Privacy Policy

The MBLC Website (or mblc.state.ma.us) is the official website created by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (“MBLC”), an independent state agency within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. The establishment of the MBLC Website under the Massachusetts Library and Information Network (“MLIN”) was authorized by Chapter 85 of the Acts of 1994.

The following policy applies only to the use of the MBLC Website. In particular, please note that although some of the social media pages used by the MBLC might appear to be part of this website or at a webpage under the MBLC’s control, some of these sites are actually hosted by a third party provider. Thus when visiting these third party social media sites, you are subject to different privacy policies and terms of service. Please review the MBLC’s Social Media Policy to review more detailed information on our use for specific social media sites and for links to the relevant terms of service and privacy policies for those sites.

Your privacy with respect to the MBLC Website results from a partnership between the MBLC and you, the user. The Board of Library Commissioners endeavors to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible. As a state agency, some information collected by the Board of Library Commissioners may be subject to disclosure to members of the general public under the M.G.L. c. 66 § 10, (the Public Records Law). Therefore we cannot assure absolute privacy. This policy informs you of the information that we collect from you at this site, and what we do with it, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. Based on this information, you can make an informed choice about the use of this site. You can maximize the benefits of your privacy partnership with the MBLC by making informed choices about whether to share personally identifiable information with us through this site.

Personally Identifiable Information. We use the term "personally identifiable information" to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, e-mail address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.

Your use of library resources on this web site, including library reference requests, or requests for subject information sent to the Board of Library Commissioners, will be treated with the same confidentiality as if the request had come to a public library. Thus, although it is important to note that the MBLC is subject to the Public Records Law, information that reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using a library is exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Law. M.G.L. c. 78 § 7 provides in relevant part:

That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record as defined by clause Twenty-sixth of section seven of chapter four.

The MBLC also complies with the Fair Information Practices Act, M.G.L. c. 66A (“FIPA”) and with Executive Order 504, which are both discussed below, with respect to all personally identifiable information collected through Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Information Voluntarily Provided by You

This MBLC Website collects voluntary information from you through the emails that you send through this site and any comments posted on social media pages hosted by this MBLC Website (such as blogs or wikis hosted on MBLC Website). All such comments and emails sent by you to this MBLC Website will contain personally identifiable information.

The Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Website That MBLC Gathers & How it is Used

This MBLC Website employs the use of "Persistent Cookies." The purpose of these Persistent Cookies is to collect and aggregate data regarding the site’s visitor activity for MBLC to continuously evaluate and update its MBLC Website services. You may elect to disable the Persistent Cookies. Please be advised that disabling the Persistent Cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with this MBLC Website. The site also uses temporary "session cookies" to allow visitors to interact with Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and to use online applications. "Session cookies" do not allow us to personally identify a visitor. These cookies are stored only in memory and are deleted when the user's browser is shut down.

This site does collect and store indefinitely your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, (which does not identify you as an individual), as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file you have requested exists, and how many "bytes" of information were transmitted to you over the Web from this site. We use your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to this site and the popularity of its various pages and functions. We will not attempt to match any personally identifiable information that you provide to us your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation.

Google Analytics

In addition, we use a tool called “Google Analytics” to collect information about use of this site. Google Analytics collects information such as how often users visit this site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this site. We use the information we get from Google Analytics only to improve this site. Google Analytics collects only the IP address assigned to you on the date you visit this site, rather than your name or other identifying information. We do not combine the information collected through the use of Google Analytics with personally identifiable information. Although Google Analytics plants a permanent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but Google. Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Use and the Google Privacy Policy. The Google Analytics Terms of Use are available online at http://www.google.com/analytics/tos.html. The Google Privacy Policy is available online at http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser.

MBLC Website Directory Services

The MBLC Website hosts directory information that may contain personally identifiable information, such as name, email, and phone number. These voluntarily provided data are given as public contact information so that further services may be delivered.

Statewide Library Directory

The MBLC Website hosts a directory of information of over 1,700 libraries in Massachusetts. The directory makes publicly available the names of selected library staff, and in some cases, their email addresses and work phone numbers. The display of email of email and phone numbers is an opt-in choice. Public library trustee names are also provided; however, no phone or email contact information is made available.

Special Collections Directory

The MBLC Website hosts a directory of Manuscript and Archives, or Special Collections. This directory contains the names and contact email or phone for librarians and archivists in charge of special collections.

Performers Directory

The MBLC Website hosts a directory of Performers containing publicly available names, phone numbers, and email addresses for individuals and companies that offer programs and performances in libraries, schools and similar venues.

