American Library Association Privacy Policies and Statements


The American Library Association has developed policies, guidelines, and resources to assist librarians in preserving privacy and confidentiality for library users.

Basic Statements

Library Bill of Rights (1948, amended 1961, 1980, reaffirmed 1996).

Freedom to Read Statement (1953. rev. 1972, 1991, 2000).

Code of Ethics (rev. 1995).

Freedom to View Statement (1990).

Library Principles for a Networked World

Privacy and Confidentiality Policies and Procedures

Privacy Tool Kit (2004).

Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records (1971. rev. 1975, 1986).

Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (2002).

Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families (last updated 2002).

Privacy and Confidentiality

Suggested Procedures for Implementing Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records (1983. rev. 1988).

Developing a Confidentiality Policy [from ALA, Intellectual Freedom Manual, 6th edition, (Chicago, IL: American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom 2002: 347-355.)]

Policy concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users (1991).

AASL Position Statement on the Confidentiality of Library Records

ALA Task Force on Privacy and Confidentiality in the Electronic Environment Final Report (July 2000).

Appendix addressing new technologies related to: Confidentiality of Library Records. Usage Tracking. Security Issues. Institutional Concerns and Developments. Library Practices. Commercial Applications

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

State Privacy Laws regarding Library Records

Policies and Statements about the Infringement of Users' Privacy Rights

USA Patriot Act

Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users (January 2003).

State Chapter Resolutions

Resolution on Security and Access to Government Information (June 25, 2003).

Resolution Reaffirming the Principles of Intellectual Freedom in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks (January 23, 2002).

Resolution on the Terrorism Information Awareness Program (June 25, 2003).

The USA Patriot Act in the Library

Confidentiality and Coping with Law Enforcement Inquiries: Guidelines for the Library and its Staff (last updated 2002).

FBI in Your Library

Guidelines for Librarians on the USA PATRIOT Act: What to do before, during and after a "knock at the door?" (January 19, 2002).

Surveillance in America

Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS)

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Prepared by Nancy Kranich
Chair, American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee
September 11, 2003; revised March 23, 2004