American Library Association Releases New Privacy Field Guides

CHICAGO — Privacy is a core value of librarianship, but what does it mean to put privacy into action in the library? Navigating through suggested best practices, technology requirements, and privacy laws can be daunting and may raise more questions than answers. And the creation of ever-larger datasets and methods to track every movement of users means that library workers must have a deep understanding of privacy, confidentiality and security.

The new Privacy Field Guides fill this information gap. Created by the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and its Privacy Subcommittee with funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Privacy Field Guides provide employees and library administrators with an accessible and easy-to-use roadmap. Field guides help library workers communicate the importance of privacy, improve their digital security practices, navigate the library’s physical space to protect user privacy, understand how data travels through library, perform a privacy audit, read and write privacy policies, and gain strategies to employ while engaging with vendors. All guides include practical tools and practical exercises that library workers can use to defend user privacy.

The Privacy Field Guides are designed to work in school, public, and academic libraries and can be downloaded and printed for free from the ALA website or through an interactive online version that offers exercises and additional information that can be shared across any organization.

ALA Editions will publish a comprehensive set of privacy field guides for purchase in summer 2022. Titles in the privacy field guide series include digital security basics, how to talk about privacy, privacy not Technical, Data Lifecycles, Privacy Audits, Privacy Policies, and Suppliers and Privacy. The series was edited by Bonnie Tijerina and Erin Berman, Chair of IFC’s Privacy Subcommittee. The guides design and website were created by Pixel by the Inch.

For more information about field guides, contact Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, [email protected]

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