For immediate release | April 17, 2018

Choose Privacy Week 2018: Big Data Is Watching You

CHICAGO – In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony last week and the related explosion of public interest in how online personal data is collected, stored, shared, used and sometimes misused, this year’s Choose Privacy Week theme— “Big Data is Watching You”—could not be more perfectly timed.

Choose Privacy Week (May 1-8), 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, focuses on growing threat of "big data" analytics, especially in a time when technology, mobile computing, social media, and the growing adoption of "big data" analytics pose new threats to everyone's right to privacy. Choose Privacy Week offers libraries and librarians a special opportunity to host 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.

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

During Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association invites librarians and library users to engage in a conversation about "big data" in the library and its impact on individuals' right to privacy via a week-long online forum that features commentaries by librarians, educators, and privacy experts. Featured writers include:

Matt Beckstrom, systems librarian at the Lewis & Clark Library, on "Patron Privacy and Data Storage."

Erin Berman, Innovations Manager for the San José Public Library, "Big Brother is Watching You: The Ethical Role of Libraries and Big Data."

Monica Bulger, researcher at Data & Society, on student data and the impact on school librarians.

Jason Griffey, affiliate fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, "Libraries as Private Spaces."

Eric Hellman, president, Free E-book Foundation and founder, and T.J. Lamanna, chair, New Jersey Intellectual Freedom Committee and emerging technologies librarian at the Cherry Hill Public Library, "Your Library Organization is Watching You."

Sarah Houghton, Director of the San Rafael Public Library, "The Challenge of Balancing Customer Service with Privacy."

Jessamyn West, community technologist and librarian, Vermont Mutual Aid Society, "Practical Privacy – Helping People Make Realistic Privacy Choices for Their Real Lives."

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 that 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

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Office for Intellectual Freedom

(312) 280-4224