Public libraries have a long and proud tradition of protecting the privacy of their patrons and the confidentiality of their data. There is a heightened awareness today about how information is collected and shared, and this document outlines several policies and practices of the Yonkers Public Library (YPL) concerning these issues.
Visiting the Library
We welcome visitors to any of our three locations (Riverfront, Grinton I. Will, and Crestwood). Visitors do not have to be residents of Yonkers, and identification is not required to enter the library or to enjoy any of these activities:
- Reading books and magazines within the library,
- Attending a library-sponsored program or instructional class,
- Receiving assistance at the Information Desk
- Using the wireless network on your mobile device
- Getting homework help from a teacher
- Viewing an art exhibit Getting a Library Card
A library card is required to borrow materials, reserve a computer terminal. or access some databases on the YPL.ORG web page. Library cards are free, but we do ask for certain information:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Birth Date
The Yonkers Public Library belongs to the Westchester Library System (WLS). a county-wide cooperative that provides its members with certain shared services. WLS maintains the automated circulation system that stores library card information, and it shares that data with all 38 public libraries In Westchester. This enables Yonkers patrons to borrow items from any Westchester library. Patron registration data is deemed confidential under New York State Law (I CPLR 4509), not to be disclosed unless pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.
Borrowing Library Materials
When you borrow a book or film from the library, a temporary record of that transaction is linked to your library card. That record is kept until the material is returned, and then it is permanently erased. The circulation system does have an optional feature which allows patrons. at their request, to keep a log of items that they have checked out. Circulation history is kept confidential under the same law (NYS I CPLR 4509) that governs library card information.
c) Library Computers. YPL uses an automated reservation system for its public computer terminals. To reserve a computer, you either need a library card (preferred), or a valid piece of identification for getting a temporary guest pass. A 24-hour record is kept only of the length of time you spent on the computer. When the browser is closed, no record remains of the sites that were visited during that session.
- Wireless Network. WLS maintains a wireless network for patrons who prefer using their mobile devices to access the Internet. Some statistical information is recorded, such as the number and length of visits and bandwidth usage. No personal information is recorded on users or sites visited.
- Library Home Page. YPL.ORG is the library's home on the Internet, and it contains a wealth of information on library programs and services. It 1s also a point of entry to hundreds of other web sites, recommended by our staff, that provide information on a wide variety of subjects. As you browse through the web site, read pages. or download information, some information will be recorded about the visit but nothing that will identify you personally. The information we gather is only used to improve our site and to find out how many visitors we get and the types of technology they use.
Some third-party vendors featured on the home page provide databases on a subscription
basis, and YPL or WLS may require patrons to enter their library card number for authentication purposes only. Note that whenever you leave the YPL.ORG site, you will be subject to the policies and data-gathering practices of the individual sites you are visiting. We encourage patrons to familiarize themselves with these policies.
YPL offers a variety of meeting spaces to non-profit and for-profit organizations, subject to policies set forth by the library. The application form asks for basic contact information. and the forms are kept on file indefinitely. This information is not shared with anyone.
Riverfront has a limited number of study rooms that are available for individuals and small groups. A library card or photo ID is held by staff and returned when the room is vacated. No records are kept of study room use.
YPL employs closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) in its three locations to maintain a safe and secure environment for our patrons. Images from the cameras are saved for a short period of time before being recorded over, and only a limited number of library staff have access to them. These recordings are shared with law enforcement personnel when their assistance is requested to investigate an incident occurring on library property.
Otherwise, law enforcement will be granted access only pursuant to a properly-executed court order or similar documentation.
Email is the preferred method for contacting patrons when they have items overdue or reserved items to pick up. If an email address is not on file, patrons will be contacted via an automated phone call. YPL also collects email addresses for its online newsletter, which contains information on upcoming programs and other library news. We do not share our email database with other groups, and patrons may opt out of receiving the newsletter at any time.
As a general rule. the Yonkers Public Library is committed to patron confidentiality. Confidentiality extends to information requested or received. and materials consulted or borrowed. Whenever a library service can be linked or identified with a specific user, YPL will strive to maintain patron privacy to the fullest extent possible, subiect to applicable law.
If you have any questions about privacy issues at the Yonkers Public library, please contact the library Director at the address below for a quick and courteous response.
Office of the Director Riverfront Library One Larkin Center Yonkers, NY 10701 email@example.com
This Statement was approved by the Board of Trustees on May 25, 2017