BiblioCommons US Privacy Statement
Last updated: Aug 24, 2023
Allegheny County Libraries has entered into an agreement with BiblioCommons to provide online services that make it easier to find, discover and use collections, services and programs at the library. In addition, you may also choose to use this service to share ratings and commentary about the titles you find at Allegheny County Libraries, and to connect with other library users. When you use Allegheny County Libraries services that say "Powered by BiblioCommons" at the bottom of the page, you are using what is referred to in this document as the "BiblioCommons Service," and any information that is collected or shared here will be governed by this Privacy Statement.
Is this the only policy governing the use of my information on services offered by the library?
No. Information you provide on the BiblioCommons Service may be transmitted to your library and its designated service partners, where it will be handled according to the policies your library has implemented in those environments. Please check the library's website to view these documents, or speak to a librarian.
Allegheny County Libraries may have additional policies that govern other aspects of the services we offer. Please check the library's homepage to view these documents, or speak to a librarian.
What types of information are collected on this service?
Several types of information may be collected and stored on the BiblioCommons service:
- Personal information
- Borrowing information
- Shared content
- Feedback and Suggestions
- Non-Identifying information.
You will find a description of how this information is handled in the sections that follow.
What personal information is gathered?
BiblioCommons gathers personal information that you provide or choose to import from Allegheny County Libraries. If you register for the BiblioCommons Service, your library barcode, PIN and borrower ID, name, birth month and year, and email address are automatically loaded into your online account from your library record. If some of this information is not available in your record you may be asked to provide it.
How is my personal information used?
We use your personal information to create an online account in your name, provide the services that you have requested, monitor and improve the service, keep your library record up to date, and customize content. We may store some of this information in a secure third-party data repository. We do not share your information or activity with ad networks or other entities that are not directly involved in the services you choose to use.
If you choose to share information or opinions about books, movies, music, and other topics, participate in online conversations, or create selections using Lists or My Shelves (“Shared Content”), information such as the username or name you have chosen to display, your library affiliation(s) and age group may accompany your Shared Content and appear on a profile page that summarizes your Shared Content. If you would like to change your username or modify the information that is made publicly available in connection with these features, please visit your Settings.
Is my personal information protected?
Information in your BiblioCommons account that personally identifies you is encrypted during transmission and storage. This information will be used by BiblioCommons and Allegheny County Libraries to deliver the services you request in accordance with this Privacy Statement. BiblioCommons will not share, gift, sell, rent or trade your personal information (e.g. your email address or month and year of birth). But we may display Shared Content (defined below) in the BiblioCommons Service, or make other commercial uses of Shared Content.
Law Enforcement Requests
BiblioCommons does not share information in response to law enforcement requests unless it is presented with a warrant or other legal compulsion.
Can I change or delete my personal information?
You may alter or delete any of the personal information in your BiblioCommons account except for your name, birth information and your library card number(s); please contact your library staff to make changes to these. If your personal information is updated either through the BiblioCommons Service or directly on your Allegheny County Libraries account with the help of library staff, we will synchronize the new information in both locations.
At any time, you may request to have your BiblioCommons account deleted without impacting your account with Allegheny County Libraries. To have your BiblioCommons account deleted, please contact your library. Note that while your BiblioCommons account information will not be available after deletion, some of that information may persist on memory discs.
Do I have to provide contact information?
No, you do not need to provide contact information to use the BiblioCommons Service. However you may choose to do so in order to receive notices related to your use of the library through the BiblioCommons Service. Your contact information will not be used by BiblioCommons for any other purpose without your consent, or shared with any party other than Allegheny County Libraries without your direction to do so. We encourage you to check Allegheny County Libraries's policies to understand the other ways in which your contact information may be used by Allegheny County Libraries.
BiblioCommons may send email or display messages on the service that provide you with the choice to take advantage of new features and functionality based on your past activity and stated preferences. To change your preferences for system messaging, please go to My Settings.
What measures are in place to protect children?
Community-created content may not be appropriate for children. The BiblioCommons Service contains functionality that will enable you to collapse community-created content that has been flagged by Users who feel the content may be offensive to some users. Enabling this functionality will help decrease the likelihood of children encountering objectionable material when using the BiblioCommons Service.
Where can I learn more about internet safety for users under the age of 18?
We recommend that parents and guardians discuss internet privacy and safety with their children. When using the internet, children should be advised:
- never to give out personal information such as their real name, phone number, email address, or school without first consulting their parents or guardians, and
- never to arrange a meeting with someone they met online.
