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University Libraries Policy on Confidentiality of Records

In order to support the intellectual freedom of the members of the University of Rhode Island community, the University Libraries will “…protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.” (ALA Code of Ethics, Article III)

Rhode Island state law also makes clear the presumed right to privacy of library users. (R.I. General Laws, 11-18-32).

Under no circumstances, with the exception of being in compliance with applicable state and federal law, will the University Libraries release information about borrowers and their use of the Libraries’ collections. Confidential library records will not be released or made available in any format to a federal agent, law enforcement officer, or other person unless a court order in proper form has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction after a showing of good cause by the law enforcement agency or person seeking the records.

University Libraries staff, working with legal counsel, will generally follow procedures as outlined in ALA’s “Confidentiality and Coping with Law Enforcement Inquiries: Guidelines for the Library and Its Staff” which can be found at:

Approved April 1, 2004, rev. February 11, 2016

Copyright © 2017 University of Rhode Island.

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