January 28, 2022

Changes Coming this Fall to Maine’s Library and Patron Confidentiality Law

From the Maine State Library:

State law protects the privacy of patron records maintained by Maine public libraries, the Maine State Library, the Law and Legislative Reference Library as well as the libraries of the University of Maine System, Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy.

In early 2015, Maine lawmakers amended the Maine Library and Patron Confidentiality Law to enhance and clarify patron privacy protections. Those changes are reflected in Public Law 2015, Chapter 81 and will become effective this fall – 90 days following the adjournment of the First Regular Session 127th Maine Legislature.

Summary of 2015 Changes in Maine Library and Patron Confidentiality Law

The amended language in Public Law 2015, Chapter 81 does the following:

  • Specifies that personally identifying information about the library patron is confidential
  • Clarifies that confidential patron information may be released to library officers, employees, volunteers and agents of the library for administrative purposes.
  • Allows aggregated and statistical data about library use to be published so long as the confidentiality of a library patron’s personally identifying information is not jeopardized.

The Maine State Library provides additional information in this FAQ.

Maine 127 – SP 127 Item 3

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.