Site Privacy

The Free Library of Philadelphia (together with the City of Philadelphia, of which it is a branch, the "Library") respects your privacy. Our goal is to be your trusted, objective source for various online research needs. We want you to make the most of our services and feel confident while doing so online. We have a clear privacy policy: we collect no private, personal information unless you voluntarily supply it. This Privacy Statement explains under what circumstances we gather your individually identifiable information, how we use it, and who may access that information. It also provides you the means to "opt-out" of providing personal information that you do not wish to provide and to access, change, or remove any identifying information already collected.

We believe that your privacy is of the utmost importance, which is why this statement regarding privacy of personally identifiable information provided online conforms to the Federal Trade Commission's fair information practices of notice, choice, access, and security. We hope that you will provide comments on how we can improve our online privacy policy for our website so that we may better accommodate your needs.

Please read this policy in its entirety. You may contact us with any questions or comments by using the contact information listed at the end of this Privacy Statement.

Please note that this privacy policy applies only to the Library website, and specifically does not apply to other companies' or organizations' websites to which we link.

Personal Information We Collect Online

When you visit the Library website, we do not collect any personally identifiable information without your consent. If you are simply perusing our site, we collect no personally identifiable information from you. In order to receive certain benefits of the Library website, however, we require that you provide us with your contact information. For example, if you are 18 years of age or older and you wish to register online for a Library card, we require that you provide us with your first and last name, street address, city, state, postal code, and date of birth.

When registering online for a Library card, you are also invited, but not required, to provide us with certain additional contact and demographic information. Although the choice is up to you, we encourage you to volunteer such optional information so we understand better who uses our services so that we can be sure to tailor our services to you.

On other pages within the Library website, we provide information about available positions of employment with the Library, and you are invited to send us via email your resume and any other personal indication of your interest in such employment.

If you prefer not to provide your personally identifiable information online or via email, we remain happy to accept such information in person at any of our 55 neighborhood branch locations (for card registrations) or by post (for resumes and other interest in employment). Feel free to address any inquiries by way of the contact methods listed at the end of this privacy statement.

Finally, at times we may offer you the opportunity to contribute to the content of our website. Submission of any such content for publication on our website would be entirely voluntary on your part. Please note, however, that, unless you specifically request we withhold your personally identifiable information from such publication, any information you submit, and which we publish will not be subject to the protections of this privacy policy.

Surveys and Contests

From time to time our site may request information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and you therefore have a choice whether or not to disclose this information. Information requested may include contact and demographic information. Contact information will be used to notify contest winners and award prizes.

How We Protect Your Information

From time to time our site may request information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and you therefore have a choice whether or not to disclose this information. Information requested may include contact and demographic information. Contact information will be used to notify contest winners and award prizes.

Do We Employ "Cookies?"

"Cookies" are small data files stored on your own computer's hard drive. They are generated by websites to provide users with a personalized and often simplified online experience. The Library website employs cookies to allow you remote access to our subscription databases and to use our interactive pages. Certain third party database services within our site, such as Infotrac will also generate and store cookies on you computer's hard drive if you engage in such services. By assigning and storing a random user name cookie on your hard drive, these services are able to save you the trouble of re-entering your personal contact information each time you use the service. If you choose not to accept the cookies generated by the Library website and such third party database applications, you will not be able to use some of those services online and some of our interactive pages; your use of the remainder of the Library website will not be affected, however.

Be assured that cookies, by themselves, cannot be used to reveal or discover the identity of the individual user nor are they collected or stored on any Free Library server. Your acceptance of any third party database cookie on this site will not compromise your anonymity while using our website.

Our Use of Your Personal Information

The Library does not rent or sell your personally identifiable information to any third party. Our primary use of the personal information you volunteer is to contact you regarding service issues, or if you opt for it, news information about Library services and partnerships. The Library also may store and use your personal information for our own internal purposes including list management and demographic matching with other internal database information. In the event you, as a patron of the Library, have failed to return materials you have borrowed from the Library in a timely fashion and as requested by the Library, we reserve the right to transmit your personal contact information to a materials recovery agency employed for the purpose of recovering the borrowed materials. Additionally, such materials recovery agencies may transmit your personal contact information to national credit reporting agencies in the event you continue in your failure to return the borrowed materials.

Composite tracking information generated by website logging for traffic accounting and content analysis may be shared with third parties for the purpose of documenting site activity and other trends. We emphasize that the foregoing statistical information is not linked to any personal information and cannot identify any individual user of our website.

Our Retention of Your Personally Identifiable Data

Once you have provided personally identifiable information to the Library, we will store and maintain the information you have volunteered for three (3) years following your last activity with the Library's circulation department (and so long as you have not directed us otherwise), or for so long as we are required by law. Our retention of your data allows us to continue providing you with personalized services and appropriate products without interruption.

In the event you remain delinquent in returning borrowed materials to the Library, we reserve the right to retain your personally identifiable information for longer periods for the purpose of materials recovery.


The Library believes that choice is one of the most important privacy principles. You have the choice not to submit any personally identifiable information to us (although under such circumstances you would be unable to register for or renew a Library card online). You also may choose to submit only those mandatory fields of data absolutely required for registration on our website. Finally, you may choose to limit the use of or access to your personally identifiable information by requesting or not requesting that we communicate the Library news and service information to you. You may "opt out" of any such communications lists at any time. Each email message we send you will clearly state how you may remove your name from the email list.

Please note that you will not be able to opt out with regard to the collection and disclosure of aggregate information. Such information does not include anything personally identifiable, however, and simply reflects statistical analysis of various aspects of site usage.

Access and Accuracy

The Library aims to keep your personally identifiable information as accurate as possible. By contacting us at at the postal address at the end of this privacy policy, you may add to, delete, or change any individual information you have provided to us. After receipt of such a written request, we will add, delete, or change your personal information from our records as soon as commercially reasonable.

Links; Online Discussions

This website contains links to other sites. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every website that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by the Library on this website, and the Library does not bear any responsibility for any actions or policies of such third party websites. Moreover, the Library disclaims all responsibility for the subsequent use of an email address or any other personally identifiable information posted by the user in bulletin board or chat room discussions, emails, or instant messaging on the Library website.

Your Consent

By using our website, you consent to the collection and use of information as set forth in this privacy policy. You also acknowledge our right to change this policy, without prior notification, and our commitment to post any such changes on this page so that you are fully informed of the types of information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, it is disclosed.

SMS Correspondence

You may opt-out of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation's SMS correspondence or Premium SMS Services by texting "STOP" to the short code 20222. Text "HELP" to 20222 for help or visit Message and data rates may apply.

Give Us Your Feedback

Our goal is to protect your privacy. To comment on or help us improve this privacy policy, please contact us.