Privacy Policy

No sale of personal information

LibraryThing will not sell or give personally-identifiable information to any third party. This would be evil, and we are not evil. We reserve the right to sell or give away anonymous or aggregate information. (See LibraryThing for Libraries for a service we provide libraries.)

Email from LibraryThing

LibraryThing will not send you mass emails without your consent. By default, new members are signed up for our State of the Thing newsletter.

LibraryThing's "find friend" feature starts with no friends selected, and has no "select all" button.

Private libraries

LibraryThing allows "private" libraries—libraries that others can't see. We cannot give an absolute 100% guarantee of privacy. After all, even Amazon had a day when all their "anonymous" reviewers were exposed by mistake. If the public disclosure of your library would really damage you, by all means don't post it online.

The law

We take reader privacy very seriously. LibraryThing will not cooperate with US law enforcement unless compelled to do so by law. If you are using LibraryThing from a foreign country with an oppressive government, LibraryThing urges you not to put yourself at risk.


LibraryThing allows members to connect to various apps, like Facebook and Twitter that require application authorization. We will not use this for anything other than explicitly agreed to. The data we collect from these apps is used only for authentication purposes, and is not displayed, transferred or shared in any way. LibraryThing will not sell or give personally-identifiable information to any third party. This would be evil, and we are not evil.

Payment details

Most of our payments come through PayPal, so we never receive credit cards numbers. Remaining payment information is stored separately, and not linked to your member name.


LibraryThing is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy status, parental status, marital status, veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

Terms of Use

Get off my lawn, you kids!

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) severely restricts what information can be collected from children under 13. For this reason, children under 13 are prohibited from using LibraryThing. Children 13 and over may participate with the permission and guidance of their parent or guardian. Users of all ages are warned not to provide profile information without weighing the risks and benefits, and never to provide their phone number, address or other critical personal data on-line.


By posting content to LibraryThing, you grant—and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, represent and warrant—LibraryThing a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, omnipotent, royalty-free, fully-transferable and sublicenseable right to display, use, analyze, aggregate, modify, adapt, publish, translate, transform, create derivative works from and perform in any venue or media, online or offline, as well as

"In Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy, / And arts, though unimagined, yet to be." (Shelley, Prometheus Unbound)

We do NOT assert copyright over the things you post to LibraryThing. The phrase "non-exclusive" above means you can post your content elsewhere. By posting something to LibraryThing you let us use it, but you do not restrict what you can do with it. We love it when people post their reviews on their blog, on Amazon and other sites!

As stated above, LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party.

You can control whether your reviews will ever be made available to libraries or others. Click here to edit your profile and change your preference.


If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please notify LibraryThing as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA"). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, you must provide the following information in writing:

  1. An electronic or physical signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner;
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing and where it is located on the Service;
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit [us] to contact you, such as your address, telephone number, and, e-mail address;
  5. A statement that you have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or law; and
  6. A statement, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information is accurate, and that you are the copyright owner or are authorized to act on behalf of the owner.

The above information should be submitted to:

LibraryThing, Inc.
Attn: DMCA Notice
286 Spring Street #2, Portland, ME 04102
Email: infoAT SIGNlibrarything.com


Please note that this procedure is exclusively for notifying LibraryThing and its affiliates that your copyrighted material has been infringed. The preceding requirements are intended to comply with LibraryThing’s rights and obligations under the DMCA, including 17 U.S.C. §512(c), but do not constitute legal advice. It may be advisable to contact an attorney regarding your rights and obligations under the DMCA and other applicable laws.

HIPAA Compliance and Patron Privacy

If you're a health industry organization considering TinyCat and LibraryThing for tracking patrons and lending data, please be advised that LibraryThing does not ensure full HIPAA compliance.

