IC Library Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records

IC Library Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records

It is the policy of the Ithaca College Library that the privacy of all users shall be respected in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards. All records relating to an individual patron’s use of the Library and its resources are confidential. These records may be consulted and used by staff in the course of carrying out library operations and will not be disclosed to others unless pursuant to a subpoena or court order, or where otherwise permitted by law. This policy applies to all resources regardless of their format or means of delivery as well as to all services offered by the Library.

The library will forward any law-enforcement request for patron information to the college attorney’s office. Under no circumstances will library staff release the name of a patron who has an item checked out, or other identifiable information of library users. If Ithaca College Library staff are contacted by a law enforcement official with a request for library records, the request will be referred to the College Office of the General Counsel at (607) 274-3836.

To protect the privacy of library patrons, we have procedures in place that minimize the retention of library patron information.

Confidentiality of library records is governed by New York CPLR 4509

Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.

Questions regarding CPLR 4509 and its relevance to the Ithaca College Library should be addressed to the IC Division of Legal Affairs, 319 Peggy Ryan Williams Center, Ithaca, NY 14850.

USA Patriot Act of 2001

Under the Patriot Act, federal law enforcement officials are required to obtain a court order before educational records are released. In order to obtain a court order, a U.S. assistant attorney general or higher ranking official must certify that the records are relevant to a terrorism investigation.

Data Retention


The Ithaca College Library does not disclose titles charged to individual borrowers except as required by law. Once an item has been returned, the library system does not retain a record of that transaction, except when a fine or fee has accrued. In this instance, information on the transaction is retained until two years after the patron leaves Ithaca College.

Interlibrary Loan

User information connected to ILL requests is retained for three academic years. Anonymized citation information is retained for five years, except when a fine or free has accrued. In this instance, information on the transaction is retained until two years after the patron leaves Ithaca College. Anonymized ILL information may be used by library staff for collection development and fulfillment purposes.

Licensed Resources and Services

The library’s electronic resources are licensed from outside vendors. We expect these vendors to adhere to the most current security practices and to protect personal data. The library is not responsible for the policies of third party vendors.

Purchase Requests

User information connected to purchase requests and items-in-process is contained in the library’s resource management system so that users can be notified when items are available. This confidential information is not shared outside of the Library.

Reference Questions

Reference questions are treated as confidential. Email or text message questions submitted to reference@ithaca.edu are forwarded to a Gmail account. Reference transactions from all accounts (IC and Google) are deleted at the end of each semester. Information in Google is subject to the Google's Privacy Policy.

Library Website

The IC library website uses Google Analytics. This lets us see how patrons are using the site so that we can make improvements as necessary. All data is reported to Google anonymously. If a user prefers not to participate in Google Analytics, he or she can disable cookies in the browser, although doing so may interfere with the operation of certain non-IC sites to which the Library links, including databases.

Library Assessment Projects

From time to time, the Library conducts research on user behavior in order to improve our services. This may take the form of surveys or usability tests for web resources. Any data collected in such studies is considered confidential and will only be shared in aggregated, anonymous form. These studies are conducted in accordance with the policies of IC’s Institutional Review Board.