Marketing for Libraries Logo

Privacy and Confidentiality

Learning Objectives
• Define privacy, identify privacy issues related to user data records, and discuss the need for confidentiality in libraries.
• Identify ways the library can protect library user privacy.
• Discuss the impact of the USA PATRIOT act on libraries.

Privacy involves freedom from unauthorized intrusion.

Privacy in a library setting involves the right of users to seclude themselves and their information from public view.

Privacy and the ALA Code of Ethics

Privacy in important in the library and information science profession. ALA’s Code of Ethics states

“We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.”

Privacy and Confidentiality

confidentialityLibraries respect and protect the privacy of user information related to resources consulted, borrowed, or shared.

Users have the right to access information without having the subject of interest scrutinized by others.

Confidentiality involves keeping personally identifiable information about users private. It is the library’s responsibility to keep user data private.

The library should limit data that is directly connected to individuals.

Privacy and Youth

Providing privacy includes limiting the information that is required on forms.

Arrange computers so others can’t see the display to maintain privacy.

Working with youth is a special case. In a public library, parents assume responsibility, however in a school setting the library assumes more control.

teens

Privacy and the Law

Individuals may seek information to embarrass a competitor. Law enforcement might seek evidence in a criminal investigation. However state laws generally protect confidentiality of information.

The USA PATRIOT act overrides many confidentiality laws. Federal agents can obtain a warrant for library records without probable cause.

Try It!
Browse the Liberty, Privacy & Surveillance page from ALA.

Choose Privacy Week focuses on helping libraries create community awareness about the use of monitoring and tracking tools.

Conclusion

Privacy in a library setting involves the right of users to seclude themselves and their information from public view.

Confidentiality involves keeping personally identifiable information about users private. It is the library’s responsibility to keep user data private.

The USA PATRIOT act overrides many confidentiality laws. Federal agents can obtain a warrant for library records without probable cause.

 


| eduscapes | IUPUI Online Courses | Contact Us | 2014 Annette Lamb (Adapted from earlier s401 materials)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.