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Confidentiality of Library Records

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. This freedom is automatically diminished if the user of a public library is confronted with the prospect of any individual or agency examining the record of his transactions with the library. An individual with no malicious intent may hesitate to borrow materials on certain topics if, in doing so, he may be subjected to the possibility of harassment or put under the veil of suspicion. His freedom to read then has been substantially curtailed or suppressed.

Consequently, the Falmouth Public Library Board of Trustees resolves that its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific library materials are confidential in nature. Such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal state, or local laws relating to civic, criminal or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power. The issuance or enforcement of any such process shall be resisted until such time as the Board of Trustees can consult with legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance.


The above statement specifically restricts state, federal and local government agencies from access, except by legal process, to library records. Consequently, it provides for some flexibility. If, in the opinion of the Library Director the intent of a request by an individual or individuals is not suspect, and the giving of such information can expedite library business and/or is in the best interest of serving the public, such request may be granted.

Approved by Board of Trustees 4/71
Reaffirmed 11/12/91 and 8/12/03