(1 August 2016, Chicago) The American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee has approved four new library privacy guidelines that outline strategies and best practices for protecting patron privacy in the digital environment. The guidelines address online privacy and data security and are intended to assist librarians, libraries, schools and vendors in developing policies and procedures that safeguard library users’ data. The guidelines include:
· Library Privacy Guidelines for Public Access Computers and Networks
· Library Privacy Guidelines for Library Websites, OPACs, and Discovery Services
· Library Privacy Guidelines for Library Management Systems
· Library Privacy Guidelines for Data Exchange Between Networked Devices and Services
The IFC Privacy Subcommittee developed the documents, with input from additional ALA committees, divisions, interest groups, and roundtables with an interest in privacy. The guidelines augment the previously released Library Privacy Guidelines for E-book Lending and Digital Content Vendors and Library Privacy Guidelines for Students in K-12 Schools.
“The guidelines are a good start for mapping out the areas where libraries need to work with service providers and other partners to safeguard patron privacy in the digital age,” said Michael Robinson, chair of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, and Head of Systems at the Consortium Library, University of Alaska – Anchorage. “The next challenge will be to provide resources and training to help libraries put the principles outlined in these documents into practice.”
Pam Klipsch, chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee and Director of the Jefferson County Public Library in Missouri praised the subcommittee’s work. “The IFC Privacy Subcommittee has provided much-needed practical advice to the librarians and staff members we rely on to program user privacy into our library systems.”
“Librarians have a long history of fiercely defending the privacy of library patrons,” said Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association. “These guidelines will assist librarians in developing new policies and best practices that will help ensure that emerging technologies and internet connectivity do not weaken library users’ privacy.”
The guidelines are now available online on the ALA website.
The announcement in full is here.