Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. Rights to privacy and confidentiality are explicit in Article VII of the Library Bill of Rights and implicit in its guarantee of free access to library resources for all users.

The Westport Library (“Library”) is committed to protecting your privacy, whether you are a patron/user or donor. This Privacy Policy explains what information the Library collects from you and why. By using the Library’s website, downloading the Library’s mobile applications, visiting the Library, or donating to the Library, you agree to this policy. With your consent, you also agree to let us use your email and postal address to communicate with you about our programs, services, fundraising efforts, and more.

While CT State law requires that the Library treat as confidential information about materials you check out and information you access, the Library also does so because it is in keeping with our commitment to you to protect your privacy.

What information does the Library collect?

The Library collects information about our patrons and donors directly from you and from automatically collected network logs and cookies. The Library does its best to keep information only for so long as it is needed for the proper operation of the Library and to better deliver Library services to you. The Library may retain some information in backup storage systems, hard copy form, or as required by law. The Library collects different types of information from you depending on your chosen level of engagement with Library services and the information needed to provide you access to those services. 

1. User-Provided Information. When you register for a user account for Library services, the Library asks you to share certain information with us. If you deactivate your registered user account, you may not be able to continue using certain Library services that require registration. The information that you provide to us can include personally identifiable information (PII):

  • Personal Information: any information that can personally identify you, such as your name, physical address, email address, phone number, Library barcode, payment information, and other similar information;
  • Residency Verification: information such as driver’s license, other government-issued identification, and utility bills containing a postal address;
  • Social Media Information: includes the option of using your social media accounts and posting content on our social media pages, our crowdsourcing sites, or elsewhere on the Internet, and such information you allow to be shared with us;
  • Login Credentials: Username and password, as part of the process to create an online user account which allows you to view your Library Records at any time by logging into your account;
  • Library Record: contains your Personal Information related to your personal use of circulating items including Hold requests and use of audio-visual materials such as films and music. The Library does not maintain records of your checked-out items unless you request that through your Library account.

2. Information Automatically Collected when using the Library website and Library computers:  

Records such as transaction logs and any other information that may identify specific data, files, programs, or other electronic materials which a user has consulted, are considered confidential and shall not be divulged to anyone other than the user, except as otherwise provided in the following paragraphs:

  1. All users are advised that such records shall not be made available to any agency of the local, state, or federal government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, local, state, or federal law relating to criminal, civil, or administrative procedures or legislative investigatory power.
  2. Users of Internet browsing software should be aware that the history of sites visited on the web is not private or secure.
  3. Our laptop service, Laptops Anytime, includes deep freeze, which is a service that automatically deletes user content when a laptop is returned to the Laptop Anytime kiosk.
  4. Information can be accessed on the Library’s desk top computers if a patron does not log-off from their account when they are finished using the computer. The Library is not responsible for protecting the privacy of personal information left accessible by patrons on these computers.

How does the Library use the information collected?

Depending on the Library services you choose to use, the following are some examples of the ways the Library uses your information to provide those services to you. You always have the option whether or not to provide the information required for such services.

  • The Library uses Personal Information and Residency Verification to issue Library cards. If a user chooses to provide an email address, the Library may use it to send account alerts and other communications. The Library uses Library Records to assist in maintaining our collections and to verify records of users’ paid and unpaid fines.
  • The Library uses Library Records, as allowed by you and in accordance with the preferences you have established, to deliver enhanced or personalized services.
  • The Library uses Personal Information and Login Credentials to provide access to our digital services.
  • The Library uses Personal Information when collecting or processing fines.

How can you manage information that the Library has collected about you?

You can manage most information within your registered user account, or you can ask our staff to assist you. Our information storage systems are configured in a way that helps us to protect information from accidental or malicious destruction. To that purpose, the information the Library collects is also saved in backup storage systems. Therefore, any update, change or deletion you make to your information or preferences may not immediately be reflected in all copies of the information the Library have and may not be removed from our backup storage systems until overwritten.

When does the Library share information?

1. Third-Party Library Service Providers.The Library uses third-party library service providers and technologies to help deliver some of our services to you. If you choose to use such services, the Library may share your information with these third parties, but only as necessary for them to provide services to the Library. The Library will make every effort to let you know when a third-party company is being used to deliver our services. The Library may also display links to third-party services or content. By following links, you may be providing information (including, but not limited to personal information) directly to a third party, to us, or to both. By using these services, you acknowledge and agree that the Library is not responsible for how those third parties collect or use your information. The Library encourages you to review the privacy policies of every third-party the vendor or service that you visit or use, including those third parties with whom you interact with through our Library services.

2. Legal Requests. Sometimes the law requires us to share your information, such as if the Library receives a valid subpoena, warrant, or court order. The Library may share your information if our careful review leads us to believe that the law, including state privacy law applicable to Library Records, requires us to do so.

3. Grantors.The Library is able to offer our users optional programs and services that we would not otherwise be able to provide without the generous support of grantors. These funds are often dependent on the Library complying with the reporting requirements of the grantor. If you participate in these optional programs and services, your information may be included in these reports. The Library will identify in the registration materials the grantor associated with our programs and services and information the Library may share with them. 


How does the Library collect and share children’s information?

Our collection of person information is intended to follow the principles of The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a U.S. law which regulates online collection of information from children under the age of 13 and is designed to protect the online privacy of children under the age of 13.

If you are under the age of 13, you may not be allowed to use our online services without your parent’s or guardian’s permission, especially when your personal information may be collected.

We will obtain parental consent before asking for personal information on our children’s platforms, unless the request for information falls within an exception that would be permitted under COPPA. We do not make personal information collected from children publicly available.  We will not condition a child’s participation in any activity or service on the disclosure of more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity or service. 

In addition to the User-Provided Information detailed above, examples of when a child’s information may be collected include when they:

  • Create an account in our website or download the Library’s mobile applications;
  • Interact or correspond with us by letter, phone, SMS, email or via our website;
  • Subscribe to receive news alerts through our website;
  • Submit contributions to our publications or posts via our website;
  • Sign up for programs, services, fundraising, or other Library offerings or activities.  

Parental Rights:

Children under 18 may not apply for a Library card without their parent’s or guardian’s consent.

We may revise or update this Privacy Policy from time to time, for example, to reflect changes in the law, our practices, or the features of the Library’s services. 

Please periodically review this Privacy Policy so that you are up to date on our most current policies and practices.

Reviewed and Approved January  2022

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