Confidentiality Policy

One of the public library’s most cherished and valuable assets is the fact that anyone may use the library’s resources in privacy, without fear of censorship, repression, or intimidation.

In accordance with Maryland law (Maryland Code, Ed 23-107), circulation and other records identifying personal information with the use of specific library materials, services or facilities are confidential.  Such records shall not be disclosed except to:

  • persons acting within the scope of their duties within the administration of the library and only for the purpose for which the record was created
  • persons authorized by the individual to inspect the individual’s record.


The following requests must be immediately referred to the Library Director:

  • An agency of state, federal, or local government or any individual pursuant to a valid court order, search warrant or subpoena authorized under the authority of federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
  • A government official with a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Request.


All requests for such information must be referred to the Library Director.  If the Library Director is not immediately available, give them the contact information or take their name and number and have the Director contact them.
Library personnel shall not disclose to any other individual, corporation, institution, government agent or agency, except as provided in the above paragraph, information that includes but is not limited to

  • the library’s circulation records and their contents as pertains to individual patrons
  • the library’s registration records and their contents
  • the number or character of questions asked by a patron
  • the frequency of a patron’s visits to the library
  • a patron’s name, address, or telephone number
  • a patron’s interlibrary loan records
  • a patron’s record of computer and database usage
  • computer contents that could be used to identify material or sources a patron consults
  • the contents of a patron’s information transaction:  titles requested, information requests, personal documents being created using library’s software, etc


If a request for information is denied, the Library Director shall inform the individual, corporation, institution, government agent or agency making the request within ten (10) days of receipt of the request.


Adopted January 15, 2002; Revised September 28, 20004; Revised December 19, 2006 to be in compliance with the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization on March 9m 2006.
Board of Library Trustees

Patron Information on Confidentiality of Records

The confidentiality of library users is protected by Maryland state law (Maryland Code, ED 23-107) and by the policies of the St. Mary’s County Library, which safeguard a borrower’s right to privacy.

Patrons have the right to receive information about their own records, but must first provide personal identification. Acceptable identification includes library card or driver’s license or validation of personal information in the patron’s record.  
Parents and legal guardians have the right to receive information about their minor children’s records upon presentation of their child’s library card.

Patrons who wish to pay fines for other family members other than minors may be told the amount only.   Information provided over the telephone shall be limited to the number of items charged to a patron and the amount of fines, after the solicitor has given name and library card number.

Information provided to anyone other than the solicitor of information or of interlibrary loans over the telephone or left on an answering machine shall be limited to notification that the item or information is available.  Email communications about holds and overdues include titles.

Reserved materials may be picked up by the person placing the reserve or by someone who has permission from the person who placed the reserve.  
Patrons are advised that the history of sites visited, email, word processing and other information or documents left on the public access computers are not protected, deleted or monitored by the library after each patron use.  Personal information given optionally and voluntarily by the user may be retrievable by other users.  Patrons who need further information should ask a librarian.

Adopted January 15, 2002; Revised September 28, 20004; Revised December 19, 2006 to be in compliance with the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization on March 9m 2006.
Board of Library Trustees