Confidentially Policy

The Board of Trustees of the Belmond Public Library recognizes the responsibility to protect the privacy of library users.  Confidentiality is essential to protect the exercise of First and Fourth Amendment rights.


Library records are treated specifically in Code of Iowa 22.7 “Examination of Public Records (Open Records)”, paragraph 13 and 14.  The citation is copied here and included in this policy:


22.7 Confidential records.


The following public records shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records, or by another person duly authorized to release such information:


13.    The records of a library which, by themselves or when examined with other

public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library.  The records shall be released to a criminal or juvenile justice agency only pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime.  The records shall be released only upon a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end and that the need for the information is cogent and compelling.


14.    The material of a library, museum or archive which has been contributed by a

private person to the extent of any limitation that is a condition of the contribution.


Confidentiality extends to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed or acquired.  Confidentiality includes database search records, reference interviews, interlibrary loan records, computer use records, and all other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities or services.


In addition to the protections afforded by the Code of Iowa and the Constitution of the United States of America, Belmond Public Library will hold confidential the names of card holders and their registration information and not provide access for private, public or commercial use.


In keeping with the above statements and the Code of Iowa, the following shall be the policy for Belmond Public Library records:


1.      The lawful custodian of the records is the Director of the Library.

2.       Belmond Public Library registration records and circulation records shall be     kept confidential. The library will release information to the parent or 

         guardian or a minor child for the purpose of recovering overdue materials

         and settling accounts for lost, overdue or damaged material, and for 

         other matters related to the recovery of material or charges incurred by 

         minor children for which the parent or guardian may be considered liable.

         However, information will not be provided to the parent or guardian who

         is merely attempting to determine what library materials a minor child

         is using. 

3.      If there is a reasonable basis to believe library registration records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the request for such records, including the justification for the request, shall be made to the Director, in writing on official letterhead by an official of the investigation or prosecution workforce, who has provided necessary identification.

4.      If there is a reasonable basis to believe library circulation records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the judicial system provides the mechanism for seeking release of such confidential records: the issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction.

5.      Circulation records shall not be made available to any agency of local, state, or federal government except pursuant to such authority of, and pursuant to, local, state, or federal law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

6.      The issuance or enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena shall be resisted until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.


Procedures for enforcing the policy on confidentiality of library records.


1.      The library staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to registration records or circulation records or other records identifying the names of library users, will immediately refer the person making the request to the Director, who shall explain the confidentiality policy.  To prevent any misunderstanding, the staff member should avoid discussing with the person making the request what user information may or may not be available, or what the library can or cannot do.  If the library Director is away from the library, the staff member will inform the requestor when the Director will be available.

2.      If the records requested pertain only to registration records and the request has been made in the manner prescribed in the policy, the Director may release the records or may bring the request to the next meeting of the Library Board for approval as an exception to the Board Policy on confidentiality of registration records,

3.      If the records requested cover circulation or other records protected under the Iowa Code, upon receipt of a process, order or subpoena, the Director shall consult with legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause of its issuance.

4.      If any written request, process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, the Director shall insist that such defects be cured before any records are released.

5.      Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e. those not supported by a written request, process, order, or subpoena) concerning circulation and other records identifying the names of library users shall be reported to the Director.

6.      Any problems relating to the privacy of circulation and other records identifying the names of library users which are not provided for above shall be referred to the Director.


Approved 11/17/03; Reviewed 8/17/09  

Reviewed and revised 12/17/12

Revised 3/16/15

Reviewed 4/16/18