Confidentiality of Patron Records & Files

Policy Owner(s): Director of Public Services — Operations

Date of Origin: 9/91
Date(s) of Revision: 6/93, 4/02, 12/03, 8/08


The Board of Trustees of the King County Rural Library District, doing business as the King County Library System, hereby adopts the following revised policy regarding the confidentiality of patron records and files, consistent with RCW 42.56.310 and Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records adopted by the Council of the American Library Association:

  1. All library records, the primary purpose of which is to maintain control of library materials, or to gain access to information, which disclose or could be used to disclose the identity of library users are confidential in nature. These include all library circulation records and other records linking the names of library patrons, their addresses and other personal information with specific library books and non‐print library materials.
  2. Such patron records and files shall not be made available to any individual, organization or to any agency of federal, state or local government except as provided in Section 3 below or otherwise pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to RCW 42.56.001 – 42.56.902, or other applicable federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.The Library System will resist the issuance or 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. Requests for patron record information made by any agency of federal, state or local government (including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies) shall be referred to the Director of the Library System. Follow the procedures as stated in the Request for Public Records from Law Enforcement Agencies, Appendix C‐1.3 of the Public Services Manual.

3. Notwithstanding the foregoing:

  • Any patron is entitled to information regarding his or her items on loan, items on hold, items overdue and fines. A parent or guardian may have access to the same information for his or her minor child. This applies to children up to age 18 unless the minor is emancipated (legally free of parental control). No information will be released without verification of card ownership/parental relationship.
  • With the prior approval of the Director of the Library System:
    • Names and addresses extracted from the patron records and files may be used from time to time by the Library System for the purpose of conducting user surveys or to notify users of upcoming events; and
    • Names and addresses of adult library users eighteen (18) years of age and older may be extracted from the patron records and files from time to time by the King County Library System Foundation, and by no other agency, organization or foundation, for the sole purpose of notifying users of upcoming events in support of the Library System or to invite users to participate in or to monetarily support KCLS Foundation activities in support of the Library System;

    Provided, in each such case, that care is used (A) to prevent such information from being misused or misappropriated, and (B) to enable patrons to inform the Library System of their desire not to receive such notifications and for the Library System to honor those wishes.