Librarians: Please contribute to a new survey about librarians and privacy

With generous support from the Open Society Foundation, I’ve been working with the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom to help assess privacy attitudes and practices of librarians and related information professionals, and we just launched our first survey for librarians. Press release is below, and I hope anyone working in a library setting reading my blog can take 15 minutes to share your opinions.

ALA conducting new survey about librarians and privacy

For Immediate Release
Tue, 12/13/2011 – 15:50

Contact: Barbara Jones
Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)

CHICAGO – The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is inviting librarians and library workers across the country to participate in a survey that will measure librarians’ attitudes about privacy rights and protecting library users’ privacy.

The survey is available online, and takes only 15 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous and confidential:

The survey, which builds on an earlier 2008 survey assessing librarians’ attitudes about privacy both within and outside of the library, will provide important data that will help ALA assess the state of privacy in the United States and help guide OIF’s planning for “Privacy for All,” ALA’s ongoing campaign to engage librarians in public education and advocacy to advance privacy rights.  The survey will be available until March 1, 2012.

The study is funded by a generous grant from the Open Society Institute and is managed by Dr. Michael Zimmer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies and co-director of its Center for Information Policy Research.

Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, encouraged all librarians and library workers to take the survey.  “After three successful years working on Choose Privacy Week and related educational programs, it is essential that we test our assumptions for the remaining years of the grant,” she said.  “We want ‘Privacy for All’ to create models for programming and services that librarians can use for various constituencies and community groups.  We can’t do that without your opinions.”

The “Privacy for All” initiative features Choose Privacy Week, an annual event that encourages libraries and librarians to engage library users in a conversation about privacy; and a website,, that provides access to privacy-related news, information and programming resources.  In 2011 – 2012, “Privacy for All” and Choose Privacy Week will be focused on the topic of government surveillance, with an emphasis on immigrant and refugee communities’ use of libraries and youth attitudes about privacy.

Visit to learn more about Choose Privacy Week and the resources available to help libraries engage their users in a conversation on privacy.

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