Protect the privacy of your library patrons

Contact: Jill Davis

ALA Editions

800-545-2433 ext. 5418


For Immediate Release

January 6, 2009

ALA Editions, the publishing imprint of the American Library Association, is pleased to announce the release of the new title: “Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers” by Theresa Chmara. In this clear and concise guide, set-up in a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) format, First Amendment attorney and litigation expert Chmara shares her decades of experience in easy-to-understand, jargon-free language.

Libraries are on the front lines of patron privacy and confidentiality controversies that raise First Amendment questions, thus it is increasingly critical that libraries and their counsel become familiar with the constitutional rights of patrons. By understanding the issues and relevant laws, librarians can take action to protect users' First Amendment rights.

Library directors and managers, as well as lawyers who represent libraries, will learn

  • What First Amendment rights exist in libraries
  • How to create a library policy to best protect patrons' confidentiality and privacy
  • The appropriate responses to requests for patron records
  • How to deal with the nuances of Internet use privacy

Interspersed within the questions and answers, actual court case studies lend a sense of urgency to the explanations. Covering circulation and Internet use records, along with the role of the library as employer, this guide is librarians’ first line of defense of the First Amendment.

Theresa Chmara, a partner with the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block, has extensive experience counseling clients on First Amendment issues. She has led numerous sessions in Lawyers for Libraries training institutes and has represented the American Library Association, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the American Booksellers Association on free speech issues. She is a 1988 cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

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