Elisa Rodrigues (left) and Anders Lyon Photo: Hanna Byrd Little

What Types of Technology Should Librarians Scrutinize?

January 25, 2020

The session, part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Philadelphia on January 25, included both a presentation and a large-group discussion. The first significant item discussed was privacy. The presenters called attention to the seventh article of the ALA Bill of Rights: “All people, regardless of origin, … Continue reading What Types of Technology Should Librarians Scrutinize?


2019 Year in Review

2019 Year in Review

January 2, 2020

Macmillan Ebook Policy Draws Fire Macmillan Publishers announced a policy preventing libraries from purchasing more than one copy of a new ebook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. In protest, American Library Association (ALA) launched the #eBooksForAll petition, which by November 27 had garnered more than 216,000 signatures. Said ALA President … Continue reading 2019 Year in Review


Photo: Man holding a video camera in the library

Free Speech—or Free-for-All?

January 2, 2020

The call represented a trend unfolding in public facilities across the country: individuals who arm themselves with video cameras, proclaim themselves First Amendment auditors, and enter police precincts, post offices, libraries, and other spaces under the auspices of the First Amendment right to free speech in order to record staff violations. The Connecticut caller was … Continue reading Free Speech—or Free-for-All?


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Personalization vs. Privacy

November 1, 2019

Commercial websites aim to capture as much personal data as possible. This data powers a global advertising ecosystem designed to strengthen retail sales through finely targeted ad placement. To manage websites and internet technologies in ways that reflect their values, libraries invariably must make difficult choices and compromises. While they may not be able to … Continue reading Personalization vs. Privacy


Dewey Decibel Podcast: Beyond Our Borders

August 30, 2019

First, American Libraries Senior Editor George Eberhart speaks with Nigerian-American science-fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death and The Book of Phoenix) about how her heritage influences her work. Then, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Jonathon Hodge, digital literacy service lead at Toronto Public Library, and Mark Williams, chief librarian … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Beyond Our Borders



A Library Privacy Primer

June 24, 2019

With her colleague Kathleen Ross, head of technical services at St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library, Greco presented “Library Confidentiality: Your Privacy is Our Business,” a comprehensive primer on privacy and libraries, at the American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. In the first of many audience engagement moments, Ross and … Continue reading A Library Privacy Primer


Data Collection and Privacy

September 4, 2018

It’s an example of learning analytics, the use of data to understand and optimize learning and learning environments. The general concept isn’t new—the university’s announcement noted that student retention has been studied for more than 30 years—but the amount of data that is easy to generate with card swipes has exploded in recent years. And … Continue reading Data Collection and Privacy


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

We Can, But Should We?

March 1, 2018

In K–12 and academic libraries, this is becoming increasingly possible with learning analytics systems that aggregate student data to make trends visible. The systems also allow advisors, instructors, and other stakeholders to use the trend data to identify a student at risk based on specific characteristics or behaviors. They allow educators to intervene, often before … Continue reading We Can, But Should We?


Legal Issues

February 11, 2018

These were some of the questions addressed at the “Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum” at the American Library Association’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits on Sunday. The session, sponsored by the Public Library Association, brought together lawyers and librarians for a frank, casual conversation on some of the most contentious issues popping up at … Continue reading Legal Issues



The Future of Data Privacy

February 10, 2018

Some corporations, Ayala said, are laboriously setting up two different privacy systems, one for Europe and another for the US. However, the major players are unifying their rules to comply with the GDPR, “which is an indicator that European trends are starting to become global trends. Facebook and Google just rolled out new privacy centers … Continue reading The Future of Data Privacy