Privacy and Confidentiality

Duluth Public Library Privacy and Confidentiality Policy:

The Duluth Public Library’s commitment to privacy and confidentiality has its basis not only in the law, but also in the ethics and practices of the library profession. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics:

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.

Definition and Scope

For the purpose of this policy, patron data is defined as information that identifies a library patron or information that can be connected to a patron. It is a form of government data and is subject to federal law, Minnesota state statutes, and City of Duluth data governance policy and procedures.

Patron data includes, but is not limited to, patron information associated with borrowing library materials and requesting information, using the library's computers and wireless service, reserving library meeting rooms, and accessing downloadable content and other resources via third party vendors.

Public Data

In the state of Minnesota, all government data is public unless it has been classified otherwise by statute or federal law.

Private Patron Data

The following patron data collected and maintained by the Duluth Public Library is private and may not be disclosed for other than library purposes.

  1. Data that links a patron’s name with materials requested or borrowed
  2. Data that links a patron's name with a specific subject about which the patron has requested
  3. All data (other than the name of the applicant) provided as a part of a library card application

Circumstances when private data may be released:

  1. Patrons may access data about themselves.
  2. A library may release held materials to a family member or other person who resides with a library patron or who has the patron’s library card as permission to pick up their items. Patrons may request that their holds be released only to themselves.
  3. Private data may be disclosed to a parent or guardian of a minor or the legal guardian of a vulnerable adult. In the case of a minor, the library shall, upon request by the minor, withhold data from parents or guardians if the library determines that withholding the data would be in the best interest of the minor. Minnesota Administrative Rules 1205.0500 outlines the access procedures for a parent or guardian. More information can be found in the Library's circulation policy.
  4. The Library may release private data pursuant to a court order.
  5. The Library may be compelled to disclose private data pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act.

Handling and Disclosing Patron Data

Only authorized library staff with confidential passwords shall have access to patron data stored in the Library’s computer system for the sole purpose of performing library work. Except when required by law or to fulfill an individual user’s service request, the Library will not disclose any personal data collected from patrons. The Library follows City of Duluth data practices policy and responds to written public data requests in a timely way.

The Library does not give, share, sell, or transfer patron data for commercial purposes.

Third Party Security

When connecting to resources outside the Library’s direct control, the only information released is that which authenticates users as valid card holders of the Duluth Public Library. The Library is not responsible for protecting personal information gathered by outside websites.


Only the Library Manager or designee of the Library Manager is authorized to receive or comply with requests from law enforcement officers. Library records will not be made available to any agency of the state, federal, or local government unless the Library is served with a subpoena, warrant, court order, or other authorized request that legally requires compliance.


Adopted February 27, 2024

Duluth Public Library Board