Passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001 has compelled many libraries to publish their policies for the protection of the privacy of their users within the framework of that federal legislation. The purpose of this document is to assure the users of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries that their privacy is important, and that we, as an institution, strive to protect that privacy.
To safeguard the privacy of individuals in their use of the libraries, the UT Arlington Libraries maintains the confidentiality of library records and actively supports the American Library Association's Code of Ethics that states:
We protect each user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted.
The UT Arlington Libraries will not share users' personal information except as required by law or a court order.
Although the UT Arlington Libraries makes every effort to protect users' privacy, the federal USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56 (1)) authorizes federal agents to obtain records of the books and other materials borrowed by users from the UT Arlington Libraries to the extent such records are maintained. Additionally, libraries are prohibited by the law from notifying the user of such a request by federal authorities.
In order for University of Texas at Arlington students, faculty, staff, and guests to conduct business with the UT Arlington Libraries, the Libraries maintains information about users in a variety of formats and databases. Statistical data gathered to support the goal of continuous service improvement is stripped of personally identifiable information.
The following types of information, which are included in the Libraries' records retention schedule are gathered and maintained:
Library Users' Records. These records include any information the Libraries requires users (faculty, staff, students, and guests) to provide in order to become eligible to access or borrow materials. Such information may include addresses, telephone numbers and UT Arlington identification numbers, which is often the individual's social security number. This data primarily comes to us from other university records and is maintained indefinitely. Guests provide addresses, telephone numbers and identification information, which is often the individual's social security number, directly to Library staff.
Circulation Records. These records include information on books and other materials currently checked out to faculty, staff, student or guest. Once items are returned, the information is expunged from the user's record unless a fine or fee has been incurred.
Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery Records. In some instances, information about requests is shared with other library staff for collection development and /or service purposes, but the data remains confidential among library staff. Documentation of interlibrary loan borrowing history is maintained to comply with copyright guidelines.
Donor Records. Donor information, including name, address, and affiliation, if applicable, is collected.
Reference Services. All reference assistance and consultations are confidential regardless of whether the transactions are made by telephone, chat, email or in person. A log is generated for online reference transactions.
Special Collections. Users must fill out an application form in order to access research materials in Special Collections. This application asks for the user's address, telephone number, and a form of identification that may include a driver's license number. Research materials are provided to the user following completion of a request form. The request form includes the user's name, signature, and a description of the item or items to be viewed.
Requests for Purchase or Special Materials Handling. Purchase or processing requests linked to individual users are not shared outside the Libraries. User names, telephone numbers, or e-mail addresses are attached to internal records and shared among library staff to facilitate follow-through and responding to the requester.
Contracts and Licenses for Information Resources. Contracts and licensing agreements between the Libraries and information service providers shall be consistent with institutional policies and applicable privacy laws. Usage data gathered by either party will protect the anonymity of individual users and will protect the confidentiality of their searches.
Physical Access Records. Access records are those data concerning entry to the Libraries collected via door card readers. The Maverick Express Office maintains these records. Requests for access to this data should be made through the Director of Libraries.
Users' Right to Know
Users are entitled to know what information the UT Arlington Libraries collects about them. State law, with a few exceptions, gives a user the right to be informed about the information UT Arlington collects about the user. It also gives a user the right to request a copy of that information and to have the University correct any part of the information that is incorrect. This should be done by contacting the University's Vice President for Business Affairs and Comptroller, P.O. Box 19119, Arlington, TX 76019. Procedures are set forth in UT System BPM # 32-12-01. The laws are found in sections 552.023 and 559.002 through 559.004 of the Texas Government Code.
Personal information received on faculty and staff comes from the Office of Human Resources Management and Development. Student information comes from the Office of the Registrar. The University does its best to ensure the security and accuracy of confidential information. Faculty and staff with an UT EID can check and update personal information such as their mailing address and e-mail address at UT Direct. Students can view some of their personal information online and can change their address online and request other changes through the Office of the Registrar. Confidential information cannot be shared with external third parties.
Links to other sites from the UT Arlington Libraries' website, including, but not limited to, databases and electronic journals that the Libraries have licensed for use by UT Arlington students, faculty, and staff, are covered by the other websites' privacy practices. UT Arlington Libraries are not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites.
Except in the provision of library services through contracts with third parties or in accordance with federal and Texas state laws, no Libraries' employee shall make known any information contained in the records listed above. Library records will only be released in accordance with a proper judicial order and with permission of the designated administrative officer of the University.
Library staff shall refer all requests for the above information to the Vice President for Administration and Campus Operations.
Congress (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (US PATRIOT Act), P.L. 107-56 (H.R. 2975/H.R. 3162).
Public Information Act, Texas Government Code, secs. 552.01, et. seq (Vernon1994).
State Government Privacy Policies, Texas Government Code, secs. 559.001, et. seq (Vernon Supp. 2003).