Patrons’ Right of Privacy

The foremost relationship the Library must foster is that between the Library and the patrons. The patron is our reason for being and the Library must continually be responsive to his/her needs. A feeling of trust and privacy must be maintained. In response to this belief, the following resolution was adopted by the Library Board and its strict adherence is expected:

Whereas the Board of Trustees of the Thomas County Public Library System appreciates the difficulty experienced by many law enforcement agencies in the pursuit of justice; and whereas, the Board recognizes and approves the goal of bringing criminals to justice but not at the sacrifice of basic personal liberties enjoyed by all the population; and whereas the Library Director believes that the releasing of any information concerning a patron would amount to an invasion of privacy which would result in a direct betrayal of trust between the Library and its reading public and that a subpoena from an appropriate court should be required from any individual or organization wishing to examine said records and whereas, the said Board endorses this position.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved As Follows:

1. That once a book is place in the Library, the reading examination of said book becomes a private matter with each individual and is not subject to review by this Board or any other body;

2. That this Board’s duty to protect the basic rights of readers takes priority over all requests of the above nature;

3. That the intent of this resolution is to clarify the Board’s position, and to reassure Library users that no information of this nature will be revealed hereafter.

The right of privacy also includes staff records (vacation, sick leave, salary, evaluation, etc.) and information contained in City Directories.

In cases of extreme emergency, the Library Director can submit a request for the information stipulated above to be released for a special purpose. That request shall be made in writing to the Board Chairman who can reply immediately or request a meeting of the Executive Committee and/or the Library Board to make that exception.

Please note from above that a subpoena from an appropriate court can solicit information cited. (§24-12-30 GA Code)

Title 24 - Evidence
Chapter 12 - Medical and Other Confidential Information
Article 4 - Other Confidential Information
§ 24-12-30. Confidential Nature of Certain Library Records

  1. Circulation and similar records of a library which identify the user of library materials shall not be public records but shall be confidential and shall 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.

  2. Any disclosure authorized by subsection (a) of this Code section or any unauthorized disclosure of materials made confidential by subsection (a) of this Code section 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.

History. Code 1981, § 24-12-30 , enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24.