CUNY Libraries’ Privacy Statement

CUNY’s library system is a federation of 31 libraries and the CUNY Central Office of Library Services. It is the policy of CUNY Libraries to respect the privacy of all our users, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors, in accordance with federal and state laws and professional standards. Specifically, CUNY Libraries support and comply with New York State Law (Laws of 1988, Chap. 112, New York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 4509) and the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association and, when applicable, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The GDPR protects all European Union (“EU”) citizens from privacy and data breaches by allowing citizens to maintain control of the personal data kept and processed by organizations, including the CUNY Libraries. The GDPR also protects the personal data of individuals, regardless of citizenry, in the EU. CUNY Libraries adheres to these regulations and standards with respect to the confidentiality of library records, including, but not limited to, the circulation of library materials, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, and course reserve requests.

All library records relating to an individual patron’s use of the library and its resources are considered confidential. Those records may be consulted and used by authorized library staff in the course of carrying out library operations, but they will not be disclosed to others except upon the request or consent of the library user, or pursuant to subpoena, court order, or other legal requirements. If CUNY Libraries receive a law enforcement request for patron records, then CUNY Libraries will forward that request to the applicable college’s legal counsel. To better protect the privacy of library patrons, the CUNY Office of Library Services has procedures in place that minimize the retention of library patron records.

We make every effort to protect each patron’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted. However, CUNY Libraries—both individually and collectively—license many information resources from vendors. In the process of negotiating licenses with vendors, CUNY Libraries should, with the assistance of the Office of the General Counsel, exclude licensing language that may permit the vendor to sell or otherwise provide user data to third parties without permission from the licensing library.

Please note that individual campus libraries may have adopted additional privacy statements, which should be posted on campus library websites.

February 2016; December 2016 (rev.); January 2019 (rev.)