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Privacy & Records Management

Privacy Guidelines

Germanna Community College Library supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights which affirms that libraries are forums for information and ideas and this requires the security of an individual’s right to intellectual freedom. As such, it is the policy of the Germanna Community College Library to protect the privacy of all patrons, including faculty, students, staff, and community members. Certain personally identifying information is requested from those who wish to have a library card to check out books or request services. This information is gathered for the sole purpose of improving the accuracy and efficiency of the library processes involved.

Library Card Applications:
Personally identifying information supplied on a print application form in order to apply for a library card is destroyed daily after the information has been entered into our password protected Circulation database and the library card is activated. The print forms are required only to assist in providing accurate and improved library services to the library patron. The signature made at the time of application is requested as an announcement and confirmation of the agreement that the patron will be responsible for any damage or loss of borrowed items. The Library staff will not reveal any personally identifying information or account information to any outside party in accordance with the policy of the VCCS and the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.

VCCS Policy

ALA Code of Ethics

Circulation Records:
The Library will also protect the student’s right to privacy when handling inquires coming from Faculty concerning a student’s use of the library or any information regarding the books that are checked out under the student’s name. The American Library Association states in the privacy guidelines developed by the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee the following:

Students in academic institutions are adults and must be accorded the same privacy safeguards as adults in other types of libraries. The mere fact that students are enrolled in courses should not jeopardize their privacy rights. Thus, student circulation records for course-required and reserve reading should be protected from inquiry with the same rigor as their circulation records for personal reading.

Therefore, the Library will not provide student lists, sign and date documents, or track in any way the activities of an individual student. Faculty members may place items on Reserve for student learning, but individual use of those items will not be revealed by the Library staff to a Faculty member or any other interested party.

Circulation records are purged upon the return of borrowed library materials. This assures compliance with Virginia state law that protects library circulation records. The "Freedom to Read Statement" of the American Library Association clarifies the concept which supports this type of confidentiality. This privacy policy is also written in accordance with the privacy policy of Germanna Community College, as stated on the President’s Office web page. Germanna Community College Privacy Policy.

Web Privacy:
Although statistical information is collected, the library does not track any information on the database use or information requested by any individual patron within the library, or remotely. During a virtual library visit, some information is stored automatically, such as the following as stated in the American Library Association’s Privacy Guidelines:

"The Internet domain for your Internet service, such as xcompany.com or xcompany.net if you use a private Internet access account, or yourschool.edu if you connect from a college or university domain and IP address (a number automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the web) from which you access our site."
The type and version of browser (such as Netscape version X or Internet Explorer version X) that you use and the type of operating system you use (such as Macintosh, Unix, or Windows).
The date and time you visit our site, and the Web pages that you visit on our site.
The address of the previous Web site you were visiting, if clicked through to us from another Web site: http://www.ala.org/privacypolicy

The internet data is used only for statistical analysis and to improve services. It is gathered for internal use only. The Germanna Community College Library does not collect information about individuals, whether from the internet, email or other library records. "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted." [ALA Code of Ethics]

Open Access to Patron:
Private library account Information concerning requests and circulation are open to the patron 24/7. Patrons may see their library account at any time within the online catalog, the VCCSlinc, by selecting "My Account" and by entering their unique MyGCC user id and password. No one except the Library staff and the individual patron has access to this information.

Additional Supporting Literature:

Code of Ethics of the American Library Association
ALA Q&A on the Confidentiality and Privacy of Library Records
Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Effective 10/1/2001) - Code of Virginia Title 2.2-3700-3714

Adopted Library Staff: 1/2013

Updated and reviewed: 4/2013