Library users of all ages have a right to privacy. When students enter a school library, two expectations of privacy should be guaranteed:
- The right to read and borrow library materials free from scrutiny regardless of age, and
- The right to seek information and have the subject of academic and personal research remain private
However, library workers in K-12 schools are bound to federal laws that those in public libraries may not be. In addition to state laws on the confidentiality of library records, library workers who serve students and minors need to have an understanding of the federal privacy laws. For example, laws such as the Family Educational Rights Act (FERPA) give parents or caregivers rights to access the educational records of their students in K-12. FERPA also denies parents or caregivers access to their student’s records when students reach 18.
These essential resources are meant to be starting points, not an exhaustive directory. The resources complement, not supplant, the myriad of other information found throughout the website.
- State Privacy Laws Regarding Library Records
- Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
- Privacy and Children’s Data: An Overview of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
General Privacy Guidance
- Student Privacy Compass – Find information, news, and opinions on maintaining student data privacy. Resources for educators, students, and caregivers.
- The Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy
ALA Guidelines and Checklists
- Lesson Plans for School Libraries: Ready to teach K-12 students about privacy? Check out these lesson plans.
- Staff Training: Minors’ library privacy depends on the knowledge of school library workers. Take a look at this informative resource suitable for individual learning or as the basis for professional development.