Consider these tips to maintain patron privacy within TinyCat and LibraryThing:

  • Do not share your admin login with anyone unless you expect them to have access to all of your library and patron data.
  • Do not add patron information, such as names and phone numbers, but use only patron barcodes or IDs.
  • If you have Simple Circulation enabled, go to your Patron Accounts Settings, and select Barcode/ID under the 'Patron list' setting. This will protect the privacy of your patrons’ names.
  • If you have Full Circulation enabled, go to your Patrons Settings and make sure that all patron fields except 'Barcode/Patron ID' are set to Admin only. Set the 'Barcode/Patron ID' field to Patron can see, if you prefer.

Social features

Freedom of discussion and personal attacks

  • LibraryThing has no speech code. You can dispute ideas and words without limitation.
  • LibraryThing prohibits personal attacks on members. As Wikipedia's policy states, "Comment on content, not on the contributor."

Good advice

  • Use common sense. Be polite. Think before you post.
  • If you're upset by something or someone, try to calm down before responding.
  • Discussions can become heated and passionate. Don't forget that the person on the other side is human.
  • Remember that LibraryThing Talk is a public space; don't say anything to others that you wouldn't want a room full of people to overhear.
  • Avoid quoting or otherwise exposing private communication. While this does not necessarily violate the Terms of Service, you should consider whether it qualifies as a personal attack or a disclosure of private information.
  • Consider the context before posting. A political religious dispute does not belong in a knitting group.

How to deal with abuse

  • If you come across an abusive post, click the "flag abuse" link. The flag will be visible only after it has been flagged twice. After four different users have flagged a post, it will be deleted.
  • Please do not flag posts as "abuse" simply because you disagree with what is said, or if someone criticizes your favorite book, author, or idea—that's not abuse, it's a difference of opinion. We welcome differences of opinion!
  • LibraryThing staff do not review all flags. Severe abuse should be reported to LibraryThing staff.

Other rules

  • LibraryThing is not an advertising medium. Egregious commercial solicitation is forbidden. No matter how great your novel, this does apply to authors. (See Tips and Guidelines for Authors.)
  • Do not spam member comments or group invitations. Inviting people in your town to a new group is okay; inviting hundreds of members is not.
  • Do not repost flagged content in Talk. If you believed you were flagged unfairly, go ahead and discuss the issue (without getting personal). You can discuss it, with short selections. But you may NOT repost it. If people want to read it, they can; Talk allows you to click something to see the flagged content.
  • Do not create "pointless," "meaningless" or "random" groups or topics. We give all groups the benefit of the doubt, but the creation of multiple, duplicative and contentless groups is against these terms.
  • Do not intentionally disclose sensitive private information about another member.
  • One violation of the Terms of Service does not justify another one.

System integrity

  • Do not subvert or misuse site features.
  • Do not set up "shell" or "sock puppet" accounts for any purpose whatsover.
  • Common Knowledge, covers and other core, shared bibliographic data must be edited in good faith.
  • LibraryThing is for your books—books you own, have read or want. It would not be appropriate to fill your LibraryThing catalog with all the books in your local library or Project Gutenberg.
  • Except by permission or through an authorized API, you may not add to or query your library automatically. See our APIs.

Account types

Individual accounts are designed for personal collections. Couples and families are fine too. Organizations, like churches, companies, schools and museums, can also join, with some restrictions. (See organizational accounts.)

Lifetime memberships

People who pay for lifetime memberships get what they paid for, and probably a lot more. If, however, LibraryThing adds major new features, including but not limited to tracking your borrowed books by satellite and punishing malefactors with a death-ray, using these new features may require an additional payment.

LibraryThing asks for $25 (life) or $10 (year) for over 200 books. If you go to pay, you will discover that you can pay what you want.

Pay-for-review schemes

LibraryThing encourages members to participate in book give-away programs. (LibraryThing has two: Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways.) We forbid reviews from "pay-for-review" schemes.

  • Reviewers must be free to write what they think. They may not be required or rewarded to write positive reviews, or punished for writing bad ones.
  • Reviewers must own and control their reviews, granting other parties only a non-exclusive license.
  • Reviewers must act on their own volition, cross-posting their review when and where they want. Companies that sell services based on how many sites get reviews are explicitly forbidden from using LibraryThing.
  • Reviewers must not be paid for their reviews, except in free books and similar non-monetary perks.

