Email Notification

PRIVACY AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act establishes the rules that government follows in making public records available to citizens. It describes the procedures for mandatory disclosure of public records, and it identifies specific types of information that is exempt from this mandatory disclosure. For instance, there is an exclusion for "library records that can be used to identify both (i) any library patron who has borrowed material from the library and (ii) the material such patron borrowed." The intention is to protect the privacy of your use of information in the library.

The Act also excludes from public disclosure electronic mail addresses "furnished to a public body for the purpose of receiving electronic mail from the public body, provided that the electronic mail recipient has requested that the public body not disclose such information." The exclusion that protects the privacy of use of information is automatic; the exclusion that allows the Library to protect the privacy of your email address requires your action. And it is for this reason that we are asking you to reconfirm your email address and state clearly how you want the Library to protect the privacy of that address.

What does it mean to protect the privacy of your email address? Without your statement that you do not want your email address disclosed, your email address will be subject to disclosure under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Your decision not to disclose your address would protect you from such a request.

YOUTH, FAMILIES AND EMAIL NOTIFICATION

We believe that families are the best decision-makers about how children use the public library. We also believe that we are the most helpful to families when we offer them a range of choices about how to use library services.

Email notification about holds and overdue materials is something that each family needs to decide for itself. The Library will use whichever email address is chosen to communicate with youth in Virginia Beach. That address can be a personal one used by the child, an address held in common by several members of the family or the address of one of the parents.

We recommend that you talk about the alternatives available to you. And we suggest some guidelines to use in thinking about the approach that is best for your family:

  • The email address that is selected should be one that is regularly and frequently used. Items that are available on a hold shelf in the library will only remain there for a short period of time. The responsibility for checking email and picking up held materials on time rests with the individual.
  • The choice of email address needs to consider the privacy of the child. Some families will highly value the privacy of each family member, and those families will probably want the child to use his or her own email address. For other families, the monitoring of behavior may weigh more heavily than issues of privacy, and those families may want to use a parent's email address. One important thing to keep in mind: the Library will use email to notify customers when their materials are overdue. Parents are responsible for the materials checked out by their children. Assuring that email overdue notices are responded to promptly and responsibly is certainly one criterion in thinking about which email address to use.

SPAM BLOCKERS & EMAIL NOTIFICATION

If you use a spam blocker on your personal computer and participate in email notification, you will need to allow email messages from library@vbgov.com. All email notifications from the Virginia Beach Public Library will have a subject line of "Library Notice".

The Virginia Beach Public Library staff is honored to serve the citizens of our city. Please contact us with questions or concerns about library services or facilities.

 

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