Retention Policy for Library Records

Privacy Statement


The Paul Pratt Memorial Library (“PPML”) is committed to protecting the privacy of patron information that is not considered a public record under Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 78, section 7. This statute states that library records “that reveal the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person shall not be considered a public record.” PPML’s policy is to protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information including names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, circulation and interlibrary loan records, database and Internet search records, the nature of reference queries, or any other information related to the use of library materials, services and facilities. This information is collected for the sole purpose of conducting normal Library business. Personally identifiable information will not be sold or leased for any purpose, or released to any governmental or civilian inquiry unless a subpoena accompanied with proper identification is presented (see Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records with Procedures) link. Library patrons are advised that there is no guarantee that every transaction completed via the Old Library Colony Network (“OCLN”) network is private or secure. OCLN’s privacy policy states:

“Records of library use (i.e. amount of or titles of materials checked out and returned, or services used) are maintained only for the purpose of statistics….OCLN has appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of information that OCLN has collected from you at our site. OCLN takes many measures to safeguard user information, but cannot and does not guarantee that every task completed via its network is private.”

PPML cannot and does not guarantee the security and privacy of any Internet transaction, particularly e-commerce transactions. PPML is not responsible for patrons’ privacy when they disclose information to outside Web sites accessed via Library computers.

Records & Statistics Retention


  • Circulation Records: Library materials are circulated electronically via the Old Colony Library Network’s Ibistro online catalog. User barcodes, names, addresses and phone numbers associated with completed transactions, including charge, renewal and discharge transactions are deleted after 60 days. Information about unpaid bills remains in the patron record indefinitely until all fines are paid. The OCLN system uses both a library card number and a PIN (personal identification number) to protect the privacy of its users’ circulation records. It is recommended that patrons change the default PIN to one known only to the user, and to report a lost library card to PPML immediately. Patrons may choose to set up a “My Favorites” account that records all materials borrowed. Item information included in “My Favorites” is retained for 180 days. \
  • Library Internet PCs: The search history and temporary files generated by patrons using Library computers are cleared daily when computers are shut down or restarted. Patrons should not allow automatic logins to Web-based email, should never save passwords or files on Library computers, and should close all Web browsers when finished with a session.
  • Wireless Computing: The Library’s wireless Internet access can be used by patrons who have checked out Library laptop computers, or by patrons equipped with their own portable computing devices. Patrons are advised that PPML does not provide a secure wireless connection and assumes no responsibility for information that is compromised through use of the Internet (see Wireless Internet Policy).link
  • Reference Records: Reference interviews can occur in person, by telephone or via email. Paper and email records containing personally identifiable information are deleted as soon as the information is supplied.
  • Library Databases: PPML provides in-library access to commercial online databases. Patrons are not personally identified and PPML retains no permanent record of databases accessed and searches executed. All search history is cleared daily.
  • Interlibrary Loan Records: Interlibrary Loans are transactions in which library materials are made available by one library to another. These transactions may include both paper and electronic records that contain personally identifiable user information. The OCLN IBistro online catalog retains Interlibrary Loan transaction information for up to 60 days after an item is returned and all fines/fees are paid. PPML retains paper files of Interlibrary Loan transactions for one fiscal year, for statistical accounting purposes only.
  • Emails & Web Forms: Personally identifiable information provided to the Library by patrons via email or Web forms are used only for transmitting information, sending automatic email notifications, updating patron registration records, or for responding to patron inquiries. Patrons should be aware that this does not apply to email and other electronic communications that patrons send and receive outside of the Library via the Internet.
  • Virtual Catalog: The Virtual Catalog transactions conducted via the OCLN system record only active requests. All electronic records of the request are deleted within 48 hours after an item is returned. The OCLN system retains the Virtual Catalog transaction information for up to 60 days after an item is returned and all fines/fees are paid.
  • Patron Registration cards: Registration cards are retained indefinitely unless PPML becomes aware that a patron has moved, is deceased, or hasn’t used a card within three years.
Adopted by the PPML Board of Library Trustees May 10, 2006