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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.745

Introduced by Representatives Sharpe of Bristol, Maier of Middlebury, Botzow of Pownal, Bray of New Haven, Fisher of Lincoln, Jewett of Ripton, Klein of East Montpelier, Nuovo of Middlebury and Stevens of Shoreham

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Libraries; patron records; confidentiality

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish that the registration records and transaction records of library patrons are confidential except in designated situations.  The bill would also authorize a fine for a library that discloses such a record without authorization and a right for a patron to bring a civil action against the library.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY PATRON RECORDS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  22 V.S.A. chapter 4 is added to read:

Chapter 4.  LIBRARY PATRON RECORDS

§ 171.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Library” means a public library as defined in subdivision 101(2) of

this title, any college or university library, or any other library that is open on a regular basis and circulates materials to the public without a fee.

(2)  “Patron registration records” means library records that contain

information a library patron must provide in order to be eligible for borrowing privileges at a library.

(3)  “Patron transaction records” means library records that contain names or other personal identifying information that discloses an individual’s activities within a library, including the materials that have been viewed in print or electronic form, research questions posed, materials in any format that the patron has requested through interlibrary loan or has borrowed, or any other library service or consultation that the patron has requested.

§ 172.  LIBRARY RECORD CONFIDENTIALITY; EXEMPTIONS

(a)  A library’s patron registration records and patron transaction records shall remain confidential, and the library’s officers and employees shall not disclose the records except:

(1)  with the written permission of the library patron to whom the records pertain;

(2)  to officers and employees of the library to the extent necessary for library administration purposes;

(3)  in response to an authorized judicial order directing disclosure based on a finding that the merits of the disclosure clearly exceed the justification for personal privacy;

(4)  to custodial parents or guardians of patrons under the age of 13 for the exclusive purpose of collecting fines owed or materials overdue.

(b)  Statistical records pertaining to the patronage, circulation activities, and use of any service or consultation the library provides, provided that they do not contain the names of patrons or any other personal identifying information, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

§ 173.  FINES

Any person who is found to have violated this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than $100.00.

§ 174.  RIGHT OF PATRON ACTION

Any person whose confidential patron registration records or patron transaction records have been disclosed, except as provided in this chapter, is authorized to bring a civil action against the library that disclosed the records and seek monetary damages not to exceed $2,500.00.

Sec. 2.  1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(19) is amended to read:

(19)  records relating to the identity of library patrons or the identity of library patrons in regard to the circulation of library materials patron registration records and patron transaction records in accordance with chapter 4 of Title 22;



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us