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KU Libraries: Privacy and Confidentiality


To document the KU Libraries' commitment to maintaining the privacy of each person's intellectual investigations and the confidentiality of their interactions with the Libraries.

Applies to: 

Users of the University of Kansas Libraries facilities, services, collections, and/or equipment on the Lawrence Campus including: KU Students, Faculty, Staff, and Affiliates (including Emeritus and Retirees); KU Med Students, Faculty, and Staff; Resident and Reciprocal library users; Visiting Scholars; and all other visitors. This policy applies to the following locations of the University of Kansas Libraries: Anschutz Library, Gorton Music & Dance Library, Library Annex, Murphy Art & Architecture Library, Spahr Engineering Library, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, and Watson Library.

Policy Statement: 

It is the University of Kansas Libraries' intent to protect the privacy of each individual's intellectual investigations. Confidentiality of users' interactions with the Libraries - information concerning use of the Libraries' services and resources - will not be released except upon receipt of a lawfully issued subpoena, search warrant, or other judicial order.

The University of Kansas Libraries follow the guidelines for the protection of patron privacy as outlined in the:

  1. Information Access & Technology Policies section of the KU Policy Library,
  2. Privacy Policy, General from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor,
  3. Privacy and Confidentiality principles and guidelines set forth by the American Library Association,
  4. Society of American Archivists Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics, and the
  5. ACRL Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians.
Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

This policy does not apply to the Wheat Law Library on the Lawrence campus or to the KU Medical Center libraries (Clendening, Dykes, and Farha).

Approved by: 
Assistant Dean of Libraries for Content and Access Services
Approved on: 
Sunday, August 1, 1999
Effective on: 
Sunday, August 1, 1999
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

Previously reported with KU Libraries' website content.


"The right to privacy in a library is the right to engage in open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others." (Intellectual Freedom Manual. 9th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2015)

"Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about library users and keeps that information private on their behalf." (Intellectual Freedom Manual. 9th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2015)

values, ethics, access
Change History: 

11/03/2017: Policy updates reviewed and approved by Assistant Dean of Libraries for Content and Access Services.  Updated and added links to KU Policy Library documents and to library website content.  Updated source citations in Definitions section.

01/07/2015: Added original policy approval and effective dates to the Contacts and Dates section.

11/26/2014: Published in the Policy Library.

11/12/2014: Reviewed and approved for inclusion in KU Policy Library.

11/12/2014: Revised.

08/01/1999: Policy effective.

Information Access & Technology Categories: 
Privacy & Security
Libraries Categories: 
Access, Circulation, and Request Services
Code of Conduct
Fines, Fees, Lost Library Material Replacement, and Damage Charges
Library Borrowing
Library User Responsibilities
Other (Non-KU) Library Users
Privacy and Confidentiality

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