The West Florida Public Libraries (“the Library,” “WFPL”) act as the community’s independent learning center for residents of all ages who live in Escambia County. The Library strives to meet the informational, recreational and educational needs of the community by providing free access to reading, audio-visual materials, and serving as an information portal offering public computing, database and internet access technology.
In accordance with federal and state law and customary library procedure, it is the Library’s policy neither to collect nor to disclose personal information about any patron, (1) unless they or their guardian, natural or duly appointed, choose to make such information available to the Library or (2) pursuant to any process, order or subpoena authorized under the authority of and in accord with federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
Privacy of Each Patron’s Record
The West Florida Public Libraries consider individual control of a patron’s card to be the most effective protection of privacy of the patron. How each patron chooses to use and share their card determines the degree of privacy the Library will provide for that patron’s record.
To support this choice, WFPL provides access to information associated with a valid library card under the following circumstances:
- Presentation of a patron’s card,
- Provision of card number over the telephone, along with registered birth-date & address,
- Presentation of an official library notice, or
- Presentation of the photo identification necessary to obtain a library card.
To summarize, all registration and circulation records are kept confidential, (1) unless the patron chooses to make such information available to the Library or (2) as may be required by state or federal law.
Florida Law provides that:
- “All registration and circulation records of every public library, except statistical reports of registration and circulation, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of [the State’s ‘Sunshine Law,’ FL Stat. §119.07(1) and FL Const. Art. I, §24(a)];
- “The term ‘registration records’ includes any information that a library requires a patron to provide in order to become eligible to borrow books and other materials, and the term ‘circulation records’ includes all information that identifies the patrons who borrow particular books and other materials;
- “Except in accordance with a proper judicial order, a person may not make known in any manner any information contained in records made confidential and exempt by this section, except [that] a library *** may, only for the purpose of collecting fines or recovering overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library, disclose information made confidential and exempt by this section to (1) the library patron named in the records, (2) in the case of a library patron less than 16 years of age, the parent or guardian of that patron named in the records, *** or (5) judicial officials.”
FL Stat. §257.261 (“Library Registration and Circulation Records”).
Under Florida’s Open Records Law [FL Stat. §§119.01(1) and 119.011(12)], e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to the West Florida Public Libraries. Instead, contact the Libraries by phone or in writing.
Approved and adopted by the WFPL Board of Governance on 3/26/2018