RAILS Vendor Privacy Policies Project

Protecting user privacy and confidentiality has long been an integral part of the intellectual freedom mission of libraries. Libraries enter into licenses or agreements with third-party vendors to provide library service to users and to meet library operational needs. Third-party vendors provide digital content, including e-books, digital audiobooks, movies, music, online resources, and more.

In the course of providing these services, third-party vendors may collect and use library user data for a variety of reasons, including consumer analytics and segmentation, personalization, digital rights management, and digital collection development. Information may be collected when you register with the third-party vendor, provide feedback and suggestions, request information, or create shared content.

The information that could be collected by third-party vendors may include:

  • Personally identifiable information such as name, email, and social media accounts
  • Non-personally identifiable information, such as your ad views, analytics, browser information, cookie data, date/time of your request, demographic data, hardware/software type, interaction data, server domains, page views, and the web page you visited immediately prior to visiting the site
  • Internet address (IP address), search history, location-based data, and device information
  • Other data as described in the vendor's privacy policy and terms of use

Library policies, such as those covering confidentiality of circulation records or institutional data, do not apply to the third-party vendors. Users can review the privacy statements for individual third-party vendors to decide if they agree to their terms.

The Vendor Privacy Policies Project includes links to privacy policies for third-party vendors that provide digital content to participating RAILS public libraries. A library can use this resource to:

  • Easily create a customized list of vendor privacy policies for their library's digital holdings
  • Share their customized list with staff and patrons by embedding or linking it to their library website or intranet
  • View all RAILS library holdings of specific e-resources to guide selection decisions, discover new resources, and foster collaboration.

Members must be logged into the RAILS website to add/edit their library's vendor/e-resource information.

Every RAILS public library is encouraged to add their information to the Vendor Privacy Policies Project to make this tool as comprehensive and useful as possible. Based on feedback, the project may expand to include academic, school, and special libraries.