Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Note on Library Patron and Student Privacy

With the excitement around the launch of Kindle compatibility, we have received numerous questions about patron privacy.  Following is a brief statement that we’d like to share reaffirming our commitment to privacy.
OverDrive respects the privacy of all patrons, users and students (“visitors”) who visit and/or interact with the hosted websites of our library and school partners.
When a visitor borrows an eBook or other digital item from a library or school catalog, OverDrive does not collect or maintain any personal information.  In order to check out or place a hold on a title in the library’s or school’s digital catalog, we validate the status of a visitor’s library card (active or inactive), but do not obtain any information regarding their identity from this process.   Library and school website visitors have an option to supply an email address to notify them if a title on hold becomes available.  This email address is not shared, is protected from unauthorized disclosure and is used only to notify the patron about the title availability.
OverDrive works to enable the compatibility of our library and school partners’ catalogs with a variety of reading devices, platforms and apps, including third-party software applications (e.g., Adobe) and fulfillment services (e.g., Amazon).  For visitors who wish to use these applications or services, these third-parties may require visitors to register using an email address to access their software or services.  The visitor’s name, address and other identifying information are not required, only a valid email address. Registration can be accomplished anonymously (e.g. using a valid email address that does not require other identifiable information). Patrons who wish to read on Kindle, for example, may find it convenient to use their existing Amazon account information, but it is not required.
OverDrive has always respected visitors’ online privacy and will continue to update you with additional information as appropriate.  We are always interested in your feedback.  If you have any comments or questions about our policies, please contact support@overdrive.com.
Lindsey Levinsohn is lead library advocate for OverDrive.

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