The UWM Libraries seek to minimize the collection and retention of personally identifiable information and only retain information required for the management of library operations. We have safeguards in place to protect the information we store, including limiting access to designated staff and service providers. The library does require some personally identifiable information for the purpose of performing library work. Otherwise, the library does not share your personally identifiable information with third parties unless served with a valid subpoena, national security letter, or warrant to do so.

We value the privacy of library users and adhere to the policies and recommendations from the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, particularly those outlined in Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries and Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. In addition, this policy conforms to Wisconsin State Statute 43.30 and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), which covers the privacy and confidentiality of library patron records and student education records.


  • Intellectual Freedom: the right to open inquiry without having the subject of your interests examined or scrutinized by others
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
    • Direct: identifiers, legal and preferred names, and contact information that uniquely identify individual people
    • Indirect: attributes such as user type, employment department, academic major, academic school or college, academic career level, and home campus that identify a set of individual patrons. In combination with other available information, indirect PII may identify individual people or a small set of people.
    • Behavioral: information about things individual patrons have done such as borrowing a book, entering a building, attending a library function, or consulting with a librarian
  • Confidentiality: how a library protects its users’ PII
  • Explicit Consent: when library users are given an option to agree to the collection of additional information, such as borrowing history

What information do we collect?

The Libraries collect both personally identifiable information (PII) and anonymous information to provide library services to users. We strive to collect the least amount of PII possible. We avoid creating unnecessary records.

Personally identifiable information collected by the Libraries could include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Date of birth
  • Library barcode number

Behavioral information that may be associated with PII includes:

  • Database search records
  • Signup information for library classes and events
  • Computer use records
  • Electronic reference correspondence
  • Items currently checked-out, requested, cancelled holds, and interlibrary loans
  • Overdue items (until returned)
  • Fine history

Anonymized information collected by the Libraries could include:

  • URL (uniform resource locator) of the website you visited immediately prior to the Libraries’ website
  • Domain names and/or IP addresses (numbers automatically assigned to your computer when you are connected to the internet)
  • The browser version you are using to access the website
  • Hardware and software type and language
  • Cookie data
  • Date and time of requests
  • Demographic information
  • Interaction data
  • Page views, click data, and navigation flow

Who has access to it?

Library user records are confidential. Only authorized library staff have access to PII for the purpose of performing library work. Library vendors may also have access to your information when you use their systems.

Public computers and internet access

Library computers and networks are governed by Regent Policy Document 25-3: Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.

Surveillance Cameras

Security video surveillance cameras in the library are operated by the UWM Police.

Libraries website


The Libraries’ website is encrypted with HTTPS. All communications between your browser and the Libraries’ website are private.


Some library applications use “cookies,” small files created by a website and saved on your computer. Cookies are used to remember information about preferences and customization on the pages you visit. You can refuse to accept cookies, disable cookies, and remove cookies from your hard drive by following the instructions provided by your browser. Some third-party services may not work if cookies are disabled.

Data & network security

The Libraries operate secure data networks protected by industry standard firewalls and password protection systems. Only authorized individuals have access to the information provided by our users. The Libraries monitor network activity to identify potential usage agreement violations.

Non-library websites

We may link to non-library websites that may not follow the same privacy policies. We advise visitors to such sites to check the privacy statements of such sites and to be cautious about providing PII without a clear understanding of how the information will be used.

Third-party vendors

Note: Many online services offered by the Libraries are serviced by third-party vendors. These vendors have their own privacy policies and terms of service, and they are not beholden to the Libraries’ privacy policies or terms of service.

The Libraries work with third-party vendors to provide online learning, digital collections, streaming media content, analytics, and more. These third-party vendors include providers like Ex Libris, EBSCO, Gale, and ProQuest. Your interaction with these systems is governed by their individual policies. Some of these vendors may collect and share information you provide to them or require you to create a personal account to use their services. Check the vendor’s privacy statement and terms of service to learn more about how your data is tracked, stored, and used by them.

May 5, 2024