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February 17, 2018


Confidentiality and the USA PATRIOT Act

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Library Closed Monday, Feb. 19

All locations of The Seattle Public Library and the book drops at the Central Library will be closed on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 19.

Confidentiality and the USA PATRIOT Act

The Seattle Public Library Confidentiality Policy

The purpose of the Confidentiality Policy is to ensure the confidentiality of borrower records at The Seattle Public Library. Staff members and volunteers may not convey information about borrower records, including loan transactions, requests for information or materials and online sites accessed, to individuals or to any private or public agency without an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, or as otherwise required by law.



The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act) became law on Oct. 26, 2001. Under provisions of the act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement officials may seek court orders for Library records for investigations relevant to national security or terrorism. Libraries or librarians served with these search warrants may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrants or the fact that records were produced as a result of the warrants. Patrons cannot be told their records were given to law enforcement agencies or that they were the subjects of FBI investigations.


Minimum records kept

The Seattle Public Library keeps the minimum number of records necessary for maintaining operations. When a customer logs off a Library computer, information about that user session is automatically deleted. Also, when a customer returns materials to the Library, information about what was checked out is automatically deleted at day-end, unless the customer has fines or has been referred to a materials recovery agency.


For more information

More information on the USA PATRIOT Act is available from the American Library Association Web site. (Opens a new window)