January 25, 2022

ALA Releases “Library Privacy Guidelines for E-book Lending and Digital Content Vendors”

From the American Library Association:

On June 29, 2015, the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee approved a new document, “Library Privacy Guidelines for E-book Lending and Digital Content Vendors.”  The document, which outlines best practices for vendors to follow to protect the privacy of library users,  is intended to encourage vendors and libraries to work together to develop effective privacy protection policies and procedures for eBook lending and the delivery of digital content to library patrons.  The document was developed by the IFC Privacy Subcommittee, with input from additional ALA committees, interest groups, and roundtables with an interest in privacy.

“A gap has grown between libraries’ long-standing tradition of protecting privacy and common data management practices that have developed as libraries strive to deliver digital content, embrace the modern Web, and provide personalized services,” said Michael Robinson, chair of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, and Head of Systems at the Consortium Library, University of Alaska – Anchorage.  “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 the privacy of their data.”


The IFC Privacy Subcommittee encourages anyone with comments or questions to send correspondence to its ALA staff liaison, Deborah Caldwell-Stone in the Office for Intellectual Freedom at dstone@ala.org

Read the Complete ALA Announcement

Direct to Privacy Guidelines

Quick Comment From infoDOCKET Founder/Editor, Gary Price

I would like take a moment to commend all of those involved with making these guidelines a reality. My hope is that  mechanisms are in place (it appears to be the case) to make the guidelines a living document that will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis since things change quickly in the world of online privacy.

I would also like to take a moment to offer kudos and  “well done” to the Chair of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee, Michael Robinson for his work and leadership in making this first version of the guidelines a reality. Btw, Mike’s leadership and knowledge of the many issues involved is being seen in other library privacy work and this is a very good thing.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.