February 25, 2018

Privacy Highlighted in Resolution, Hearing

By LJ Staff

Under the title “Reaffirming the Principles of Intellectual Freedom in the
Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks,” the American Library Association (ALA) Council
in New Orleans passed a resolution, “Encourag[ing] libraries and their staff to
protect the privacy and confidentiality of the people’s lawful use of the
library, its equipment, and its resources.” The Intellectual Freedom Committee
(IFC) took a somewhat harder line in its “Privacy: An Interpretation of the
Library Bill of Rights.” The IFC draft asserts strong protection for library
users and librarians’ responsibility to protect confidentiality. Because the
document is general, the committee plans to issue a secondary document to give
guidance on specific situations. Some attendees at the IFC hearing suggested
that the guidance acknowledge that librarians protect privacy within applicable
laws. And it was also pointed out that ALA should be more explicit in its
privacy policies. A new draft of the IFC document will be issued in the spring,
and it is expected to be brought before Council at the Annual Conference in