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Public Library Director Toolkit

Patron Confidentiality and Library Records

ND Century Code lists two exceptions to Open Records Laws relating to patron information:

NDCC §40-38-12. Library records - Open records exception

Any record maintained or received by a library receiving public funds, which provides a library patron's name or information sufficient to identify a patron together with the subject about which the patron requested information, is considered private and is excepted from the public records disclosure requirements of section 44-04-18. These records may be released when required pursuant to a court order or a subpoena.

NDCC §44-04-18.23. Library, archive, and museum collections - Exempt records

A public library, archive, or museum may designate a donated record as an exempt record if the donor of the record requests as a condition of the donation that the record not be released to the public for a specific amount of time, which may not exceed twenty years beyond the death of the donor.

Patron Confidentiality Resources

Policy Examples

Patron Confidentiality - Other Considerations

Sometimes it is necessary to specify services that you will/will not perform for patrons to help patrons keep their information secure and protect your staff from potential accusations. This can be a separate policy or part of an existing policy (such as internet access, technology use, etc.). A clear policy will help your staff handle situations where they are asked for help that they aren't comfortable giving.

Policy Examples

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.