Requests for Client Personal Information Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of the policy is to ensure consistency in the treatment of requests for client’s personal information held by the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA).

2. Scope

This policy applies to all clients, staff, volunteers and contractors of the SLWA. Clients includes anyone who enters the State Library building or its surrounds (captured on SLWA CCTV) or anyone who uses the SLWA collections or services online, whether a SLWA member or not.

This includes systems provided by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) where information is managed on behalf of SLWA; for example, records of websites visited via SLWA public computers.

A legal demand for a document includes:

  • Court Order;
  • WA Police order to produce a document;
  • email from WA Police specifying the document required and where / how the document is to be supplied; or
  • letter from a lawyer representing a client.

This Policy does not apply to:

  • requests for the personal information of SLWA staff, volunteers and contractors;
  • applications for access to documents (including CCTV) under the Freedom of Information Act 1992; and
  • requests for personal information of SLWA clients held by third parties that the SLWA was contracted to provide library services.

3. Context

The State Library is a public institution, and as such, the public is welcome to enter and use the Library's collections and services both in person and online.

SLWA recognises that the "relationship between the library and the user is one of confidentiality" (IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers, 2016). This public access has to be balanced with the consideration of the safety of all clients, staff and collections.

SLWA collects the personal information of clients for the purposes of providing library services to the community. This information may be collected and stored by the SLWA, the DLGSC or by third parties contracted by the SLWA to provide services on its behalf. Examples of third parties include mailing list and event booking providers and contracted providers of online resources like eBook platforms and databases.

SLWA sometimes receives requests for the personal information of clients. This can include requests from members of the public and legal requests from law enforcement agencies, courts and lawyers representing clients.

SLWA does not control the personal information collected by contracted third parties and cannot provide access to the personal information they collect. SLWA will attempt to identify any third party a client may have provided personal information to; these third parties may then be contacted for access to this information.

4. Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Library Board of Western Australia that:

  • A client's personal information will only be provided upon legal demand. 
  • Only the CEO and State Librarian, or the Director Strategic and Corporate Services can authorise the provision of a client's personal information to fulfil a legal demand.

5. Responsibilities

All staff
Any request for the personal information of a client will be dealt with following the Requests for Client Personal Information Guidelines.

CEO and State Librarian and Director Strategic and Corporate Services
The CEO and State Librarian or Director Strategic and Corporate Services will determine to what extent SLWA will provide personal information being sought by the requesting authority taking into consideration:

  • the safety of clients, staff and collections;
  • respect for the privacy and confidentially of clients;
  • relevant State or Commonwealth legislation; and
  • any other relevant factors.

6. References

7. Authorisation and Review

Approved Library Board 2 December 2021 

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