Northville District Library

Monday - Thursday: 10am - 9pm
Friday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 1pm - 5pm


Phone: 248-349-3020

Policy on Requests for Library Records by Law Enforcement Officers

Policy on Requests for Library Records by Law Enforcement Officers

The Northville District Library will cooperate with law enforcement within the guidelines set forth by the Michigan Library Privacy Act, MCL 397.602(2)(i).

The Library also endorses the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association that states, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted”.

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, commonly known as the USA Patriot Act, 115 Stat. 272 (2001), however, gives the government expanded access to records from libraries and supersedes the Michigan Library Privacy Act. Under the USA Patriot Act, such access may be granted without the patron’s permission or knowledge.

Library records are retained for only as long as there is legitimate library need for the record. Access to Library user records may include but not be limited to:

  • Database Search Records: Once a search is conducted, the Library does not retain a copy of the search.
  • Circulation Records: These are maintained while materials are checked out. They are no longer available when items are returned and all fines are paid.
  • Patron Records: These are retained while the patron’s account is in active status.
  • Internet Use Records: These are not retained beyond the work day in which the activity takes place.
  • Firewall Records: These are retained for approximately 2 weeks. The logs contain no personally identifiable information but information may be obtained if the logs are combined with the Internet Use Record as listed above.
  • Reference Interview Records: No paper record is kept during an in-person reference interview. If a Library user contacts the reference staff by phone or email, there may be a paper record, which is retained no more than one week. Virtual Reference requests are retained for a 72 hour period.

Staff will comply with law enforcement when supplied with legal subpoena or warrant by following the procedures that support this policy. Only the Director or her Designee is authorized to release library patron records.

Approved by the Board of Trustees July 24, 2003
Revised by the Board of Trustees August 25, 2011


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