In age of Social Media U.S. libraries encourage users to choose privacy

Contacts: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312-280-4393 / 312-280-5043 /


For Immediate Release

April 27, 2010

National public awareness campaign helps library patrons understand privacy rights in the digital age

CHICAGO – In the past, privacy could be protected by closing a curtain, sealing a record, or simply choosing not to share one’s information. But in today’s digital environment, more and more of our personal information exists online, available and vulnerable to anyone with prying eyes and access to a computer. This makes individual control over one’s personal information a vital and compelling concern for Americans today.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has established Choose Privacy Week, May 2-8, to help libraries work with their communities around these complicated but vital issues. Privacy has long been a cornerstone of library services in America and a freedom that librarians defend every day.

Choose Privacy Week invites library users into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age. The campaign gives libraries the tools they need to educate and engage users, and gives individuals the resources to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy.

“People today are disclosing personal information more than ever, often without an opportunity to consider how that information is being used or by whom,” said ALA President Camila Alire. “Privacy has emerged as a complex, important issue that Americans must grapple with daily. It is also a fundamental right, and a necessary condition for the unique and important work of American libraries – facilitating open access to information for all.”

Librarians have a long history of protecting the rights of people to read, learn, and be curious, because the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy. This makes libraries ideal places for people to think and talk about privacy today.

“Libraries can play an important role in helping their users understand the rules of the game,” said Barbara Jones, director, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “More importantly, librarians — as long-standing defenders of intellectual freedom — can spark the sort of wide-ranging conversations in communities across America that can crystallize this otherwise amorphous issue.”

For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit or contact Macey Morales, ALA media relations manager, at 312-280-4393, or Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR coordinator at 312-280-5043,