February 26, 1999
Ms. Ralene Adler
43 South Drive
Great Neck, NY 11021
Dear Ms. Adler:
I have received your letter of January 31, which reached this office on February 18.
You have questioned the use of records identifying users of the Great Neck Library in its
In this regard, it does not appear that the Freedom of Information Law is pertinent or
controlling. Rather, I believe that statutory direction is provided by §4509 of the Civil
Practice Law and Rules, which states that:
"Library records, which contain names or other personally
identifying details regarding the users of public, free
association, school, college and university libraries and library
systems of this state, including but not limited to records
related to the circulation of library materials, computer
database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference
queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title
reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or
records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except
that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for
the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed
upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena,
court order or where otherwise required by statute."
As I understand the foregoing, the Library is prohibited from disclosing records that contain
personally identifying details regarding its users. If its election procedures are inconsistent
with the requirements of §4509, they should, in my view, be altered to comply with law.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman