14. Confidentiality of Patron Records

N.J.S.A. 18A:73-43.2. Confidentiality; exceptions

Library records which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:

  1. The records are necessary for the proper operation of the library;
  2. Disclosure is requested by the user; or
  3. Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court order.

L. 1985, c. 172 § 2.

For purposes of this section, and without limitation, circulation records, including name, address, status of the borrower, titles of materials currently on loan, dates of transactions, PC registration data, and reserve files, of the Mercer County Library System are deemed to be confidential for purposes of NJSA 18A: 73-43.2 and any ancillary provisions pertinent to that section of the law.

The Mercer County Library System is committed to the confidentiality of our patrons' records in accordance with New Jersey's Confidentiality of Library Records Law, NJSA 18A:73-43.2. The library system will comply with all State of New Jersey laws, regulations and administrative directives concerning the maintenance of library records, including internet usage registration records.

Any request for disclosure that does not fall under subsections (a) or (b) of NJSA 18A:73-43.2 shall be referred to the Mercer County Counsel's Office for review, which office will render a decision as to form, legality and scope of any court-issued subpoena or court order.

Library staff are bound by federal and state law in the matter of patron record confidentiality, and are not permitted to exercise discretion in releasing information. Any dispute regarding the right of access to a patron record will be referred to MCLS Administration for determination. Persistent or repeated demands for unauthorized access to patron records will be referred to the Office of Mercer County Counsel for appropriate action.

Parents or legal guardians are entitled to information relating to the use of a minor's card in certain situations, as this is deemed as essential to the library's operation. However, only the parent(s) or guardian(s) whose signature appears on the registration card will be allowed access to the library account in order to ensure confidentiality of the record. The library will not discuss a minor's account with any person other than the person whose name appears on the back of the registration card and the minor themselves. If more than one parent or guardian wishes to access a minor child's card, they must individually sign the registration card. If no parent/guardian signature appears (as in the case with a child 14 years or older who may apply for the card themselves,) the library will not disclose information regarding the account with anyone other than the patron unless that patron authorizes such disclosure, or the parent/guardian signs the registration card assuming responsibility for the account. Verification of relationship will be required. This process must be completed at the branch where the account was first opened.