San Mateo County Library Online Privacy Policy


The San Mateo County Library (“SMCL” or the “Library”) has created and maintains and certain related websites (“SMCL Websites”) in order to make information about its programs, collections and resources available to the public via the internet. The Library values you as a customer and takes your personal privacy seriously. This Online Privacy Policy describes information we may collect and explains how we use the personal information we collect from you.

Information We May Collect

When you visit the SMCL Websites, we collect and store only information to measure the number of visitors to different areas of the site to assist us in making the site more useful to you. The information includes:

  • The address (IP) of your computer or Internet provider
  • The date and time you accessed our site
  • The Internet address of the web site that referred you to our site; and
  • The record of your agreement to our terms and conditions.

Web site data is separate from individual library account data. We cannot look up your library record to determine what web sites you have visited.

How We Use Information About You

We ask visitors to the SMCL Websites to provide their name, email address, postal address and/or telephone number, library card number or PIN (personal identification number) only if needed to access a specified service such as external databases or your library record. We also request this information to assist in answering inquiries, providing information, participating in a contest, or shipping requested materials and products. These requests can be found on our library card registration form, our email notification form, our email reference form and other forms as necessary to providing the related service.

We will not sell, lease or otherwise distribute or disclose your name, email address, postal address, telephone number, borrower records or other personal information for non-library purposes to outside parties unless required by law.

From time to time, we conduct promotional campaigns to inform the community of our services. At such times we may use selected comments from members of the community to help describe our services. If we use your comments as collected in our feedback forms, they will be quoted anonymously and will in no way disclose who you are or any other personal information unless we secure your permission.


Cookies are small data files used by web sites in order to recognize a returning user. Cookies are not used by the SMCL Websites.


In accordance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the SMCL Websites do not collect or store any personal information, even in aggregate, about children under the age of 13. We will never disclose a child's personal information as full name, address, etc. ("information that would facilitate or enable the physical or online locating and contacting of a specific individual") without written approval from a parent or legal guardian or otherwise as compelled by law. In accordance with COPPA we will only display a child's first name, last initial, location and/or age on our pages to announce contest winners and display user-submitted comments.


Our web site contains links to external web sites not maintained by the San Mateo County Library. We cannot be responsible for your privacy when you visit outside web sites. Please consult the privacy policies of those web sites should you have questions regarding their use.