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Other Policies and Guidelines

Below are links to these policies adopted by the American Library Association Council and guidelines from the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee:

Destruction of Libraries
The American Library Association deplores the destruction of libraries, library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational process by that act, whether it be done by individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose.

Developing a Confidentiality Policy
Recent years have seen an increase in the number and frequency of challenges to the confidentiality of library records across the United States, and a new dimension has been added to confidentiality concerns. Throughout the 1980s, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received queries from individual librarians who had been pressured by the FBI or local law enforcement agencies for information about library users, or who were afraid of being held liable for a patron’s acts after providing information on such topics as bomb construction, weapons, or satanism. Some of these librarians were tempted to maintain special files on patrons who seemed “suspicious” or who made “unusual” requests. These queries revealed a lack of confidence in confidentiality procedures or a misunderstanding of the important links among confidentiality, intellectual freedom, and librarians’ professional and legal obligations to uphold the privacy rights of patrons.

Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy
ALA urges any library using mandatory filtering software to consult with legal counsel to reevaluate their Internet Use Policy and assess the risk of future litigation.

Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Policies, Regulations and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services and Facilities
The American Library Association has adopted the Library Bill of Rights  and Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights to provide library governing authorities, librarians and other library staff and library users with guidelines on how constitutional principles apply to libraries in the United States of America.

Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures Regarding User Behavior and Library Usage
Libraries are faced with problems of user behavior that must be addressed to insure the effective delivery of service and full access to facilities. Library governing bodies must approach the regulation of user behavior within the framework of the ALA Code of Ethics, the Library Bill of Rights and the law, including local and state statutes, constitutional standards under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, due process and equal and equitable treatment under the law.

Linguistic Pluralism
The American Library Association protests conditions of employment predicated on inquiries into library employees' thoughts, reading matter, associates, or memberships in organizations. The Association also protests compulsory affirmations of allegiance as a condition of employment in libraries and calls on libraries not to impose loyalty tests or oaths as conditions of employment. Adopted by the ALA Council, July 1, 1992. (ALA Policy Manual 53.3.1)

Loyalty Oaths
The American Library Association protests conditions of employment predicated on inquiries into library employees' thoughts, reading matter, associates, or memberships in organizations. The Association also protests compulsory affirmations of allegiance as a condition of employment in libraries and calls on libraries not to impose loyalty tests or oaths as conditions of employment.

Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users
"In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf" (Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights).

Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the name of library users to be confidential in nature.

Policy on Governmental Intimidation
The American Library Association opposes any use of governmental prerogatives that lead to the intimidation of individuals or groups and discourages them from exercising the right of free expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ALA encourages resistance to such abuse of governmental power and supports those against whom such governmental power has been employed.

Privacy Audit
Materials for conducting a privacy audit.

RFID in Libraries: Privacy and Confidentiality Guidelines
RFID in Libraries: Privacy and Confidentiality Guidelines is designed to help libraries both to benefit from RFID deployment and to protect the privacy of library users.

Shield Laws
The American Library Association supports the enactment by Congress of a broad and effective federal shield law. The Association exhorts its chapters to work vigorously for the enactment of broad and effective shield laws in every state.

Suggested Procedures for Implementing Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
When drafting local policies, libraries should consult with their legal counsel to insure these policies are based upon and consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law concerning the confidentiality of library records, the disclosure of public records, and the protection of individual privacy.



Related Links

ALA Statements and Policies
Dealing with Challenges to Books and Other Library Materials
Dealing with Concerns about Library Resources
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Destruction of Libraries
The American Library Association deplores the destruction of libraries, library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational process by that act, whether it be done by individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose.

Developing a Confidentiality Policy
Recent years have seen an increase in the number and frequency of challenges to the confidentiality of library records across the United States, and a new dimension has been added to confidentiality concerns. Throughout the 1980s, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received queries from individual librarians who had been pressured by the FBI or local law enforcement agencies for information about library users, or who were afraid of being held liable for a patron’s acts after providing information on such topics as bomb construction, weapons, or satanism. Some of these librarians were tempted to maintain special files on patrons who seemed “suspicious” or who made “unusual” requests. These queries revealed a lack of confidence in confidentiality procedures or a misunderstanding of the important links among confidentiality, intellectual freedom, and librarians’ professional and legal obligations to uphold the privacy rights of patrons.

Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy
ALA urges any library using mandatory filtering software to consult with legal counsel to reevaluate their Internet Use Policy and assess the risk of future litigation.

Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Policies, Regulations and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services and Facilities
The American Library Association has adopted the Library Bill of Rights and Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights to provide library governing authorities, librarians and other library staff and library users with guidelines on how constitutional principles apply to libraries in the United States of America.

Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures Regarding User Behavior and Library Usage
Libraries are faced with problems of user behavior that must be addressed to ensure the effective delivery of service and full access to facilities. Library governing bodies should approach the regulation of user behavior within the framework of the ALA Code of Ethics, the Library Bill of Rights and the law, including local and state statutes, constitutional standards under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, due process and equal and equitable treatment under the law.

Linguistic Pluralism
The American Library Association protests conditions of employment predicated on inquiries into library employees' thoughts, reading matter, associates, or memberships in organizations. The Association also protests compulsory affirmations of allegiance as a condition of employment in libraries and calls on libraries not to impose loyalty tests or oaths as conditions of employment. Adopted by the ALA Council, July 1, 1992. (ALA Policy Manual 53.3.1)

Loyalty Oaths
The American Library Association protests conditions of employment predicated on inquiries into library employees' thoughts, reading matter, associates, or memberships in organizations. The Association also protests compulsory affirmations of allegiance as a condition of employment in libraries and calls on libraries not to impose loyalty tests or oaths as conditions of employment.

Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users
"In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf" (Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights).

Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records: The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the name of library users to be confidential in nature.

Policy on Governmental Intimidation
The American Library Association opposes any use of governmental prerogatives that lead to the intimidation of individuals or groups and discourages them from exercising the right of free expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ALA encourages resistance to such abuse of governmental power and supports those against whom such governmental power has been employed.

Suggested Procedures for Implementing Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records: When drafting local policies, libraries should consult with their legal counsel to insure these policies are based upon and consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law concerning the confidentiality of library records, the disclosure of public records, and the protection of individual privacy.

Privacy Audit
Materials and resources for conducting a privacy audit.

RFID in Libraries: Privacy and Confidentiality Guidelines
Adopted by the Intellectual Freedom Committee, June 27, 2006

Shield Laws
The American Library Association supports the enactment by Congress of a broad and effective federal shield law. The Association exhorts its chapters to work vigorously for the enactment of broad and effective shield laws in every state.

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