San Rafael Public Library

Privacy Policy

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees, 06/14/16

Your Right to Privacy
The San Rafael Public Library recognizes the need to protect your right to privacy regarding the questions you ask and the materials you borrow both in analog and digital form. Protecting your privacy is important to us. This policy explains our information practices, what information the library collects, and how the library uses that information.

Legal Confidentiality of Library Records
Public Records Act, California Government Code Section 6267 mandates confidentiality of your registration and borrowing records. These records include any information which a library requires a library user to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and any information which identifies the library user borrowing particular books and other material. All library records relating to an individual library user’s use of the library and its resources are confidential. These records may be consulted and used by library staff in the course of carrying out library operations, but will not be disclosed to others except at the request or consent of the library user, or pursuant to subpoena, court order, or otherwise required by law.

The California Reader Privacy Act of 2011 (SB 602) updates reader privacy laws by mirroring in the digital the strong privacy and free speech standards for print information that have long existed in California law. This Act ensures that the government and third parties can’t demand access to private reading records (including digital books and media) from libraries, bookstores, or other entities without proper justification.

The San Rafael Public Library will not sell, lease, or otherwise distribute or disclose your email address, phone number, borrower records, or any other personal information for non-library purposes to outside parties unless required to do so by law.

The Information San Rafael Public Library Collects
The following applies to all information submitted to the San Rafael Public Library via any communication mechanism. The personal information collected is as follows and kept until your library card expires and your account is deleted, unless otherwise indicated:

  • name
  • address
  • email address
  • phone number
  • library card number
  • date/year of birth (for card registration only)
  • materials currently checked out (until returned)
  • overdue material (until returned)
  • fines, paid or waived (kept for 6 months)

The Way We Use This Information

  • Email addresses are used to send notification of reserved materials, overdue materials, and for the purpose of renewing your library card.
  • Mailing addresses are used for overdue and billing notices.
  • There is a check box on the library card application to indicate if you wish to receive information about library news, which may result in additional email or postal mail.
  • The use of our public computers results in your library card barcode being stored alongside your reservation until your reservation is used or canceled (up to 7 days) and to show actual workstation usage (up to 24 hours).

Digital Branch Privacy

When you visit the library’s digital branch (including the library’s website and third-party digital services like eBooks and digital magazines), a limited amount of information may be collected or transmitted to our partner companies who provide these services.

Website: We collect and store only information to measure use of our site using Google Analytics. This data is, however, collected in aggregate. We do not examine or record individual users’ use of the website. The aggregate information is kept indefinitely. The information collected includes:

  • the address (IP) of your computer, device, or internet provider
  • the date and time of site access
  • the address of any website that linked to our site
  • web browser type
  • operating system type
  • which pages were accessed
  • how long each page access lasted

Third-Party Digital Services: In order to use our third-party digital services (the library catalog and services listed on our E-Books and E-Resources webpages, for example) you log in to validate yourself as a San Rafael Public Library member. Different services handle authentication different ways, but the following information may be transmitted to these service providers solely for the purpose of authentication. This data is usually collected in aggregate and/or anonymously. Data is kept for different periods of time by different companies. Information collected might include:

  • name
  • address (or only zip code)
  • library card number
  • the address (IP) of your computer, device, or internet provider
  • the date and time of site access
  • search terms
  • which pages/resources were accessed and/or downloaded

Privacy practices are notably different for the Kindle-format eBooks offered through the library’s subscription to OverDrive. Downloading these titles requires you to have an account with Amazon, and any eBooks borrowed through the library are therefore tracked through your Amazon account, as are any notes or highlights you make in these library eBooks. All other eBook collections and all other eBook formats within the OverDrive collection do not collect this information.

When you are using digital content from third party vendors we subscribe to, we cannot guarantee that our privacy policies, and California confidentiality laws that apply to library records will apply. We recommend that you check the privacy policy of the company providing the product that you’re using. We work on an ongoing basis to ensure best practices with user data privacy with all of the companies we contract with.

Our Commitment to Children’s Privacy
Protecting the privacy of children is especially important to us. We attempt to minimize exposure of children’s personal information whenever possible.

Other Relevant Policies

  • Our Library consortium, MARINet, has a Privacy Policy specifically applicable to MARINet pages and resources.
  • MARINet’s Bibliocommons tool (the default online catalog of library materials) has a Privacy Policy specifically applicable to the data it collects.