ALA

Resolution on the Retention of Library Usage Records

Resolution on the Retention of Library Usage Records

WHEREAS, "Protecting user privacy and confidentiality is necessary for intellectual freedom and fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship" (ALA Policy Manual, 53.1.16; Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights); and

WHEREAS, Library usage records containing personally identifiable information (PII) are maintained for the sole purpose of effectively managing library resources; and

WHEREAS, The confidentiality of library usage records is protected by law in all fifty states and in the District of Columbia (see http://www.ala.org/oif/stateprivacylaws); and

WHEREAS, "The government's interest in library use represents a dangerous and fallacious equation of what a person reads with what that person believes or how that person is likely to behave" (ALA Policy Manual, 52.4.2; Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information About Library Users); and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association strongly recommends the adoption of policies recognizing "circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials to be confidential" (ALA Policy Manual, 52.4; Confidentiality of Library Records); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges all libraries to:

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges all libraries to adopt or update a privacy policy protecting users' personally identifiable information, communicating to library users how their information is used, and explaining the limited circumstances under which personally identifiable information could be disclosed; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges members of the library community to advocate that records retention laws and regulations limit retention of library usage records containing personally identifiable information to the time needed for efficient operation of the library.


Adopted by the Council of the American Library Association
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
New Orleans, Louisiana