Privacy is a core value of librarianship, but what does it mean to put privacy in action in the library? Wading through suggested best practices, technology requirements, and the laws addressing privacy rights can be daunting and can raise more questions than answers. And the creation of ever larger datasets and methods to track users’ every movement means that library workers need to have a deep understanding of privacy, confidentiality, and security.
The new Privacy Field Guides fill that 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 library workers and trustees with an accessible, easy-to-use privacy road map. The Field Guides assist library workers in communicating the importance of privacy, improving their digital security practices, navigating the physical library space to protect users’ privacy, understanding how data travel through the library, performing a privacy audit, reading and writing privacy policies, and gaining strategies to employ while engaging with vendors. All of the guides include real-world actionable tools and exercises library workers can use to advocate for user privacy.
The Privacy Field Guides are designed to work in school, public, and academic libraries and are freely available to download and print on the ALA website or via an online, interactive version that offers exercises and additional information that can be shared throughout any organization.
ALA Editions will be publishing a complete set of the Privacy Field Guides for purchase in the summer of 2022. Titles in the Privacy Field Guides series include Digital Security Basics, How to Talk About Privacy, Non-Tech Privacy, Data Lifecycles, Privacy Audits, Privacy Policies, and Vendors & Privacy. The series was edited by Bonnie Tijerina and Erin Berman, chair of the IFC Privacy Subcommittee. The guides’ design and website were created by Pixel by the Inch.