Library Confidentiality: Your Privacy is Our Business
American Libraries covered this session with an article.
Protecting patron privacy has long been a tenet of libraries. In today’s environment of social media dominance, political partisanship, and big data collection and analysis, libraries continue their gate-keeping tradition. Participants in this program will learn about the policies, guidelines, ethics and laws behind the privacy and confidentiality standards that affect their libraries. Attendees will have several opportunities to share and explore cultural and policy approaches to privacy and confidentiality with their colleagues, while strategizing to resolve challenging patron privacy scenarios and policy concerns they may encounter at their own institutions.
Privacy is as much an institutional cultural construct as it is a framework of laws, regulations, and policies. We begin by reflecting upon our own personal concepts of privacy. The presenters will share what students have told them about their privacy fears. You will find that our concerns are surprisingly similar, and yet we wittingly or unwittingly share our private information on a regular basis. As information professionals, what is our role in creating privacy and confidentiality awareness among our patrons and staff? Our examination expands to compare and contrast how we, as a profession, protect the privacy of our patrons even if that is at odds with how our patrons want (or do not want) their privacy protected.
This program makes participants aware of the potential for challenges to patron reading records and models options to be both proactive and reactive, outlines the history and practice of ALA’s ethical and legal response to those challenges, and reflects upon the increasing institutional focus on assessment, data-driven decision making and the use of Big Data to prove our value. Will these new initiatives threaten our patrons’ privacy?
Speakers: Kathleen Ross and Nancy Greco, St. John Fisher College
PLA Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum
This event was part of the PLA meeting at ALA. American Libraries did an article on it.
Can a patron require us to accept a gift subscription to a publication we don't want? Can I play music during a story hour and have the children sing along? What if we stream the story hour from our website? We notice one patron often comes into the library barefoot. Can we do anything about that? Can "that" group really be allowed to use our meeting room? We have received a list of books for which a number of patrons (there is a signed petition) want restricted access so that children cannot read or check out the books unless there is a parental permission on file. Must we abide by their wishes? The library has a new crafting space, with glue guns, various cutting blades and other sharp objects. Can we have patrons sign some sort of release protecting the library in case someone gets injured? I am reviewing an agreement from a new online content provider. What does it mean when the agreement says the vendor waives all warranties including non-infringement and that the library will indemnify the vendor? Need answers to these and similar questions?
PLA announces a new conference resource and informational session, the Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum. The Forum is an open discussion venue for legal issues common in public libraries such as patron privacy, challenges to both in-house and online content, patron behavior, copyright and licensing, other liability issues such as those related to maker spaces, and more. Recent cases and legislation affecting libraries can also be discussed. The Forum serves as a resource, a place where issues you may be facing can be vetted in a neutral space. The Forum draws upon the experience and knowledge of your peers, of those in attendance.
Held at future Midwinter and ALA Annual Conferences, the Forum is convened by Tomas A. Lipinski, Dean and Professor at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, author and co-author with Mary Minow and Gretchen McCord of numerous books and articles on various legal problems in libraries. Tom, like Mary and Gretchen, is both a librarian and a lawyer. The hope is to always have several lawyer librarians in attendance as well as seasoned library administrators.
Please note this Forum is intended to provide accurate information in regard to the subject matter covered. However it is not a place to obtain legal advice or other professional service. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.