Library Privacy Guidelines
The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee approved a set of privacy guidelines that are intended to assist librarians, libraries, schools and vendors to develop best practices for online privacy and data management and security. The guidelines currently include:
- Guidelines for Data Exchange Between Networked Devices and Services
- Guidelines for Vendors
- Guidelines for Library Management Systems
- Guidelines for Library Websites, OPACs, and Discovery Services
- Guidelines for Public Access Computers and Networks
- Guidelines for Students in K-12 Schools
These guidelines attempt to balance the need to protect reader privacy with the needs of libraries to collect user data and provide personalized services, while respecting and protecting the individual’s right to make their own informed decisions in regards to how much privacy they are willing to trade for convenience or added benefits.
The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee also approved guidelines to minimize the negative impact of content filters on intellectual freedom, including a section on privacy issues such as SSL decryption.
Library Privacy Checklists
The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) partnered with the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee to develop checklists that are intended to provide libraries of all types with practical guidance on implementing the Library Privacy Guidelines published by the Intellectual Freedom Committee. The checklists currently include:
- Checklist for Overview
- Checklist for Data Exchange Between Networked Devices and Services
- Checklist for E-book Lending and Digital Content Vendors
- Checklist for Library Management Systems / Integrated Library Systems
- Checklist for Library Websites, OPACs, and Discovery Services
- Checklist for Public Access Computers and Networks
- Checklist for Students in K-12 Schools
Each checklist is organized into three priority groups. Priority 1 are actions that hopefully all libraries can take to improve privacy practices. Priority 2 and Priority 3 actions may be more difficult for libraries to implement depending on their technical expertise, available resources, and organizational structure.
More Privacy Guidance
- ALA Privacy Resources
- LITA Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group
- NISO Consensus Privacy Principles