Thursday, April 30, 2009

Privacy and Confidentiality in the University Libraries

In January our Penn State Faculty Senate received an informational report on "Privacy and Confidentiality in the University Libraries." It may be of general interest to readers of this blog. The report's introduction says, in part:
This report is presented as the result of a collaborative dialogue among the faculty, students, and Libraries’ professionals meeting as the Penn State Faculty Senate Committee on Libraries. Prompted by recent changes in national security laws and rapid developments in technology, we asked: What are the current policies and procedures protecting the privacy of library users? How, if at all, do new national security policies and technological developments present new problems for the protection of privacy, and how are the Libraries addressing these problems? How do the Libraries resolve cases in which privacy interests may be in potential conflict with each other, or with other interests? The current report is a first assessment of the policies of the Libraries, the regulatory and policy environment in which the Libraries operate, a glimpse of the new challenges the Libraries are dealing with in privacy protection, and a description of the training offered to all Libraries’ staff in how to protect the privacy of library users.

Penn State University, Faculty Senate, Committee on Libraries, informational report, "Privacy and Confidentiality in the University Libraries," January 2009.

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