Privacy Policy

Your Right to Privacy

The Effingham Public Library (“EPL” or “Library”) is committed to protecting your privacy, whether you are a patron, visitor, and/or donor. This privacy policy explains what information we collect from you and why.

By using our website (, attending any of our events, participating in our programs, downloading mobile applications, accessing our databases, visiting our Library location, or donating to us, you agree to this privacy policy.

With your consent, you agree to let us use your email address and/or phone number, and postal address to communicate with you about our programs, services, and fundraising efforts. We commit to your privacy. Information about materials that you check out and information that you access is kept confidential.

This Privacy Policy may change from time to time and we will notify you by posting such changes on our website, so we encourage you to check back periodically for updates. We will alert you to material changes that have been changed by indicating on the Policy the date it was last updated, by placing a notice on our website, by sending you an email, and/or by some other means.

Information That You Provide

When you register for an account for our Library services or to get a Library card, we ask you to share certain information with us. If you register with us, we offer you the opportunity to review and, when practical, update, change or delete some information you have provided us.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

When you use our Library services, such as our website and mobile applications, our computer servers automatically capture and save the information electronically about your usage of our Library services. Again, we make sure only to collect the minimum amount of data needed for our services to work. In most cases we do not store this data; while we do sometimes look at the data in aggregate, we do not focus on you as an individual. Examples of information that we may collect include the IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) of the computer you are using; your general location; type of web browser, operating system, or electronic device; date, time, and length of your visit; pages that you visited on our website; and search/queries that you conducted or other interaction data. Please note that this information is captured in aggregate and not in any individually identifiable way.

If you are using a Library-provided device, we may also record your Library card number, the time and length of your session, and the websites you visited. If you are using our public Wi-Fi network, we may, in addition, also collect the MAC address and name of your Wi-Fi device.

Cookies. A cookie is a small data file sent from your web browser to a web server and is stored on your computer’s, or electronic device’s, hard drive. They are generated by websites to provide users with a personalized and often simplified online experience. You have the option of disabling cookies if you choose to. If you prefer, you can usually remove or reject browser cookies through the setting on your browser or device. Most web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. Keep in mind, though, that removing or rejecting cookies could affect the availability and functionality of our Library services.

Third-Party Vendors and Websites

We often use third-party Library service providers and technologies to help deliver some of our services to you, including our cataloging services, online services such as databases, digital classes, and programs, digital collections, streaming media content, communications to you, etc. We will make every effort to let you know when a third-party company is being used to deliver our services. If and when you choose to use such services, we may need to share your information with these third parties, but only as necessary for them to provide the services on behalf of the Effingham Public Library. We may also display links taking you to third-party services or content. By following these links, you may be providing information (including, but not limited to personal information such as your name, username, email address, and password) directly to a third party, to us, or to both.

By using these services, you will be acknowledging and agreeing that the Effingham Public Library is not responsible for how those third parties collect or use your information.

Library patrons must understand when using remote or third-party vendor sites that there are limits to the privacy protection the Library can provide.

We make reasonable efforts to ensure that third parties conform to Effingham Public Library’s Privacy Policy and we ensure that they comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. We continually monitor and evaluate such vendors to ensure that their policies remain in line with our requirements of them or our formal agreements with them.

We also make reasonable efforts to ensure that the Library’s contracts, licenses, and offsite computer service arrangements reflect our policies and legal obligations concerning patron privacy and the confidentiality of patron data.

Third-party service providers may collect and share your information, including:

  • Personally identifiable information you knowingly provide. This includes when you register for access to their site, provide feedback and suggestions, request information, or create shared content.
  • Other information that you may not knowingly provide, but that could be used to identify you, such as your Internet Protocol Address (IP Address), search history, location-based data, and device information.
  • Biometric data such as facial recognition, and voice recognition.
  • Non-personally identifiable information. This includes advertisements on the pages that you visit, analytics, browser information (type and language), cookie data, date/time of your request, demographic data, hardware/software type, interaction data, serving domains, page views, and the web page you visited immediately prior to visiting the third-party site.
  • Other data as described in the vendor’s privacy policy and terms of use.

