Monday, November 16, 2015

Library user's right to privacy

When libraries utilize social media whether it is to share information with patrons or patrons using social media in libraries, the issue of privacy arises. Harvard University (Parry, 2013) learned the hard way by randomly tweeting recent books that had been checked out by their students on Twitter. Each “tweeted” book did not enclose the identity of the student checking the book out, but it did raise concerns of an individual’s reading habit. This caused a concern that patron privacy was being violated, so the University stopped using Twitter for this purpose.

As ALA adopts many privacy practices, patron privacy plays a major role in securing intellectual freedom. ALA stresses that libraries must conduct regular library privacy audits.  Libraries should also gather very little information on library users (Lamdan, 2015). Based on Article III of the ALA’s Code of Ethics (2008), “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.” This is a rather hard task to do since new social media innovations cause a strain on library privacy ethics. We, as librarians, have an obligation to uphold to our users by making sure that their privacy is secure while using social media in our libraries. 

American Library Association. (2008). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

Parry, M. (2012). As libraries go digital, sharing of data conflicts with tradition of privacy. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 59(11), 14.

Lamdan, S. S. (2015). Social media privacy: A rallying cry to librarians. Library Quarterly, 85(3), 261-277. (n.d.). Privacy [Image]. Retrieved from

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