Event: Emerging Privacy and Ethical Challenges for Libraries in the 2.0 Era

From May 2 through May 8, 2010, libraries across the nation will celebrate Choose Privacy Week for the first time. This American Library Association campaign invites library professionals, users, and friends into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age. The UWM School of Information Studies and UWM Libraries have joined together to provide a venue for local librarians, information professionals, and patrons to discuss the emerging privacy and ethical challenges for libraries in the new “2.0” era, titled:

Emerging Privacy and Ethical Challenges for Libraries in the 2.0 Era

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Golda Meir Library, West Wing, 4th Floor Conference Center
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Free and open to the public

Topics to be discussed include:

  • What innovative online tools and services are libraries bringing to users, and what are the potential impacts on patron privacy?
  • Are there privacy considerations for providing or controlling access to digital collections?
  • How do current laws & policies protect patron privacy, and are any changes coming?
  • What are the broader ethical responsibilities for librarians and information professions in the libraries of the future?

Featured panelists:

The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

To complement the panel discussion, the UWM Libraries is also holding two days of hands-on workshops to help students learn about their privacy options on Facebook and related social media platforms.

[Facebook event page] [Promotional flier]

UPDATE: Video of the event can be viewed here.


  1. Given the ALA’s recent public document “Librarianship and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Nurturing Understanding and Respect” (http://wo.ala.org/tce/) will the panel also be discussing the differences between conceptions of privacy cross-culturally? the legacies of Enlightenment notions of privacy on collecting institutions current policies? the effects of the emphasis on privacy (tacitly assumed to mean individual privacy) for group or communal concerns?

  2. Thanks for pointing this out, Kim. Clearly, different cultures have different conceptions of values & rights, including privacy. Unfortunately, that discussion is beyond the scope of this panel, and we’ll be focusing (largely) on the U.S. legal and conceptual environment.

    But I’m working on similar projects focusing on the intercultural challenges of information ethics, especially in the African context. I’ll post more on that soon, but there’s some helpful information at the International Center for Information Ethics, as well as the African Information Ethics portal.

  3. Michael,
    Thanks, although I think this is exactly a US and legal issue. While I applaud the panel’s efforts, the fact is, the “US legal and conceptual environment” does, in fact, contain these issues, but marginalizes them.

    I actually was writing a blog post about this anyway when I came across this so I’ve responded more fully there (http://www.kimberlychristen.com/?p=885)

  4. Hi Kim,

    When I read your mention of “cross-culturally”, I (incorrectly) presumed you meant different global cultures.

    Reading your later comment and blog post, you’ll be happy to know I’m in complete agreement about the fact that there isn’t a singular conception of privacy within the U.S., whether among scholars or users. (Although U.S. law/regulation tends to have a singular — and flawed — conception of privacy).

    I hope that if you read through my blog, you’d discover that I’m one of the loudest adherents to the contextual nature of privacy: it means different things to different people in different contexts.

    I look forward to following your blog…


  5. Hi Kim
    I’m quite interested in your work, non western conceptions of ownership and cultural privacy etc. regard to digital cultural projects, so I’ll be sure to refer to your blog post (and other related work) in my part of the talk. My part focuses on privacy and digitization. If you have any other suggestions for “must includes” let me know.


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