directing the custodian of the record to show cause why he should not permit the inspection of the record.

(g) If, in the opinion of the official custodian of any public record, disclosure of the contents of the record would do substantial injury to the public interest, notwithstanding the fact that the record might otherwise be available to public inspection, he may apply to the district court of the district in which the record is located for an order permitting him to restrict disclosure. After hearing, the court may issue an order upon a finding that disclosure would cause substantial injury to the public interest. The person seeking permission to examine the record shall have notice of the hearing served upon him in the manner provided for service of process by the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure and has the right to appear and be heard.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the following applies to the Wyoming natural diversity database located at the University of Wyoming and any report prepared by the custodian from that database:

(i) The custodian may charge a reasonable fee for searching the database and preparing a report from that database information. The interpretation of the database in a report shall not contain recommendations for restrictions on any public or private land use;
(ii) The custodian shall allow the inspection of all records in the database at a level of spatial precision equal to the township, but at no more precise level;
(iii) Research reports prepared by the custodian funded completely from nonstate sources are subject to paragraph (b)(iii) of this section;
(iv) Any record contained in the database pertaining to private land shall not be released by the University of Wyoming without the prior written consent of the landowner. Nothing in this paragraph prohibits the release of any information which would otherwise be available from any other information source available to the public if the original source is cited.



For questions or comments regarding this page, please contact Paul Neuhaus, Santa Clara University, at pneuhaus@scu.edu.
Page created December, 2002.
Last updated March 22, 2011.