Choose Privacy Week: Who Reads the Reader?, May 1 – 7, 2015

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/07/2015


Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Deputy Director

Office for Inrellectual Freedom

(312) 280-4224

CHICAGO — This year's observance of Choose Privacy Week, May 1 – 7, 2015 asks the question, "Who Reads the Reader?" The rapid development of online and digital technologies have given governments and corporations alike the ability to track, record and monitor our communications and reading habits – a very real threat to the reader's right to privacy. 

Privacy is an essential foundation for the freedom to read and receive ideas.  When a reader isn't sure that his or her reading habits are private, inevitably the reader limits what he or she reads to that which is mainstream and inoffensive in order to avoid investigation, criticism or reprisals.

During Choose Privacy Week the American Library Association invites librarians and library users to engage in a conversation about protecting and defending reader privacy rights and how to acquire the knowledge, skills and tools  necessary to  address the widespread surveillance and data mining that collects information about users' communications, reading and Web surfing habits.

The featured event for this year's Choose Privacy Week is a week-long online forum that will include guest commentaries by librarians and privacy experts on the challenges of protecting reader privacy.   The forum schedule is below:

May 1, 2015:  Who Reads the Reader: Choose Privacy Week 2015 by Michael Robinson, chair, ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee.  Michael Robinson is an associate professor, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage and chair of the Alaska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee

May 2, 2015: The Poacher and the Five Blind Librarians, by Eric Hellman.  Eric Hellman is a technologist, entrepreneur and writer who blogs at, where he publishes his own research on how well vendors follow privacy practices.

May 3, 2015: Passwords: Alison’s Personal Password Strategy by Alison Macrina.   Alison Macrina is the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative that trains librarians on the state of global surveillance, privacy rights, and privacy-protecting technology.

May 4, 2015: Online Catalogs, Discovery Services, and Patron Privacy by Marshall Breeding.  Marshall Breeding is an independent consultant focusing on the strategic use of technology in libraries and related organizations. He is the creator of Library Technology Guides and the editor of Smart Libraries Newsletter published by ALA TechSource.

May 5, 2015: What You Should Know About "Anonymous" Aggregated Data About You by Gretchen McCord.   Gretchen McCord, formerly a practicing academic librarian, is an attorney specializing in privacy and copyright law.

May 6, 2015:  The NISO Patron Privacy Project: Developing a Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems by Michael Zimmer.   Michael Zimmer is a privacy and Internet ethics scholar who is an associate professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and director of its Center for Information Policy Research.

May 7, 2015:  Creating a Digital Privacy Literacy Game to Create Safe and Secure Online Personas by Erin Berman and Jon Worona.  Erin is the community programs administrator for technology and innovation at San Jose Public Library, and Jon is the division manager for technology and innovation at San Jose Public Library.  Their proposal to create an online privacy literacy prototype for San Jose Public Library users won a Knight News Challenge for Libraries grant. 

Now in its sixth year, Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7) is a national public awareness campaign that seeks to deepen public awareness about personal privacy rights and the 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.

For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit or contact Deborah Caldwell-Stone in the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (312) 280-4224 or