The Nahman-Watson Library protects patrons’ privacy to the fullest extent of the law (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7) and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The American Library Association’s Code of Ethics states: “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.”
Personal information is information that can be used to identify you. We collect personal information when you register for a library card, check out materials, or access your library card account. We may also ask for personal information as we try to find resources for you or answer your questions. In the latter case, providing personal information is voluntary.
You will need a library card to check out books, DVDs, or other materials, or access online resources from off-campus. We collect personal information from you, including your name, address, phone number, and email address, in order to sign you up for and maintain your library card account. While we ask for a form of ID when setting up the account, we do not store your ID number. We use the personal information you provide to us to respond to questions from you and to give you information about the status of your account, including holds and bills. We will never sell your information or use the personal information in your library card account for marketing purposes.
We do not reveal your library card account information to anyone but you, except in the following circumstances:
- You can authorize individuals to pick up your holds and/or to borrow materials on your behalf, at your request. These individuals will need to have access to some of your information.
- If you fail to pay a library bill over $30.00 for more than 30 days (payment for a lost book, for example), a hold will be put on your account in the college’s financial database. Other college staff will be able to see that you have a bill with the library, but will not be able to access other information about your library account.
- In the case of a valid subpoena or warrant, the library may be required to share your information with the relevant authorities. No confidential information on library patrons will be revealed without a subpoena or search warrant.
When you open a library card account, library staff will set a password for you, which you can reset. You password is encrypted and is not visible to library staff. This means that we cannot look up your password for you, but we can reset it. If you do not reset your default password, staff and others may be able to guess what it is.
Library records which may reveal your interests or research, including books checked out, bills due, and holds placed, are protected by law and library policy. Your checkout history is purged from your account 7 days after you return items and your hold history after you pick up the item or the hold expires. Library staff are able to see the last patron who checked out a particular item, which means that your name will be linked to the record for a book or other library item until another patron checks out that same item.
For some expensive items, including laptops, telescopes, bicycles, wireless hotspots, digital cameras, etc., we will ask you to sign a waiver, which may also include some personal information. The library will keep the signed form until you return the item in good condition. After you return the item in good condition, we will shred the form. If the item is damaged, we will retain the form until you have paid a fee. We may ask for additional personal information on the checkout form, including your student ID number, for research purposes, but your participation in that is voluntary and will not impact your ability to borrow those items.
You can use library desktop computers without registering or submitting any personal information. The library keeps no permanent record of the internet sites you visit, the online resources you use, or the searches you perform on our website.
- In the library classroom, study carrels, and PCs in the study rooms, all internet browsing data and saved files are purged when the computer is restarted.
- The lobby computers and Mac desktop computers do retain internet browsing data and files until manually purged. We are working with IT to change this.
- When you check out a laptop, the library resets the computer, purging any data that may be saved to it, upon its return.
The Nahman-Watson Library has contracts with many third-party vendors. These include the databases that you access through the library website, including Ebsco, Films on Demand, Gale, and more. In order to access these services from off-campus, you must sign in with your library card number and password. The Nahman-Watson Library and C/WMARS do not share your library account information with these vendors, but do verify that you have a valid account. Some vendors may ask you to provide additional information to set up a personal account. Please be aware that these third-party vendors have different privacy policies and may track your online activity in ways that the library does not.
Adopted January 24, 2019