I. Legal and Ethical Considerations
Privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. A confidential relationship exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.
The University of Georgia School of Law Library respects a library user's right to privacy and confidentiality regarding information sought or received and materials consulted or borrowed or services provided. The library complies with the Official Code of Georgia regarding confidentiality of library user records. The relevant statute states:
OCGA § 24-9-46 Confidential nature of certain library records
(a) Circulation and similar records of a library which identify the user of library materials shall not be public records but shall be confidential and may not be disclosed except:
(1) To members of the library staff in the ordinary course of business;
(2) Upon written consent of the user of the library materials or the user's parents or guardian if the user is a minor or ward; or
(3) Upon appropriate court order or subpoena.
(b) Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by that subsection (a) shall not in any way destroy the confidential nature of that material, except for the purpose for which an authorized disclosure is made. A person disclosing material as authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section shall not be liable therefor.
Additionally, the Law Library complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - UGA FERPA Policy Statement
Our commitment to your privacy and confidentiality has deep roots not only in law but also in the ethics and practices of librarianship. In accordance with the American Association of Law Libraries' Ethical Principles:
"We uphold a duty to our clientele to develop service policies that respect confidentiality and privacy. "
II. Library Practice
Circulation, Interlibrary Loan & Copying
The Law Library:
- does not tell other patrons if you have borrowed any library resources including books, DVDs, video cameras, monitors, room keys, etc.
- will contact you if another patron wants to recall anything you have borrowed
- purges the record once you have returned an item
- does not release personally identifiable information or research information to any third parties without your permission
- uses online forms for photocopy requests and interlibrary loan, which collect the personally identifiable information you voluntarily submit (your name, contact information, and project/document information). This information is used for the sole purpose of completing the requested services.
Library Web Site, Computers & Databases
The Law Library:
- uses appropriate software and hardware tools to protect personal information from unauthorized dissemination or use.
- does not sell any personally identifiable information and there is no direct or online public access to the information.
- monitors the traffic patterns on the Library's web site, keeps records of the IP addresses, referring locations and browser types of all visitors to the web site.
If directed by appropriate court order or subpoena, the Library must release personally identifiable information. Only the Library director is authorized to release information in compliance with a legal request.
Handling of E-Mail
Finally, all visitors to the library should be aware that video cameras monitor the front entrance to the library.
Last reviewed: November 2011