MBLC Mailing List Services

The MBLC Website hosts mail distribution lists to facilitate communications among the various library communities in Massachusetts. Some of these lists are open to all users; others are restricted so that only administrators or members of the list can post messages. If you send a message to one of these mailing lists, a copy of that message will be retained in the MBLC server indefinitely. In addition, the text of these messages can be publicly viewed at http://mblc.state.ma.us/lists.

Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information

We do not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this MBLC Website. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us its dissemination is governed by Public Records Law, the Fair Information Practices Act (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A), Executive Order 504, M.G.L. c. 78 § 7 and other applicable laws and regulations. Furthermore, the Records Retention Law requires the MBLC to preserve records created or received by a state employee. Pursuant to this retention requirement, emails or messages sent to a state email account and information submitted via Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and comments posted or messages received via an official state agency page on a third-party web-site (such as an official agency profile on a social network) could be treated as state governmental records and may be permanently archived. Information that you submit voluntarily through third party social media sites where such sites are associated with the MBLC and when such information is publicly available, including your name, city or town, and the substance of anything that you post may be disseminated further by being posted online at this MBLC Website or be publicly discussed by a member of the administration. In addition to social media postings, depending on the nature of the information, part or all of the information you may send us may be subject to disclosure to a member of the public in response to a public records request.

The information that you voluntarily submit through emails will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials with a “need to know” for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. They will only use information to answer your questions, respond to any requests for assistance, and fulfill any legal obligations. Where appropriate, we may provide the information submitted by you via social media sites or email to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters in your communication.

Your Access and Opportunity to Correct

The Public Records Law and FIPA provide you certain rights to get information about you that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you can get and correct this information, please click on the above references to these laws.

Security

Because this MBLC Website does not encrypt incoming information, you should not send information that you consider highly sensitive through this MBLC Website. We use standard security measures to ensure that personally identifiable information sent via the social media pages or email is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. We also use software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, the MBLC makes no attempts to identify individual users of Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners email submission features or MBLC social media pages or their usage habits.

Protection of Personally Identifiable Information within Commonwealth Offices

In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order 504, which enhanced the privacy protection given to any information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Department of state government. Executive Order 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Department and requires Executive Department agencies to greatly enhance the security and integrity of such data. This MBLC Website complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this MBLC Website is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504.

Changes

Changes to Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Privacy Policy will be approved by the Director of the Board of Library Commissioners. Notice of changes will be posted to public library directors and member of the Massachusetts Library System by email distribution list at least thirty days before the change is to take effect.

Changes in this privacy policy will only affect information that is gathered on or after the official date of the change. Privacy of older information will continue to be maintained under the guidelines in effect when the data was gathered.

Contact

If you have any questions or concerns about Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners privacy policy, please contact:

Paul Kissman, Library Information Systems Specialist
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
98 North Washington St., Suite 401
Boston, MA 02114
paul.kissman@state.ma.us

Toll-Free (in-state): 800-952-7403
Phone: 617-725-1860 x238
Fax: 617-725-0140

DEFINITIONS:

"Cookies" are files that a website can place on your computer. A cookie file contains unique information that a website can use to track such things as your password, lists of Web pages you have visited, and the date when you last looked at a specific Web page, or to identify your session at a particular website. A file allows the website to recognize you as you click through pages on the site and when you later revisit the site. A website can use cookies to "remember" your preferences, and to record your browsing behavior on the Web. Although you can prevent websites from placing cookies on your computer by using your browser's preference menu, disabling cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some websites.

An "Internet Protocol Address" or "IP Address" is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information.

"Social Media". A social media website is a website on a social media application that is usually maintained by an individual and has regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. A social media identity is a specific user identity that has been registered on a third party social media site and is associated with the Agency. Government social media sites or identities typically provide forums for commentary or news on topics related to the government agency that hosts the social media site or has secured the social media identity. A typical social media site (whether hosted by the Agency or a third party) combines text, images, and links to other websites including blogs, wikis, and other media related to the topic and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.

"Weblog" or "Blog". A weblog or blog is a website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Government blogs typically provide commentary and news on topics related to the government agency hosting the blog. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.

"Wiki". A wiki is a website that uses collaboration software to enable the creation of a number of interlinked web pages. Many authors can contribute to the website and upload content to the site. Government wikis typically provide a venue for commentary and discussion regarding topics related to the government agency hosting the wiki. A typical wiki combines text, images, and links to other web pages outside the wiki also related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.

This Web site, and other programs of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, is funded in part with funds from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning.
Page last updated on 04/30/2013