Libraries set the stage for individuals of all ages to choose privacy

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/26/2011

Contact:

Macey Morales

National public awareness campaign, now in its second year, helps library patrons discuss and understand privacy rights today

CHICAGO – Do young people in America care about privacy? Prevailing conventional wisdom may suggest that children and teens have little regard for personal privacy, but research shows that they do care and are also doing something about it. On social networking sites, for example, young people are sharing information but also limiting access to their personal profiles. Youth have a strong and vested interest in controlling how their lives are viewed and by whom, but they need good information about what actions to take, where to turn and who to trust.

In this respect, young people are not alone. Individuals of all ages share concerns about how their personal information can be used and abused, both online and off – and they are looking for help to understand the issues and make decisions for themselves and their families.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week in 2010 to help libraries work with their communities in navigating these complicated but vital issues. Privacy has long been a cornerstone of library services in America and a freedom that librarians defend every day.

Now in its second year, Choose Privacy Week will take place May 1-7, 2011, inviting library users of all ages and backgrounds into a conversation about privacy rights in a digital age. The campaign gives libraries tools to educate and engage users and gives individuals the resources they need to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy.

“Privacy has emerged as a complex, important issue that Americans of all ages must grapple with daily,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “It is also a fundamental right, and a necessary condition for the unique and important work of American libraries – facilitating open access to information for all.”

Librarians have a long history of protecting the rights of people to read, learn and be curious – including the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously. This makes libraries ideal places for people to think and talk about privacy today.

“Libraries can play an important role in helping their users understand the rules of the game,” said Barbara Jones, director, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “More importantly, librarians — as long-standing defenders of intellectual freedom — can spark the sort of wide-ranging conversations in communities across America that will help people think clearly and critically about these slippery and amorphous privacy issues.”

For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit www.privacyrevolution.org or contact Macey Morales, ALA media relations manager, at 312-280-4393, mmorales@ala.orgor Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR coordinator at (312) 280-5043, jpetersen@ala.org.