The Importance Of Privacy In Public Libraries

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Introduction The concepts of intellectual freedom and privacy are interwoven in public libraries and the information services they provide. Library users cannot take advantage of their intellectual freedom when their interests and other personal information is potentially being tracked and monitored. Recent confidentiality and privacy legislation has impacted the development, delivery, and management of information services. Because of these impacts, libraries may have to find compromise between offering the most valuable services possible while prioritizing users' privacy in order to survive in an age of digital technology and exposure.
Confidentiality and Privacy Legislation Public libraries have had a long history of defending the privacy rights of library users, especially from government agencies. There have been numerous attempts of government agencies to obtain users' library information (Bowers,
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The majority of information service tools are purchased through vendors (Pekala, 2017, p. 49). They have become a significant part of libraries, especially in the digital age, and almost every information service system or tool is now provided through a vendor. Magi (2010, p. 267) found that "the privacy policies of major vendors...fail to express a commitment to many of the standards articulated by the librarian profession and information technology industry for the handling and protection of user information." This is significant and illustrates how library users' information and privacy could easily be at risk. Libraries may not offer sufficient user information to government agencies, but those agencies can still access it through library vendors. Public libraries manage information services by holding vendors to a higher privacy standard and not purchasing their tools when their privacy policies are

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