CHICAGO – Each year on May 1, librarians, library users and privacy advocates come together to observe Choose Privacy Week - an annual event promoting the importance of individual privacy rights. But protecting and promoting privacy in libraries and in patrons’ lives shouldn't be a one-off annual event. Libraries and librarians should provide privacy programming and resources throughout the year, whether the topic is government surveillance, data mining, identity theft, or threats to personal privacy from implementation of emerging technologies.
"Librarians are staunch defenders of library users' privacy, even as new technologies and a growing use of social media and online tools have altered the privacy landscape," said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. "Acquiring the tools and knowledge necessary to help library users address and cope with an era of nearly unchecked surveillance and data mining is essential preparation for librarians tackling this important task."
During Choose Privacy Week, May 1 – 7, 2014, the American Library Association invites librarians and library users to engage in a conversation about protecting privacy rights all year long, both inside and outside the library.
The featured event for the week-long observance is a special webinar, "Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts,” that will provide advice about protecting personal data from the dark forces online that undermine privacy. Tune in at 2:00 pm on May 5, 2014 to learn more about how online surveillance works, get practical tips on improving privacy on public computers, and gain a better understanding of current legal threats to digital privacy and online anonymity from Eric Stroshane, Field Services Librarian with the North Dakota State Library. Ann Crewdson and Helen Adams, co-chairs of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, will also introduce the newly revised ALA Privacy Tool Kit that includes new sections on the impact of emerging technologies on library users’ privacy and updates on minors’ privacy and ALA privacy resources and services.
An additional online resource for ALA members observing Choose Privacy Week is Libraries, National Security, and Privacy, an April 23rd Colloquium for MLIS students and others at Rutgers University, that will be videotaped and available for public viewing on the Rutgers School of Communication and Information YouTube channel. The session will feature George Christian, Executive Director of Library Connection, a Connecticut multi-type library consortium, who helped lead a legal challenge to a National Security Letter requesting library patron records and Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a Washington-based coalition that fights against government secrecy and shines a light on surveillance transparency.
Choose Privacy Week will also feature a week-long online forum that will include guest commentaries by librarians discussing how libraries and librarians can protect library users' privacy all year round.
The full listing of events for Choose Privacy Week 2014 is below:
Webinar: May 5, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. (Link to Adobe Connect platform to be provided.)
"Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts”
Dark forces conspire online to undermine privacy, compromise accounts, stalk, troll, and just plain creep us out. Libraries have a longstanding tradition of protecting their users’ privacy and confidentiality, but often fail to take basic steps to protect patrons’ use of their public access computers and digital resources. Tune in to learn more about how online surveillance works, get practical tips on improving privacy on public computers, and gain a better understanding of current legal threats to digital privacy and online anonymity. Ann Crewdson and Helen Adams, co-chairs of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, will also introduce the newly revised ALA Privacy Tool Kit.
Featured Presenter: Eric Stroshane, Field Services Librarian with the North Dakota State Library where he’s worked in various capacities for the last decade. He is a data privacy enthusiast and intellectual freedom fighter, and has delivered presentations on a wide array of topics at North Dakota State Library workshops, the North Dakota Library Association annual conference, the Mountain Plains Library Association annual conference, and the Library Technology Conference.
Online Forum at ChoosePrivacyWeek.Org:
May 1, 2014: “Re-introducing the ALA Privacy Tool Kit,” by Helen Adams and Ann Crewdson, Co-Chairs, ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee. Helen Adams is a former school librarian in Wisconsin and currently an online instructor for the School Library and Information Technologies program at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, and a trustee for the Freedom to Read Foundation; Ann Crewdson is a Children's Specialist at the Issaquah Library, King County Library System, Washington, Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Interest Group for the Washington Library Association, and a member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee.
May 2, 2014: "Kids Deserve Privacy Too!" by Heather Acerro, Head of Youth Services at Rochester Public Library, MN. Heather is engaged in building an innovative, dynamic and interactive space for kids & teens to learn, collaborate and create at the Rochester Public Library. She writes reviews for School Library Journal, serves on the board of The Reading Center: Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota and is the current chair of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee.
May 5, 2014: “Privacy Programming for Adults,” by Mike Robinson, associate professor and head of systems, Consortium Library, at the University of Alaska – Anchorage. Mike has worked with technology in libraries for most of his career and has a strong interest in online privacy as a cornerstone of intellectual freedom. He is currently the Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Alaska Library Association.
May 6, 2015: “Libraries, National Security, and Privacy Reconsidered in 2014.” Nancy Kranich, who serves as the MLIS Colloquium faculty convener at Rutgers, is the host for the session. Nancy teaches Intellectual Freedom and Information Policy for the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. She is a Past President of ALA, and, as a former Chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, spearheaded the drafting of the ALA's Privacy Toolkit.
May 7, 2014: "Privacy Issues for Incarcerated Youth," Kelly Czarnecki, Teen Librarian, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has worked with teens in libraries for over ten years. She was the editor for the gaming column in School Library Journal for many years and is currently the YALSA liaison for the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee.
Now in its fifth year, Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7) is a national public awareness campaign that seeks to deepen public awareness about personal privacy rights and need to insure those rights in an era of pervasive surveillance. Through programming, online education, and special events, libraries will offer individuals opportunities to learn, think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week 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 right that librarians defend every day.