Mission & Policies
Confidentiality of Library Use
All citizens have a right to privacy in their use of the
public library. The State of Illinois recognizes this in
The Library Records Confidentiality Act (Section 70, Illinois
Compiled Statutes). Library registration and circulation
records are confidential. No library registration, borrowing
records, reference questions, or any other record of an
individual's use of the library will be provided
to anyone, except pursuant to a court order.
Is Your Use of the Library Private?
It is the policy of the Downers Grove Public Library,
as well as State law under the Illinois Library Records
Confidentiality Act, that all records of an individual's
use of the library are confidential. Records that are considered
confidential include borrowing records, records of reference
questions asked, and records of the use of library's computers
for Internet access.
However, library patrons should be aware that Section
215 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act gives Federal agents the
ability to seek a secret search warrant to obtain access
to library records. Under the Patriot Act an agent does
not have to demonstrate "probable cause," the
existence of specific facts to support the belief that
a crime has been committed or that the items sought are
evidence of a crime. Instead, the agent only needs to claim
that he or she believes that the records sought may be
related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorism
or intelligence activities. The Federal Act overrides state
The Patriot Act also prohibits libraries or librarians
served with a search warrant issued under FISA (Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act) rules from disclosing the
existence of the warrant or the fact that records were
produced as a result of the warrant, under penalty of law.
Patrons cannot be informed that their records were given
to the FBI or that they are the subject of an FBI investigation.
The Downers Grove Public Library works hard to protect
the privacy of our patrons. We have reviewed all of the
records of an individual's use of library materials and
resources that we create. We want to assure library patrons
that we only retain records that are essential to conducting
the library's business, and that those records are retained
only as long as necessary to complete our business. For
example, the record of materials that a patron borrows
is removed from the computer system when the material is
returned and any fines accrued on a particular item are
paid. We do not maintain a history of materials that a
patron has checked out in the past. Records of computer
use are only retained long enough to tabulate usage statistics.