For immediate release | October 6, 2022

OIF's workbook of privacy best practices for libraries

CHICAGO — Privacy is a core value of librarianship, yet it often feels like an overwhelming and onerous undertaking. With the creation of ever larger datasets and methods to track users’ every movement, library workers need to have a deep understanding of privacy, confidentiality, and security. Written by library privacy experts and based on input and guidance from a wide cross-section of stakeholders, “The Ultimate Privacy Field Guide: A Workbook of Best Practices” is structured to give library workers the tools needed to create and be advocates for privacy-protecting practices and policies. Published by ALA Editions in collaboration with ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), it’s designed for use in school, public, and academic settings of all types and sizes. It includes an introduction to each topic and several exercises that will help readers implement privacy changes at their own library. With the help of this guide, edited by Erin Berman and Bonnie Tijerina, readers will:

  • learn about creating strong passwords, multifactor authentication, how to avoid malware, and other basic digital security concepts as well as where to go for more help;
  • be able to communicate the importance of privacy and why libraries should care by understanding the people you are trying to reach;
  • navigate areas in the physical library space to help protect users’ privacy;
  • see how user data travels through the library and what can be done to protect it;
  • build an audit framework, perform an audit, and tell the audit story;
  • read, understand, and write privacy policies applicable to their own library; and
  • gain key strategies to employ while protecting user privacy when engaging vendors.

Berman led the American Library Association’s Privacy Subcommittee from 2018 - 2022. During her time as Innovations Manager for San José Public Library, she published the book “Your Technology Outreach Adventure: Tools for Human-Centered Problem Solving.” Currently, she works as the Division Director of the Learning Group for the Alameda County Library in California. Tijerina is a researcher, librarian, and community convener. She has worked on several grant-funded projects around privacy and big data research ethics and is the co-editor of “Protecting Patron Privacy: A LITA Guide.” She is also the founder and annual coordinator of the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) Conference.

Established December 1, 1967, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

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Related Links

"The Ultimate Privacy Field Guide: A Workbook of Best Practices"

"Intellectual Freedom Manual, Tenth Edition"

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