More information about children's safety online can be found on the following sites.
Safety tips for children:
Tips for parents:
How can parents and guardians oversee the personal information of their children?
Guardians of children under the age of thirteen may make a request to review and alter the personal information collected from their children on this service, or to deactivate their child's BiblioCommons account. The first step in gaining access to your child's account is to make your request in person to staff at one of the library's locations. Be prepared to show proof of your identity and of your relationship with the child. Staff will then have the information retrieved and delivered to you by mail or held for pick-up. Note that guardians cannot be given access to a child's borrowing record.
Note that the BiblioCommons Service does not require children under the age of 13, as a condition of participation, to provide more information than is reasonably required.
Is my borrowing record tracked?
No. Lists of your current loans, due dates, outstanding fees, etc. may be loaded from your library record during your sessions online, but this information is not stored on your BiblioCommons account, and it is never shared with other users. You may choose to create a record of your recently-borrowed titles if this service is supported by your library; information about recently borrowed items is never made available to the public unless you choose to enter specific titles on your shelves or in other Shared Content. If you do not choose to enable the recently-borrowed feature, no automatic record of your borrowing will be created.
What is Shared Content?
You may use the BiblioCommons Service to record information or opinions about books, movies, music, and other topics, participate in online conversations, or create selections using Lists or My Shelves; all of this content is called “Shared Content”. Shared Content may be useful for your own reference and can help other users find resources and information.
When you contribute content to an individual title, that title is automatically added to My Shelves, a collection that gathers all of the titles to which you have contributed content or chosen to add to your shelves. You may also create Shared Content by interacting with others through messaging, forums, or collaborative guides.
Can Shared Content be viewed by the public?
Shared Content has been designed for sharing, and is usually public. However you may make portions of your Shared Content private by using your Privacy Settings. In addition, messages sent directly to other users through the service are not publicly viewable.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of sharing content with others, you may decide not to use My Shelves or contribute ratings, comments, guides, or other types of Shared Content. You do not need to create Shared Content in order to use the BiblioCommons Service.
Will my name be visible with my Shared Content?
Content and messages that you leave in public view or send to other users will be accompanied by the username that you create, or by whatever display name that you choose at a later date in your account settings. This display name is also linked to your profile page, which includes links to your Shelves, your shared Lists, and any other profile information you choose to display.
Can I change my Shared Content?
Shared Content that is not interactive may be edited or deleted on this service at any time. Deleted content is removed from our databases and inaccessible to other users, but may remain in our data back-up system and in third-party search indexes like Google. Shared Content that is not deleted may remain available on the BiblioCommons Service indefinitely, even if you have closed your library account.
Interactive Shared Content that other users may respond or contribute to, such as discussions, may be visible to others indefinitely in association with your display name, and may persist after your BiblioCommons account is terminated.
Feedback and Suggestions
When you submit feedback or suggestions they will not be considered confidential and may be stored with your name and email address for analysis and follow-up.
BiblioCommons also records anonymous information and activity in order to improve the quality and scope of the features and content you access through the BiblioCommons Service. For example:
- Information such as your browser type or anonymized IP address may be used to help us understand how visitors use the service over time and how it might be improved.
- Data from your account may also be aggregated in an anonymous way.
- Anonymous search logs are analyzed to improve the search algorithms.
Cookies are small files used to enhance the functionality of websites.
BiblioCommons may set and access temporary session cookies on your computer in order to make our system easier for you to use. In addition, a more persistent cookie is used to store your user preferences. These files do not contain or transfer any personally-identifiable information.
You may also choose on the log-in page to save your username in a cookie by checking “remember me.”
If you wish to be notified when you receive a cookie, you may set your browser to do so.
The Internet is a big place: take care to guard your personally identifying information. This website may link to other websites that collect personal information. We recommend that you review the privacy policies of these sites before providing them with any personal data.
Changes to this Privacy Statement
This privacy statement may change from time to time in response to new laws, or to an evolution in BiblioCommons policies or practices. We encourage you to check this privacy statement from time to time for changes. Your continued use of BiblioCommons after a change will signify your acceptance of the new terms.
Change of Service
In the event that Allegheny County Libraries discontinues its participation in the BiblioCommons Service, the Allegheny County Libraries may transfer your information to a new service of a similar nature. In addition, Allegheny County Libraries may agree to have your information transferred to a successor entity of BiblioCommons or to any entity which purchases substantially all of the assets related to BiblioCommons or a division of BiblioCommons.
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