In 1989 the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 903 entitled, “An Act to provide that library records containing names or other personally identifying details regarding the patrons of the library shall be confidential; and for other purposes.” This act guarantees that no one outside of the card owner will know what materials have been checked out on that card from the Saline County Library unless he has given informed, written consent or a search warrant is presented. This is why library cards are numbered and why patrons no longer sign a book card. It also makes it illegal for a librarian to tell a patron what another member of a household has checked out without his/her written permission. The following is the Act as codified:
Confidentiality of Patrons’ Records
As used in this subchapter:
(a)“Confidential library records” mean documents or information in any format retained in a library that identify a patron as having requested, used, or obtained specific materials, including, but not limited to, circulation of library books, materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, patent searches, requests for photocopies of library materials, films, or records; and
(b)“Patron” means any individual who requests, uses, or receives services, books, or other materials from a library.
(a)Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or thirty (30) days in jail, or both, or a sentence of appropriate public service or education, or both.
(b) No liability shall result from any lawful disclosure permitted by this subchapter. (c) No action may be brought under this subchapter unless the
action is begun within two (2) years from the date of the act complained of or the date of discovery.
13-2-703. Disclosure prohibited.
(a)Library records which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the patrons fo public, school, academic, and special libraries and library systems supported in whole or in part by public funds shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as permitted by subchapter.
(b)Public libraries shall use an automated or Gaylord-type circulation system that does not identify a patron with circulated materials after materials are returned.
13-2-704. Disclosure permitted.
A library may disclose personally identifiable information concerning any patron to: (1) The patron; (2) Any person with the informed, written consent of the patron; (3) A law enforcement agency or civil court, under a search warrant; or (4) Any person, including, without limitation, the patron, who has received an automated telephone notification or other electronic communication for overdue materials or reserve materials if the person making the request can verify the telephone number or e-mail address to which the notice was sent.
13-2-705. Construction- Statistics.
(a) No provision of this subchapter shall be construed to prohibit any library or any business operating jointly with a library from disclosing information for the purpose of: (1) Collecting overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library; (2) Collecting fines on overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials; and (3) Contacting its patrons by telephone, mail service, or other medium for the purpose of notifying, informing, and educating patrons or otherwise promoting the legitimate programs, policies, and other interests of the library.
(b) Aggregate statistics shown from registration and circulation records with all personal identification removed may be released or used by a library or library system for research or planning purposes.
13-2-705. Use of information in evidence.
Personally identifiable information obtained in any manner other than as provided in this subchapter shall not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, arbitration, or other proceeding before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the state or political subdivision of the state. Source: Arkansas Public Library Laws Annotated 2006-2006. Charlottesville, VA: LexisNexis, 2005.
Acts 1989, No. 903,