For immediate release | April 18, 2019

Libraries close the gap on unequal privacy during Choose Privacy Week 2019

CHICAGO – This year’s theme for Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7, 2019) — “Inclusive Privacy: Closing the Gap” — draws attention to the privacy inequities imposed on vulnerable and historically underrepresented populations and highlights how libraries can close the privacy gap for those who need it most.

While everyone’s online privacy is at risk in a world of big data analytics, it is those who are poor or who belong to vulnerable or historically marginalized communities whose privacy is in the greatest jeopardy. Targeted for ubiquitous surveillance and data-based discrimination, they often find themselves unable to prevent or control how their digital information is collected, stored, used and shared by government and corporations alike. Libraries, as trusted sources of information and community support, can “close the privacy gap” for these users by providing safe spaces, training, and resources to help them take control of their private lives and personal data.

During Choose Privacy Week, library workers, trustees, and library users are all invited to join a week-long online conversation featuring commentaries by librarians, educators, and privacy experts addressing these issues on the front lines of librarianship. Featured writers include:

  • Jayanti Addleman, director of the Hayward Public Library, on “Reasonable Accommodation vs Privacy: Challenges of an Ability-Centered World.”
  • Anonymous, a library media specialist in Wisconsin, on “Does Student Safety Take Precedence Over the Freedom to Read?”
  • Ana Elisa de Campos Salles, supervisory librarian for Palo Alto City Library’s Children's Library, on “Queer but not Out: Making Your Queer and Questioning Users Welcome.”
  • John Mack Freeman, branch manager with the Gwinnett County Public Library and the current chair of ALA's Intellectual Freedom Round Table, on "I Didn't Want to Know That! Maintaining Privacy From Incidental Revelations."
  • Lisa Harris, manager of Social Justice Services for the Alameda County Library in California, on “I Went to Jail. Guess What? I Still Value My Rights and Care About My Privacy.”
  • Madeleine Ildefonso, managing librarian for Los Angeles Public Library's Department of Lifelong Learning, on “Humility in Libraries: Finding Balance in Creating Coverage for Immigrants.”
  • Anika Johnson, EMPA, literacy program assistant and EDI trainer, Solano County Library, on “So, How Do You Know Each Other? Privacy, Confidentiality, and Adult Literacy.”
  • T.J. Lamanna, emerging technologies librarian at Cherry Hill Public Library, on “Why Privacy Matters.”
  • Alison Macrina, founder and director of Library Freedom Project, on “Fighting Surveillance is not Impossible!”
  • Deb Sica, deputy county librarian for Alameda County Library, on “The L Word.”

Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association's annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians' unique role in protecting privacy. It provides libraries and librarians an opportunity to offer privacy-centered programming, displays, and other learning opportunities that assist patrons and librarians alike to learn, think critically and make more informed choices about privacy.

Choose Privacy Week Resources for Libraries and Schools

Web and social media graphics and programming resources for libraries are available through the Choose Privacy Week website at

Buttons, bookmarks and webcam covers are available through ALA’s online store.

  • Buttons are perfect giveaways during Choose Privacy Week and a visual representation of the actions libraries and patrons can take for equal, open, and inclusive privacy.
  • Bookmarks are a conversation starter on how to "close the gap" on privacy inequities imposed on vulnerable and historically underrepresented populations. The bookmark also highlights the newly adopted Article VII of the Library Bill of Rights that proclaims library users’ privacy rights.
  • The freedom to receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy. Protect your privacy (as well as your lens) with these adhesive webcam covers.

Choose Privacy Week Sponsors

The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Privacy Subcommittee monitors ongoing privacy developments in libraries, including technology, politics, legislation, and social trends. It proposes actions to ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee that promote best policies and practices for library users' privacy and generally defend and protect the privacy of library users, librarians, and the public.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights and with educating librarians and the public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries. OIF supports the work of the Intellectual Freedom Committee and its Privacy Subcommittee. For more information, visit


Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Interim Director

Office for Intellectual Freedom

(312) 280-4224