For more information on these services and the types of data that are collected and shared, refer to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies on their web pages. You may choose not to use these third-party services if you do not accept their terms of use and privacy policies. Please take the time to read them carefully.

We encourage you to review the privacy policies of every third-party website or service with whom you interact through our Library services. You can always choose not to use third-party websites or services if you do not accept their privacy policies.

The Library also suggests links to external websites that are not under contract or under our direct control. In these instances, you are not required to give these sites your Library card or any other personally identifiable information in order to use their services.

How is My Personal Information Used and Who has Access to it?

Personal Information used by the Effingham Public Library

Depending on the specific Library services you choose to use, the following are some examples of the ways we use your information in order to provide those services to you.

We use:

  • Residency verification for Library cards.
  • Personal information for Libary records – such as book borrowing details, help desk and reference queries, fine/fee payments, surveys, and promotional and fundraising campaigns.
  • Login Credentials, Shared Content, and Cookies for delivery of enhanced or personalized services.

Aggregated Data

Sometimes the information collected about you through any of our services may be de-identified and aggregated with other information collected about other users, visitors, or donors. This de-identified and aggregated information cannot be used to reasonably identify you. The information we compile like this helps us to administer services, analyze usage, provide security, and count the number of new people using our Library services. In addition, it helps us to improve your user experience and allows the Library to promote its work to stakeholders and donors, and advocate for additional support for our services and resources.

Your Choice and Consent

You can manage most information by phone at 217-342-2464, by emailing us at, or by visiting the Library location and speaking with our staff. Our information storage systems are configured in a way that helps us protect information from accidental or malicious destruction. For that purpose, the information we collect is also saved, on the same terms, we have outlined above, in backup storage systems. Therefore, any update, change, or deletion you make may not immediately be reflected in all copies of the information we have and may not be removed from our backup storage systems until they are updated and overwritten.

Children’s Information

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) regulates the online collection of information from children under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, you may not be allowed to use our online services without your parent’s or guardian’s permission, especially when your personal information may be automatically collected. Parents and guardians of children under the age of 13 may view their children’s Library records.

Parents and guardians of children between the ages of 13 and 17 (inclusive) may also view their children’s Library records, but require their children’s consent to do so. We may partner with third-party services to provide educational content for children. Parents and guardians should review those services’ privacy policies before permitting their children to use them. Parents and guardians may also need to sign additional consent forms for the collection of information about their children before they can gain access to optional programs and services, such as our enrolled programs.

Public Computers and Connected Devices

The Library does not keep a record of your activities on any Library-provided computer or laptop. Any records of browsing history and activities are removed when you log out. The next patron cannot see any of your information.

All personally identifiable information is purged within 24 hours of the end of your public computer reservation. An anonymous log is created that includes only the computer terminal number, reservation time, and duration of the session. These anonymous reservation statistics remain in the system.

All connected devices you borrow from the Library (e.g. tablets, e-readers) have their history manually cleared by Library staff immediately after you return the device.

Data and Network Security

The Library uses software programs that monitor network traffic and computer activity to identify and prohibit unauthorized attempts to compromise Library technology, including preventing malware, viruses, and bad actors from entering the Library’s network, or otherwise disrupt Library operations. No attempts are made by the Library to identify individual patrons or their usage habits and no software is installed on patron-owned devices.

For More Information

If you have questions or concerns about our Privacy Policy and practices, please send an e-mail to

You can also contact us by:

  • Phone: 217-342-2464
  • Submitting a question through our web form here.
  • Writing to us at:
    Effingham Public Library
    200 N. Third St.
    Effingham, IL 62401

Last updated: June 1, 2022