Member recommendations

In adding a Member recommendation to any given work page, you are expected to make good-faith, disinterested recommendations. You can only make three recommendations per book, and cannot recommend the same book more than five times overall. Recommending your own book is strictly forbidden. Members can rate the validity of other member recommendations from the Rate Recommendations page. You are free to recommend books already listed by others or by LibraryThing itself.

What, more?

  • You may not post any content that violates copyright or other intellectual property law.
  • LibraryThing may not be used for any illegal activity.
  • LibraryThing may not be used to injure, threaten, stalk, impersonate or harrass someone.
  • Do not plagiarize another member's content.
  • Do not upload X-rated pictures.
  • Do not upload suggestive images of minors or seeming minors.
  • Your username may not be an insult, either general or specific. Sheesh!
  • We reserve the right to remove accounts with no books after three months. (We have never done so.)

We take it all back

These terms and conditions are subject to the usual change-at-any-time rule that websites put on their terms and conditions and which seem so unfair. ("What, I have to submit a DNA sample?") We have edited them as new situations have come up, but we promise not to change any of the core principles, particularly with regard to sale of information, copyright and death rays. We promise to make all changes openly, with tracking and with the opportunity for users to withdraw their accounts.


Credit where it's due

We proudly use some icons from these great icon sets:

Silk Icons and Fugue Icons

LEXILE®, LEXILE FRAMEWORK® and the LEXILE® logo are trademarks of MetaMetrics, Inc., and are registered in the United States and abroad. Copyright © 2010 MetaMetrics, Inc. All rights reserved.

LittleFreeLibrary® and the LittleFreeLibrary.org® logo are trademarks of Little Free Library, Ltd., and are registered in the United States, as well as internationally. Copyright © Little Free Library, Ltd. 2010-2012.

BookCrossing™ and the BookCrossing™ logo are trademarks of BookCrossing, Inc. Copyright © BookCrossing, Inc. 2001-2013.

Certain content that appears in on this site comes from Amazon Services, LLC. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.



11/30/16. Added HIPAA Compliance and Patron Privacy section.

09/8/16. Added DMCA section.

06/25/15. Added "topics" to Other Rules section on "pointless" groups.

12/29/14. Added "Member recommendations" section to Terms of Use. These are long-standing rules that simply needed to be added here.

8/12/14. Added equal opportunity employer statement.

5/1/14. Added suggestive images of minors bullet.

1/27/11. Major design changes to page. No textual changes.

6/24/10. Made significant changes, especially to order and style. See old version, Wiki page, tracking changes and Talk topic.

5/27/10. Added plagiarism bullet.

12/15/08. Added "Disclaimers/Attributions" section.

3/25/08. Added "Review integrity" section.

10/31/08. Fixed a spelling error.

3/2/08. Fixed a spelling error.

2/29/08. Added italics, capital letters.

2/28/08. Clarified posting rules, which have been on and off this document and elsewhere on the site. Edited don't-dos to include impersonating someone else.

8/11/07. Reordered a bit; clarified that authors promoting their books is commercial.

7/12/07. Added prohibiton against duplicative or nonsense groups.

7/1/07. Added prohibition against reposting flagged content.

1/2/07. Added "Participating in Translation" link. Reordered items a bit.

12/17/06. Added "sock puppets" to "shell accounts." Edited some of the "don't be a jerk," for brevity not content.

12/11/06. Added "Participating in Talk and Groups." Removed "Intellectual Property and Reverse Engineering" clause.

9/11/06. Added part about use by booksellers to "Individual accounts".

8/21/06. Updated "Individual accounts" section to link to information about organizations.

4/3/06. Added section on "Automated Input and Retrieval," and second paragraph of "Individual accounts."

11/8/05. Added IP and reverse engineering clause.

11/8/05. Made it clearer that your username can't be an insult, general or specific, or use a term that suggests you run the website.

10/3/05. Added rule about empty libraries.
Added rule about couples and other family groupings not being considered organizations.

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,213,453 books! | Top bar: Always visible