Privacy

Your Data

The Library is dedicated to principles of intellectual freedom and privacy.

Key Privacy Policies

Confidentiality of Library Patron Records Policy
We collect and share the minimal personal data required to facilitate transactions between library account systems and online resource providers.

City of Palo Alto Information Technology Department
All Library systems are reviewed by the City's Chief Information Security Officer and must complete a Vendor Information Security Assessment.

Personal Information that is Shared

The library provides access to many online resources. We must pass certain account information to third-party content providers in order to facilitate access.

The grid below describes the data shared with our core software vendors.

Software Vendor Library Barcode Birth Year/Month Patron Name Telephone Email
Sierra Integrated Library System (ILS) X X X X X
BiblioCommons (Catalog) X X X X X

Usage Data

The library collects usage data on how our collections and services are used by our customers. This data is shared with a third party analytics firm to identify trends in what collections our customers use, which informs decisions on collection development and outreach efforts.

Maximizing Privacy

The library's catalog (BiblioCommons) has a well-earned reputation for patron privacy and was vetted thoroughly by the City's Chief Information Security Officer. However, it provides social features that some users may wish to disable.

See our recommendations on how to ensure your privacy while using BiblioCommons.

The Library also offers a Classic Catalog which is provided by our Integrated Library System vendor, Innovative Interfaces. While the Classic Catalog has limited functionality, some users may prefer it to limit the number of third-parties involved in their library activities.

Library Apps

The Library provides digital collections through a number of apps. Each service provider details the data they collect from you on their Terms of Service.

In general, the Library considers the data collection as necessary for the apps to operate smoothly.

The following grid provides a quick reference for our patrons on how certain library apps collect your data. However, service agreements constantly change, so users should still scan the agreements they consent to for each app as a best practice.

Updated June 13, 2018.

App Overdrive Libby
Axis360 TotalBoox Hoopla
Access Contacts   X X  
Access Photos   X X X
Read Contents of Storage   X   X
Telephone Permission     X X
Microphone Permission       X
Location X     X
IP Address X X   X
Device Type X X X X
Device ID X X X X
OS X X   X
Library Card Number X X X X
Digital Content Selections (e.g. borrowing history) X X X X
Online Activity X X X X
Shared with 3rd Parties       X
Full Name        
Address        
Phone Number        
Login Details/Login History       X
Privacy Policy URL Policy Policy Policy Policy
App Beanstack
Enki Flipster Freegal Kanopy
Access Contacts          
Access Photos       X  
Read Contents of Storage       X  
Telephone Permission          
Microphone Permission          
Location   X X X X
IP Address X X X X X
Device Type X   X X X
Device ID X   X X X
OS X   X X X
Library Card Number X X X X X
Digital Content Selections (e.g. borrowing history) X X X X X
Online Activity     X   X
Shared with 3rd Parties     X   X
Full Name X X X   X
Address X   X   X
Phone Number X   X   X
Login Details/Login History         X
Privacy Policy URL Policy Policy Policy Policy Policy
App Kono
Mango PressReader RB Digital
Access Contacts     X  
Access Photos X   X X
Read Contents of Storage X   X X
Telephone Permission X   X X
Microphone Permission X X   X
Location X   X  
IP Address X X X X
Device Type   X    
Device ID X   X X
OS   X    
Library Card Number X   X X
Digital Content Selections (e.g. borrowing history) X X X X
Online Activity X X   X
Shared with 3rd Parties   X X  
Full Name        
Address        
Phone Number        
Login Details/Login History X X   X
Privacy Policy URL Policy Policy Policy Policy

Library Computers

The City of Palo Alto IT Department oversees the security and maintenance of library computers.

Security Measures

The following measures are taken to maximize the security of library computers:

  • Computers are installed with anti-virus software
  • Data is cleared from each computer at the end of each user session
  • Software installation is reserved by City IT only. All software is reviewed by City IT before deployment on library machines.

Data Collected

The Library collects the following data on computer usage:

  • library barcode associated with checkout of a computer
  • length of session
  • total number of sessions by computer

The city does not collect data on how library computers are used, such as browser history or applications used. Logs, cookies, temporary files and other data collected during a user session are wiped at the end of each session.

Wireless

The Library's Wireless Network is managed by City IT. The Library Wireless Network is unsecured and patrons are recommended to take steps to ensure the security of their data when using the Library wi-fi, such as using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

See the Library's Internet Use Policy for more information.

Copiers and Scanners

Files transmitted to our copiers and scanners are retained temporarily to facilitate the copy/scan service. We also collect aggregate usage data for this service.

Safe Computing Practices

Consider the following when using computers in the Library to maximize your privacy and security.

  1. Use your own USB Flash Drive for saving files such as documents and email attachments. Be sure to check that you take it with you before leaving any public computer.
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using your own laptop or device on the Library's wi-fi to ensure your Internet activity and data cannot be intercepted by others.
  3. Use security plugins to block pop-ups, stop web trackers and block ads. Doing so will help protect your privacy as you navigate the Internet.
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