Patron Privacy Policy

Privacy regarding your use of the library is governed by state and federal law and regulations as well as national and local policies. The Tompkins County Public Library encourages users to learn more about your rights to privacy and how recent changes in federal laws affect those rights. Links to current information about these laws and regulations will be kept on the library’s website.

It is the policy of the Tompkins County Public Library to keep confidential all information about your library use. Records containing this information will not be not be released or used in any way for non library purposes except pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required by statute.**

What Information Do We Keep?

The Tompkins County Public Library keeps the following information, which has been judged as necessary for the proper operation of the library.

  • All information you provided on your library card application is kept as long as your library card is valid.
  • Information regarding items you checked out is kept indefinitely.*
  • Information regarding items lost, lost and paid, items damaged and damaged items paid for, claims returned, overdue charges assessed and paid, charges assessed and waived is kept for three years.
  • Information regarding e-mail reference queries is deleted monthly following statistical tabulations.
  • Information about who has signed up for the Internet workstations is deleted at the end of each business day.
  • Information regarding registration for Internet tutorials is deleted monthly following statistical tabulations.
  • Information regarding who has pre-registered for a public program is deleted following completion of the program.
  • Information regarding who has enrolled in the summer reading program is deleted following completion of the program.

In addition to the information identified above, other information about your use of the library may be contained in computer and network logs that are required for the proper functioning of the library, and which follow standard industry practices. This information is purged as soon as possible and is never disclosed unless required by law.

To Whom Will It Be Disclosed?

Access to this information is restricted to library employees and employees of the Finger Lakes Library System who directly maintain the library’s database.

We will provide this information to others only when required by law.

Your Rights
  • You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of the information about your library usage within 5 business days of your request.
  • You have the right to request an amendment to the information if you believe the information to be incorrect or incomplete.
  • Appeals regarding these policies may be directed to the Board of Trustees.
Questions and Complaints

Questions, comments or complaints about the library’s policies should be put in writing and directed to the Library Director or to the President of the Board of Trustees, Tompkins County Public Library 101 E. Green Street, Ithaca NY 14850.

* This is an unforeseen feature of our new computer catalog. Tompkins County Public Library is working vigorously with the Finger Lakes Library System, which owns the system; and Polaris, the vendor of the system, to change this so that once an item is returned by the user, all records of that transaction are deleted permanently.

Adopted August 28, 2007
Tompkins County Public Library Board of Trustees

** Addendum 9/8/10: The Tompkins County Public Library's website,, may collect anonymous traffic data through the use of cookies provided by Google Analytics and/or other tracking software. A cookie is a small text file sent via the browser and stored on your computer’s hard drive. Cookies can provide information about website browsing behaviors, including pages accessed, links clicked and Internet connection speeds. The Library does not use Google Analytics or any other tracking software to collect personally identifiable information from visitors to its website.

New York State Law 4509

Library records which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including, but not limited to records relating to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transaction requests, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests or the use of audio visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library, and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order, or where otherwise required by statute.

For More Information

Documents in pdf format require Adobe Reader for viewing. get Adobe Reader

Page last modified Apr 8, 2014