The privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. The UNLV Libraries is committed to protecting that privacy and the academic and intellectual freedom accorded to all its patrons as defined by the Nevada System of Higher Education and the American Library Association and upheld by the United States Supreme Court as being protected by the First Amendment. The responsibility to protect these essential freedoms within a library is manifested most clearly in the safeguarding the security and confidentiality of any information concerning patrons and their use of library materials.
In order to properly fulfill the Libraries’ responsibility to its patrons and to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and in upholding the principles on which higher education is founded, it is necessary for the Libraries to assure that records of patrons and the use of library materials are not available or accessible except to those library staff for whom and for such purposes as it is absolutely necessary to sustain the operations of the Libraries in its mission of providing fair and equal access to its informational resources.
Because of the imperative priority of protecting the confidentiality of patron records and because the collection and maintenance of such records beyond their essential operational use is not within the legal and educational mission, purpose or affirmative responsibility of the Libraries, and because these records are explicitly defined by the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 239.013) as not being public records and therefore not subject to state public record laws or retention schedules or policies, and because the continued maintenance of such records either in paper or in non-secure electronic systems presents a clear and present danger and risk of unauthorized access, disclosure or abuse, all UNLV Libraries patron records, as defined by the Libraries, and which are determined by the Libraries as not required for the operation of the library in pursuance of its mission, will be purged, deleted or destroyed as soon as their operational purpose has been served, at a time and in a manner determined by the Library.
- The UNLV Libraries will maintain a schedule of all patron records which will include retention and destruction schedules. Other library records which are not patron records and which are not exempted by NRS 239.013 will be retained according to state retention policies specified in NAC 239.411.
- UNLV Libraries will respond to any and all lawful requests for information which, in the opinion of the University, comply with federal, state and local laws, and the policies established by the Board of Regents of the University,
“Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and is applicable to both teaching and research. Freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student in learning. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth and knowledge. A member of the faculty has freedom and an obligation, in the classroom or in research, to discuss and pursue the faculty member's subject with candor and integrity, even when the subject requires consideration of topics which may be politically, socially or scientifically controversial. In order to insure the freedom to seek and profess truth and knowledge, as stated in Section 2.3 of the Nevada System of Higher Education Code, the faculty member, as defined in Section 2.2 of this chapter, shall not be subjected to censorship or discipline by the Nevada System of Higher Education on grounds that the faculty member has expressed opinions or views which are controversial, unpopular or contrary to the attitudes of the Nevada System of Higher Education or the community. (B/R 4/02)”
Nevada System of Higher Education. Code, Title 2, Chapter 2, section 2.1.2
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
Intellectual Freedom Principles For Academic Libraries
The privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. Policies should be in place that maintain confidentiality of library borrowing records and of other information relating to personal use of library information and services.
The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:
- Formally adopt a policy that specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users to be confidential. (See also ALA Code of Ethics, Article III, "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted" and Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.)
- Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
- Resist the issuance of enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.
It is the responsibility of library staff to destroy information in confidential or privacy protected records to protect from unauthorized disclosure. Information that should be regularly purged or shredded includes personally identifiable information on library resource use, material circulation history, and security/surveillance tapes and logs . . . This is best accomplished by purging records as soon as their purpose is served.
American Library Association
Nevada Revised Statutes 239.013:
Confidentiality of records of library which identify user with property used. Any records of a public library or other library which contain the identity of a user and the books, documents, films, recordings or other property of the library which he used are confidential and not public books or records within the meaning of NRS 239.010. Such records maybe disclosed only in response to an order issued by a court upon a finding that the disclosure of such records is necessary to protect the public safety or to prosecute a crime.