SWAN Patron Privacy Policy


SWAN is devoted to the ongoing protection of patron privacy and confidential patron information.  We observe strict standards with regard to how data is stored, accessed, and retrieved, so that all interactions with our database, whether from within the library or a vendor partner, are performed in a secure manner over VPN connections, encrypted services, or reserved communication ports. SWAN also limits the collection of sensitive data and employs processes to prevent the retention of certain kinds of personally identifiable information. We comply with the Illinois Library Records Confidentiality Act and use Act’s requirements in our member policies. 

This policy summarizes the methods by which personally identifiable information (PII) data is collected throughout SWAN’s services, how that data is used, and under what circumstances the data would be shared with third parties.  

Membership Patron Data 

As a patron of the SWAN Library Membership, your registration and activities with the library generate patron data and PII, which may include: 

  • First and Last Name
  • Address and contact information 
  • Contact preferences 
  • Age information 
  • Parent or guardian associations 
  • Item checkout history 
  • Item holds information
  • Billing information 

Data containing this information is stored on a secured database server which employs various layers of physical and virtual security to restrict access to both library and internal membership staff. This data is accessible to trusted library staff throughout the libraries in the SWAN membership expressly for the purposes of servicing the patron relationship with the library. Each library maintains unique policies regarding the confidentiality of patron data, all of which must comply with state and local laws. These individual policies can be obtained by contacting your public library directly.  

SWAN and its associated member libraries do not share patron data with entities outside of the SWAN membership or library vendor partners unless required by law, such as in compliance with a law enforcement investigation in certain circumstances. 

SWAN does not collect or store social security numbers, driver’s license number, payment card, or bank information. Staff will not ask for this information from you. From time-to-time, staff may request your library PIN for the purposes of troubleshooting and assistance. Your sharing of this library PIN is optional and may be refused upon request.  

Third-Party Vendor Access to Patron Data 

With respect to the vendor partner agreements maintained by our member libraries, SWAN provides limited access to patron data to these vendors for the purposes of authentication, collection development, and supplemental patron services for our member libraries. A few examples of these types of vendor integrations are as follows: 

  • Authentication services for access to reference materials 
  • Authentication services for access to online digital library content 
  • Authentication services for access to library PC reservation services 
  • Authentication and checkout services at a library self-checkout machine
  • Anonymized checkout and holds statistics for collection development
  • Billing information for printed notice services

All vendors participating in this integration are required to comply with the policies set forth in the SWAN Vendor Access Policy, which seeks to ensure patron privacy and the security of patron data in observation of applicable state and local laws. 

 All vendors must also maintain agreements with their associated member libraries, and may have their access to patron data severed as a result of the termination of a library’s contract or violation of SWAN’s policies. 

Cookies & Google Analytics 

SWAN employs the use of Google Analytics to understand how patrons use the library catalog, and we use this data to improve the catalog design. Google Analytics collects this data using cookies. You can opt out of this tracking by disabling cookies in your browser settings. For more information on Google Analytics, visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/

Children Under the Age of 13 

In observation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), SWAN Library Services and its Member Libraries do not knowingly collect, maintain, or distribute the personally identifiable patron data of children under the age of 13. If you suspect your child has information registered in the SWAN database without your parental or guardian approval, please email privacy@swanlibraries.net.  


If you have questions or concerns over your privacy as a SWAN patron, please email privacy@swanlibraries.net or call your local library.