Why Privacy?

Librarians feel a professional responsibility to protect the right to search for information free from surveillance.

Privacy has long been the cornerstone of library services in America.

Why? Because the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy. Librarians defend that freedom every day.

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.

Article III,  American Library Association Code of Ethics

Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association.

Privacy: an Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Lack of privacy and confidentiality chills users’ choices, thereby suppressing access to ideas. The possibility of surveillance, whether direct or through access to records of speech, research and exploration, undermines a democratic society.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Libraries are information hubs for their communities. They are also natural centers for learning and talking about information issues… including privacy.

Choose Privacy Week takes place May 1-7 and is an ongoing program of the American Library Association.

Choose Privacy Week is the American Library Association’s annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians’ unique role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole. The initiative encourages libraries to be champions of privacy rights in the digital age and highlights ways libraries can protect the privacy of their patrons and educate persons to think critically and make informed choices about their privacy.

The American Library Association (ALA) has developed this website as a clearinghouse for resources to improve privacy practices and programs to spark thought and discussion around privacy issues today.  We hope you will explore this site to learn more about what your library can do to become a privacy champion in your community, we have tools that can help!