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OC Libraries' Policies

Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom at OC

At Olympic College Libraries-

we use the word privacy to refer to our patrons' right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized.

We use the word confidentiality to refer to the protection of our patrons' personal information that has been entrusted to the library, including contact information and the record of what library materials have been used.

We use the term intellectual freedom to refer to our patrons' constitutionally protected right to hold, receive, and disseminate ideas. 

The American Library Association Code of Ethics serves as our guide in matters related to patron privacy, confidentiality and intellectual freedom. 

"We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted."

Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. Lack of privacy and confidentiality chills people’s choices, thereby suppressing access to ideas. The possibility of surveillance, whether direct or through access to records of speech, research and exploration, undermines a democratic society.  In libraries, the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. American Library Association, Library Core Values, Privacy and Confidentiality

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom and Censorship


Our policy to protect our patrons' privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual freedom is based on ALA's Code of Ethics which is rooted in rights protected by the US Constitution and also affirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."