Howard County Library System
Privacy Statement

Donations to Howard County Library
Howard County Library (HCL) has partnered with BB&T (and their payment provider Authorize.Net) to securely process your online credit card donation. While we use personal information (such as name, address, phone, email address, organization name, credit card number, and transaction identification) required to complete and review the transaction, we do not store credit card information since we currently process transactions on a one-time basis exclusively. Review Authorize.Net's privacy policy at

Your credit card statement will list Howard County Library.

Memberships to Friends of Howard County Library
The Friends of Howard County Library (Friends of HCL) has partnered with e-tapestry (and their payment provider IATS) to securely process your online credit card donation.  We use personal information (such as name, address, phone, email address, organization name, credit card number, and transaction identification) required to complete and review the transaction.  Review IATS privacy policy at

Your credit card statement will list Friends of HCL.

How We Protect Your Privacy

Effective Date: January 8, 2010

Howard County Library is committed to preserving your privacy and safeguarding your credit card and other sensitive information. The following statement describes the general information-gathering and usage practices of our web site and online donation services.

Collecting personal information through HCL's web site:

When you make an online donation to HCL, a variety of personal information is collected in order to properly process your donation. This personal information may include: name, address, phone, email address, credit card information, "acknowledgement" or "in memory of" information, and donation amount. This contact information, less the credit card information, will be entered into HCL's database of contacts and supporters.

HCL will not share your personal information without your knowledge or permission.

While it is unlikely that HCL or our payment provider will need to contact you, we reserve the right in the event that we need to verify your personal information. If you contact us by email or phone, we may ask you to verify your personal information so that we may respond to your inquiry.

When making an online donation to Howard County Library, you may be asked to check a box to "receive email updates" from HCL. HCL will obtain that information and may choose to send email updates.


HCL uses "session cookies" while you make a donation. "Cookies" are bits of information that are stored by your browser on your hard drive. We use "session cookies" so that we can properly verify your identity as you move from one donation page to the next. For our customers, we also use "session cookies" and "persistent cookies" in addition to verifying personal information, so that we can provide secure access to donor information. These session cookies are not linked to personally identifiable information.

How we use cookies. When you access HCL's web site, we, or companies we hire to track how our web site is used, may place small data files called "cookies" on your computer.

We send a "session cookie" to your computer when you log in to your account. This type of cookie helps us to recognize you if you visit multiple pages on our site during the same session, so that we do not need to ask you for your password on each page. Once you log out or close your browser, this cookie expires and no longer has any effect.

We also use longer-lasting cookies for other purposes such as to display your email address on our sign-in form, so that you do not need to retype the email address each time you log in to your account.

We encode our cookies so that only we can interpret the information stored in them. You are free to decline our cookies if your browser permits, but doing so may interfere with your use of our web site. We may also collect information about your computer or other access device to mitigate risk, and for fraud prevention purposes.

Web log files:

Like most web site administrators, we use log files that record information such as Internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp, and page navigation. We gather this information to track web site visitor movement in the aggregate, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. Our goal in gathering this information is to learn how our customers and the public are using our service. IP addresses that are recorded by our log files are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Protecting personal information:

HCL takes every precaution to protect donor information. When you submit sensitive information via our web site, your information is protected both online and off-line. When a form asks donors to enter sensitive information (such as credit card number or address), that information is encrypted and is protected with the best encryption software in the industry: SSL. While on a secure page, such as a donation form, the lock icon on the bottom of Web browsers becomes locked.

While we use SSL encryption to protect sensitive information online, we also do everything in our power to protect donor information off-line. All of our donor information, not just the sensitive information mentioned above, is restricted in our offices. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job responsibility are authorized access to personally identifiable information. All employees are kept up-to-date on our security and privacy practices.

HCL may share personal information with service providers who help with parts of our business operations (e.g., fraud prevention, bill collection, technology services). Our contracts dictate that these service providers use your information only in connection with the services they perform for us and not for their own benefit.

HCL will not sell or rent any of your personal information to third parties for their marketing purposes.

Complying with the judicial or legal system:

Though HCL makes every effort to preserve donor and customer privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law wherein we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order or legal process served on our organization.

Changes to our privacy policy:

Any changes to our privacy policy will be posted immediately to our homepage, this privacy statement, and other places we deem appropriate so our donors and customers are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. In the unlikely event that we must use users' personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time of collection, we will notify users via email.

Contacting HCL:

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of HCL, or your dealings with our web sites, please contact:

Rita Hamlet
Howard County Library System
6600 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

Phone: 410.313.7750
TTY Phone: 410.313.7740
Fax: 410.313.7742

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