Date Issued: 06/16/2004
Date Revised: n/a
Attachment(s): None

1. Description

In response to advances in technology and the changing needs of the community, the Mary Riley Styles Public Library (MRSPL) endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational, and educational needs of its diverse, multi-cultural community. It is within this context that the library offers access to the Internet and its many resources.

MRSPL has a website,, which highlights the information and services provided by the library. The website is separate from the City’s larger website and is maintained by library staff.

2. Policy

A. Links

The library provides links to databases and materials that are offered as part of its services to the public. It does not add or maintain links to third party sites that are not part of the library’s or City’s services, programs, or materials.

B. Privacy

The same confidentiality standards and procedures that apply to other library/public transactions are applied to the use of Internet resources. The library does not store any personal information on patron Internet use or other library electronic resources except for cumulative, generic statistics used for assuring equitable access or to provide statistics for measuring service utilization and need.

Library patrons have the right to privacy and confidentiality in the use of electronic information networks to the extent possible, given certain constraints such as proximity of other patrons and staff in public access settings.

Web site data is separate from individual library account data. Library staff cannot look up a patron’s library record to determine what web sites he/she has visited.

The library does not sell, lease, or otherwise distribute or disclose information about patrons or their search habits to third parties unless required by law.

If law enforcement agents, in the course of an investigation, request library records, the library may be required by law to release records pertaining to a patron’s activities at the library. In some instances, staff is prohibited from relaying to a patron that his/her record has been requested by law enforcement agents. A sign stating this is displayed prominently so patrons are aware of this.

The library’s web site contains links to external web sites not maintained by the library, and it is not responsible for a patron’s privacy when he/she visits outside web sites. Patrons should consult the privacy policies of web sites before submitting any personal information.

To protect the privacy of patrons, a library card number and password are required to access personal information, place holds, and renew books through the library’s online catalog. If a patron loses his/her card, the library should be notified as soon as possible. (See also Library Card Policy). The library cannot be held liable for access to this information if a card is lost or stolen and not reported to the library.  The library issues a new card and password upon notification. The library recommends that patrons change their password frequently, using the “change password” option under Patron Functions on the online catalog.

C. Information the Library May Collect

When an individual visits the library’s web site, the library collects and stores information that measures the number of visitors to different areas of the site to assist in making the site more useful. These logs do not include names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, or other identifying personal information. It does include:

  • The Internet provider (IP) address of an individual’s computer or Internet provider;
  • The date and time an individual accessed the library web site;
  • The Internet address of the website which referred an individual to the library website; and,
  • Technical information including browser type, operating system, screen resolution, etc.

Electronic mail messages sent to staff with MRSPL mail server accounts may contain personal information that the sender has included. Email messages may be stored or forwarded to other library staff in order to respond to a request for information or suggestions. The library does not divulge an individual’s email address or any other personal information to outside parties. The library retains staff email messages as required by the retention schedules of the Library of Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The library provides access to subscription databases for patrons with a valid library card. When patrons use these databases, logs of the searches conducted, dates, and times are made accessible to the library by the vendor. The library retains these records and uses them to evaluate current and future purchases. In addition, the statistical counts received through these logs are submitted to the Library of Virginia as part of the library’s annual statistical report. These vendors may also be collecting other information for their own purposes. Patrons should consult the privacy policies of vendors for more information.

D. Copyright

All text, graphics, and other material on the MRSPL website are property of the library. MRSPL retains the rights to all content on the website. The material on the website may be viewed, copied, or printed for personal use provided that it is used for non-commercial purposes. Use of material on the website for any other purpose, without the written permission of the library, is strictly prohibited.  When using material from the library’s website, a copyright notice must be included and proper credit to MRSPL must appear in close proximity to the material used. Individuals are responsible for determining intellectual property rights, obtaining permission, and paying fees associated with using material.

The library reserves the right to change this policy at any time without providing advance notice.

See also:
Library Card

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