Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees & Effective:  5-11-09 

Hannibal Free Public Library and its Board of Trustees recognize that the reading activity and interests of library users are and should be private, and that any attempt to invade such privacy, without direct and legitimate need, is the invasion of the personal right of library users and the "right to read" implicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Hannibal Free Public Library and its Board of Trustees also affirm their adherence to the The Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO}182.815 and 182.817 (2007), which read as follows:

182.815. As used in this section and section 182.817, the following terms shall mean:

(1) "Library", any library established by the state or any political subdivision of the state, or combination thereof, by any community college district, or by any college or university, and any private library open to the public;

(2) "Library material", any book, document, film, record, art work, or other library property which a patron may use, borrow or request;

(3) "Library record", any document, record, or other method of storing information retained, received or generated by a library that identifies a person or persons as having requested, used, or borrowed library material, and all other records identifying the names of library users. The term "library record" does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library material in general.

182.817. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, no library or employee or agent of a library shall be required to release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to any person or persons except:

(1) In response to a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the library; or

(2) In response to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary to protect the public safety or to prosecute a crime.

Furthermore, the information contained in library registration records is also considered confidential and will not be released without the authorization of the individual or by court order except as needed by the Library for the legitimate recovery or protection of library materials.

The Board interprets those documents to include all transactions associated with the use of library materials including interlibrary loan request forms, records of reference questions, and other documents or electronic records which would link the individual with particular materials or services.

Employees may permit an individual to view or know his or her transaction record upon presentation of the individual’s library borrower’s card or presentation of identification adequate to identify the individual.  In the case of minor child's or legally incapacitated adult’s transaction record, employees may permit only the individual or a custodial parent or legal guardian to view or know the transaction record upon presentation of the child/legally incapacitated adult’s library borrower’s card or presentation of identification adequate to identify the requestor and his or her legal relationship to the child or legally incapacitated adult.


Even when the library borrower’s card is presented, corroborating identification may be required at the discretion of the employee.  Information as to transaction activities will be given by telephone only if the caller can correctly state his or her name and library barcode number.  Corroborating answers may be sought at the discretion of the employee (address, telephone number, date of birth, etc.)

Requests for transaction information by law enforcement officials should be referred to the Library Director.  The Assistant Director may act in the absence of the Library Director. Any cost incurred by Hannibal Free Public Library in performing a court-ordered search may be billed to the agency requesting the search.

Library employees and volunteers need to be aware of the importance of this policy of not revealing patron reading or research interests in the employees' informal conversation as well as formal duties.


This policy updates and replaces previous policies concerning patron registration.  It supplements the following Policy Statements:


Public Behavior

Fees Charged by the Library & How They Are Collected

Public Use of Computers

Confidentiality of Records


The Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO}182.230 (2007) provides that


Every library and reading room established under sections 182.140 to 182.301 shall be forever free to the use of the inhabitants of the city where located, always subject to such reasonable rules and regulations as the library board may adopt in order to render the use of the library and reading room of the greatest benefit to the greatest number. The board may exclude from the use of the library and reading room any and all persons who willfully violate such rules. The board may extend the privileges and use of the library and reading room to persons residing outside of the city in this state, upon such terms and conditions as the board, from time to time, by its regulations, may prescribe.


This policy has been adopted by the Hannibal Free Public Library Board of Trustees under its statutory authority to determine and govern the use of HFPL facilities.