Teen participants in Boston Public Library’s “Drag vs. AI” program test their makeup and props against facial recognition software. (Photo: Kathy Pham/American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts)

Dragging AI

September 1, 2020

In November 2019, Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Teen Central hosted a digital privacy instruction workshop for teens that centered on facial recognition technology. Titled “Drag vs. AI,” the workshop partnered BPL with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU-MA) and Joy “Poet of Code” Buolamwini, artificial intelligence (AI) scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology … Continue reading Dragging AI




Libby the Librarian greets students at University of Pretoria Libraries in South Africa. Photo: Mariki Uitenweerde/University of Pretoria in South Africa

What the Future Holds

June 1, 2020

Here we offer insights and predictions from five library thinkers who shared their perspectives at the Symposium on the Future of Libraries during the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2020 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. From core values such as privacy and sustainability to more novel innovations such as the use of robots, we explore what the … Continue reading What the Future Holds



Dewey Decibel: Privacy Concerns

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Privacy Concerns

May 15, 2020

First, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Becky Yoose, a library data privacy consultant with LDH Consulting Services, about Zoombombing—what it is, who it targets, and how to stop it. Next, Morehart talks with Peter McCracken, electronic resources librarian at Cornell University, about a privacy-services program instituted by the … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Privacy Concerns



Marshall Breeding at the podium with (left to right) Victoria Blackmer, Alison Macrina, and Elisandro Cabada

Top Tech Trends Focus on Privacy

January 26, 2020

Moderator Ida Joiner, senior librarian at the Universal Academy School in Irving, Texas, was joined by panelists Victoria Blackmer, assistant director of Robert R. Jones Public Library in Coal Valley, Illinois;  Marshall Breeding, independent library consultant; Elisandro Cabada, medical and bioengineering librarian at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Alison Macrina, founder and executive director … Continue reading Top Tech Trends Focus on Privacy


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