CUNY Libraries’ Data Retention Policy

Patron accounts in the CUNY Libraries’ integrated library system (ILS), Aleph, are created by an automated patron load. Initially, the accounts are set to expire after 120 days. These accounts are extended monthly for individuals that have not left CUNY.

An account is removed (deleted) one year after it expires, all loans are returned, and outstanding charges are paid. Otherwise, the account remains with the loan details about those unpaid charges. 90% of fines and fees over $5.00 are paid within five years of leaving CUNY.

At hand are the details of about how patron transaction information is retained during this lifecycle.

Practice 1

  1. Circulation transactions have links to a patron’s identity. For items returned on time these will be purged after one month. (The record may exist longer if it is less than a month old at the time that records are made anonymous, but may only be retained no longer than two months.)
  2. For items not returned when due, the patron information (including loan history) is retained by Aleph until the items are returned and outstanding charges are paid. No change for this is recommended.
  3. Records linking a patron’s identity and closed cash transactions will be retained for two years. The loan details may be removed once all outstanding payments were made. (Closed cash transactions mean that an item was returned and all charges have been paid.)

Practice 2

  1. Circulation transactions delinked from patron record (anonymized) will be kept for ten years. This includes the circulation history of individual items in the catalog, including lost items. (Circulation records remain linked to a patron while any charges remain.)

Practice 3

  1. General item record history will be retained for ten years. (Includes the circulation history of lost items in the catalog.)

Practice 4

  1. Library records shall remain private and confidential pursuant to New York State Law.
  2. Any CUNY Library staff contacted with a request and/or subpoena for library records, are to refer the request to the Head of Circulation and the Chief Librarian; who must subsequently refer the request and/or subpoena to the College’s legal counsel.

Practice 5

  1. Records of unpaid overdue fines under $5.00 will be retained until the patron is no longer active for 5 years. After that time period they shall be waived by an authorized staff member.

Practice 6

  1. Records of unpaid fines for lost books will be retained in perpetuity. This will include loan and patron information.