Our customers’ privacy is important to us and we do everything we can to protect and respect your personal information and keep library records confidential. The Southern Maryland Regional Library Association (SMRLA) strives to collect the least amount personally identifiable information we can and avoid creating unnecessary records.
SMRLA follows Laws of Maryland Relating to Public Libraries, specifically §23-108. Library records, which requires all public libraries in Maryland to guarantee the privacy of user records.
What information do we collect?
SMRLA collects both personally identifiable information (PII) and anonymous information in order to provide library service to users.
PII is any information that could potentially identify a specific individual. SMRLA strives to collect the least amount of PII possible in order to provide services. We avoid creating unnecessary records. The PII collected by the library could include:
- Telephone Number
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Library barcode number
- Items currently checked out, requested, canceled holds, and interlibrary loans
- Overdue items (until returned)
- Fine history
- Sign up information for library classes and events
If customers opt in, they can enable a reading history option which saves historical items for up to three years. This option can be enabled in the public access catalog (PAC) and has a privacy notice. The Laws of Maryland Relating to Public Libraries §23-108 Circulation Records prohibits the inspection, use or disclosure of an individual’s library records.
Anonymous information is information that does not specifically identify an individual. The anonymous information collected by the library could include:
- URL (uniform resource locator) of the web site you visited previous to the library’s website
- Domain names and / or IP addresses (numbers automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are connected to the internet)
- The browser version you are using to access the web site
- Hardware and software type and language
- Cookie data
- Date and time of requests
- Demographic data
- Interaction data
- Page views, click data, and navigation flow
Who has access to it?
All library user records are confidential. Library records may only be disclosed to:
- Library staff performing job duties (Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s and SMRLA)
- Cardholders who can provide proof of identity (library card number and PII)
- Third party vendors that help facilitate library business, including but not limited to, Communico, OrangeBoy and Unique Management
- Law enforcement with a valid subpoena, national security letter or warrant
Library materials and borrowing history
SMRLA does not keep a record of your borrowing history beyond operational requirements. Once you return an item, it is removed from your account unless you have opted to save your reading history. Items with lost or damaged fees will remain on your account until paid.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is used to check out library materials, keep a record of the library collection, and secure the collection from theft. RFID tags attached to items only contain the barcode number of the item. No personal library user or transaction information is on the RFID tag.
Public computers and wireless network
SMLRA does not offer public computer access. SMRLA does not keep a record of employee activity on our wireless network. SMRLA does retain information required to maintain the session but that information is deleted once the session ends.
SMRLA uses security cameras to monitor our staff parking lot. Video footage is kept on a rolling basis for 25-30 days depending on how much activity is on the cameras. Video is only available to view by the CEO, the Office Manager and Information Services staff. A valid subpoena, national security letter, or warrant is required to view footage from the security cameras.
All website traffic defaults to HTTPS for encrypted communication. Viewing or modifying your account on the catalog requires the usage of encryption.
Some library applications use what are called “cookies.” A cookie is a small file created by a website and saved by your browser each time a site is visited. Cookies are stored on your computer and can transmit personal information. Cookies are used to remember information about preferences and customization on the pages you visit. You can refuse to accept cookies, disable cookies, and remove cookies from your hard drive by following the instructions provided by your browser. Some third-party services may not work if cookies are disabled.
Data & network security
The library is committed to data security and keeping your PII that is collected by our website safe. The library monitors network activity to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. The library operates secure data networks protected by industry standard firewalls and password protection systems. Only authorized individuals have access to the information provided by our users.
The safety and privacy of children is very important to the library. As with all other patrons, personal information collected from children by the library is not shared with any non-contracted agency or vendor. We encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s internet use and teach them about the importance of not revealing personal information online.
Note: Some online services offered by the library are serviced by third-party vendors. These vendors have their own privacy policies and terms of service and they are not beholden to the library’s privacy policies or terms of service.
The library works with third-party vendors to provide online learning, digital collections, streaming media content, analytics, and more. These third-party vendors are listed on our website. When you leave the library website, your interaction with these systems will be governed by their individual privacy policies. Some of these vendors may collect and share information you provide to them or require you to create a personal account in order to use their services. Check the vendor’s privacy statement and terms of service to learn more about how your data is tracked, stored, and used by them. Links to third party vendor privacy policies and terms of statements are located at https://smrla.org/vendor-privacy-policies/.