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Confidentiality of Trial Court Law Libraries' patron records

The law libraries strive to protect your privacy

The contents of library records are protected from public disclosure by the General Laws of Massachusetts which state

"[t]hat 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."

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7

Library records are defined as records in any form that are maintained by the Trial Court Law Libraries and that contain any of the following types of information:

  • Information an individual is required to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials;
  • Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained materials on any subject; or
  • Information given by an individual to assist a staff member in answering a specific question or providing information on any subject.

Library records may not be disclosed except to:

  • Persons acting within the scope of their duties in the administration of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library system;
  • Another library's staff members within the scope of their duties if a patron requests an item via Inter-Library Loan;
  • Individuals who may be instrumental in the recovery of delinquent library materials; or
  • Representatives of any local, state, or federal government, pursuant to subpoena or search warrant authorized under the authority of federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or investigative power. Upon receipt of any such subpoena or search warrant, the Head Law Librarian will consult with the Legal Department of the Trial Court to determine if the subpoena or search warrant is in proper form and if there is a valid basis for its issuance before providing confidential information. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, access will be denied.

Information that does not identify an individual and that is retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the use of the libraries is not considered confidential and is not subject to this policy.

Revised 12/9/2004

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