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All requestors and users of the Montana Natural Heritage Program are protected by the "Montana Library Records Confidentiality Act."

22-1-1102. DEFINITIONS. As used in 22-1-1103, the following definitions apply:

  (1) "Library" means a library that is established by the state, a county, city, town, school district, or a combination of those units of government, a college or university, or any private library open to the public.

  (2) "Library records" means any document, record, or any other method of storing information retained, received, or generated by a library that identifies a person as having requested, used, or borrowed library material or other records identifying the names of other personal identifiers of library users. Library records does not include nonidentifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general or records that are not retained or retrieved by personal identifier.


  (1) No person may release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to any person except in response to:

     (a) a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the library; or

      (b) an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary because the merits of public disclosure clearly exceed the demand for individual privacy.

  (2) A library is not prevented from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistical reports regarding library registration and book circulation if those reports are presented so that no individual is identified therein.

  (3) Library records may be disclosed to the extent necessary to return overdue or stolen materials or collect fines.

22-1-1111. PENALTY.

Any person who violates 22-1-1103 is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to the person identified in a record that is improperly released or disclosed. The person identified may bring a civil action for actual damages or $100, whichever is greater. Reasonable attorney fees and the costs of bringing the action may be awarded to the prevailing party.