C/W MARS is committed to the protection of patron privacy. The Network does not require personal information to use the online catalog, electronic databases, or the Internet. C/W MARS keeps no permanent record of the Internet sites visited by library patrons, the electronic databases accessed, or the searches performed by individual patrons. In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78 Section 7: "That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record … " C/W MARS considers circulation and registration records identifying the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of library patrons, as well as the materials borrowed or accessed electronically, not to be part of the public record. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (P.L. 107- 56) supercedes state law and expands the federal government's authority for access to library records and documents to protect against international terrorism and clandestine intelligence activities. It also expands federal law enforcements' authorization to track telephone and electronic communication, including any dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information and the actual content of the communication.
C/W MARS collects no personal information about users of the Internet, electronic databases, or the online catalog, unless patrons choose to provide it. This information will be used only to enhance the patron's use of the library and the online card catalog. It will not be shared with third parties without the explicit permission of the patron. Library patrons should be aware that C/W MARS and other Massachusetts library organizations license commercial databases from a variety of vendors. The Network will make every effort to restrict electronic database vendors from collecting and using identifying personal information of its library users, however it provides no guarantee that personal information will not be shared with third parties.
The intellectual pursuits of individuals using library or Internet resources are considered confidential information regardless of the age of the borrower. Such records shall not be made available to any individual or agency except pursuant to such process, order, subpoena or warrant as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the Executive Director will notify the C/W MARS Executive Committee, except when prohibited by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and consult with the Network attorney to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is evidence of good cause for its issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, such defects must be corrected before the information is provided. The Network recognizes that a legal search warrant must be honored immediately, however the library or affected patron(s) may challenge the warrant after the fact.
Member Library Directors and C/W MARS staff should refer all formal requests for circulation, registration, or usage records to the Executive Director.
Individual C/W MARS libraries may have local Privacy policies that may apply in addition to this policy.
See the Internet Policy.