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Library Policies: Patron Privacy

Patron Privacy


Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association.  Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.   

Forefront believes strongly in protecting the privacy of all who use its Library services, in person and online, in compliance with federal and state laws and professional standards.  Consequently, Library staff members hold in confidence to the extent allowable by law all information about individual Library users and their choices of research material. 

The Library posts publicly the privacy and information-gathering policies of the Library’s on our website and other places as appropriate.

Library Services for Members: 

The Library uses personal information to respond to Member queries or requests for service.  A Member will be asked to submit reference requests through email or online forms and to provide his or her name, organization affiliation, email, and nature of the request.  The Library keeps a record of each interaction between Library staff and Members in response to written requests.  This record is accessible by Forefront’s staff.  Library staff may redirect personal information to another person or department better suited to meet your needs.

Information Service Providers

Consistent with its user privacy policy, the Library expects its information service providers to follow the same standards in the performance of the products they license, lease, or sell to the Library.  Contracts, licenses, agreements, and arrangements into which the Library enters shall accordingly and as standard practice protect the identity of individual users and the information they access.

Email Addresses

The Library maintains a list of individual email addresses gathered when a Library patron signs in upon use of the Library’s public access computers.  The list is used by the Library staff to follow up with patrons about resources that may be of interest to them and may be used by Forefront’s staff to follow up with patrons about membership in Forefront. 

Email addresses obtained through registration for Library events also may be used by Forefront’s staff to follow up about membership.  The Library staff and Membership staff will not share email address information with outside organizations.

Federal and State Laws

Library patrons should be aware that Federal legislation (USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Freedom Act of 2015) has expanded the circumstances under which a federal agent may request patron records held by the Library.  If such records exist and are requested by federal authorities, the Library is prohibited by law from notifying the patron of that request.  

Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act (1984) ensures the privacy of a library patron's registration records.  This act protects sensitive patron information from anyone wishing to obtain it, including a law enforcement or government official, unless a court order is issued and presented to the proper administrative office.