Access to public records is governed by Indiana Code 5-14-3. The official policy of the State of Indiana is that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees, subject to certain limitations.
The New Albany-Floyd County Public Library holds three types of records: 1) general records; 2) work records; and 3) patron information. Different criteria govern access to each of the general types of records.
The Library is required by law to make available all records of its affairs and the official acts of those who represent the Library not specifically excepted. Any person may inspect and copy non-excepted public records held by the Library during regular business hours. The request must be made in writing allowing the Library minimally one full business day notice, if delivered in person, or seven business days after receipt, if delivered by mail, and must “identify with reasonable particularity the record being requested [IC 5-14-3-3(a)(1); IC 5-14-3-9]. A staff person must be present during the inspection to ensure the integrity of the record. Copies made using the Library’s equipment are assessed charges at the current rate of charges for public access photocopiers as established by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library is not obligated by law to create a document that it does not already have on file to fill an informational request.
Public Records Excepted from Disclosure
Public records excepted from disclosure include:
- Personnel files of library employees and files of applicants for employment as described under the Library’s Personnel policies;
- Records specifically prepared for discussion or developed during a discussion in an executive session under IC 5-14-1.5-6;
- The identity of a donor or a gift if the donor required nondisclosure of its identity as a condition of making the gift; or after the gift is made, the donor, or the donor’s family, requests nondisclosure.
Work Records Excluded from Disclosure
Work records excluded from disclosure include:
- Administrative or technical information that would jeopardize a recordkeeping or security system
- Computer programs, computer codes, computer filing systems, and other software owned by the Library or entrusted to it
- Any record declared confidential by State statute or Federal law.
The Library takes very seriously its obligations to protect the privacy of every person. Any information the Library maintains on patrons and their use is deemed private and confidential [IC 5-14-3-4 (b) and IC 5-14-3-4 9b) (16)].
Further, the Board subscribes to the American Library Code of Ethics, which says in part that “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”
The Library may use such records for its own purposes and needs, including, but not limited to: for claims against library patrons for collection of fines, materials, and other expenses; in any litigation wherein an attorney representing the Library deems the records material evidence; and/or in collection development. Library staff members are not authorized to disclose such records to any third party, except for disclosure to a parent or guardian, information on their minor children, if they ask. The only other release of patron records will be by the order of a court or grand jury.
This policy shall not be construed as a guarantee by the Library to its patrons of any absolute right to privacy. The Library is not responsible for information gained from a patron record by anyone other than the patrons, if the patron has lost or loaned his/her card or if someone has obtained the patron information by illegal or inappropriate methods. However, records of minors can be disclosed to their parents, stepparents, or legal guardians with proper identification.
All of the Library’s records are available, without exception, to the officers and members in good standing, of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library’s Board of Trustees, who are still bound by the above confidentiality laws.