Privacy basics for staff

Hi gang,

This was recently posted to our Texas Library Association’s public libraries thread and thought we’d be the right group for the job! I can easily see this being part of the future LFP resources page. Does anyone already have something to help?

Does anyone have any good training materials or resources for training library staff on patron privacy?? I’m talking the basics of patron privacy, especially for support staff who aren’t necessarily versed in the core values of libraries.

Much of what I’ve found is more specific to digital privacy and security. I’m looking for training materials on things like why we won’t give out patron borrowing history to someone other than the cardholder, why we won’t call someone to tell them when their relative is seen in the library, why we require a court order to release patron records to the authorities, etc.

I know TLA has the A-Z training for support staff but the new series hasn’t started yet and I’m looking for something now.

Thanks in advance!!


Kelly Brouillard, MSSW, MLS
Adult Services Supervisor
Lewisville Public Library
1197 W. Main St. | Lewisville, TX 75067
972.219.3758 |


This list might be a good jumping off point:

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Cindy Fisher shared the presentation (plus notes) she and a colleague presented on behalf of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

Shared by Jeanie Garza, same thread:

Here are some links that on confidentiality that may help you in training staff:

King Library System

Protecting Library Patron Confidentiality: Checklist of Best Practices

Digital Privacy and Data Literacy Project (great digital curriculum that you can perhaps change out digital aspects to non-digital information?)

Library practices on the collection, use, disclosure, maintenance and protection of personally-identifiable information

Santa Clara City Library Privacy & Confidentiality Policy

Ohio Library Council (6 modules and video)

Confidentiality of Library Records

New Jersey Library Association

San Francisco Public Library

Powers Memorial Library

Basic guidance on formulating a strong privacy policy that will serve as the foundation for protecting users.

A Quick Reference Guide to Developing Library Policies and Procedures:


Why Privacy Matters:

ASD Confidentiality for Library Records:

Intellectual Freedom, Privacy, & Confidentiality in the Library: (includes handouts)

Introduction to Intellectual Freedom in the Library:

Maintaining Record Confidentiality:

Professional Ethics for Records and Information Professionals:

What is Freedom of Information Act:


Privacy@Your Library Part 1:

Explore two key areas of patron privacy: public access technology and the collection of patron data:

Jeanie Garza
Tech/Youth Services Literacy Librarian
Nueces County Public Libraries
Keach Family Library
1000 Terry Shamsie Blvd.
Robstown, Texas

Seeing all these resources is making me go cross-eyed! I wonder if there’s a role for us to aggregate some of this knowledge and information to make for a one-stop shop. Also, as we’re all embarking on our group projects we should be mindful that we don’t duplicate efforts as there is so much more work to be done.


Just to add another resource, here is one specific to NYC.

librarians love an uncurated link list! I went ahead and looked over what was there:

  1. The one TJ shared is a link list that appears to have been last updated in 2017. It mostly refers to ALA’s own resources which do not go into much depth.

  2. Cindy Fisher’s presentations look like they have some good stuff but it’s all quite long (I am a Cindy Fisher fan personally). So you might be able to take some ideas from here.

in general I think aggregated lists make people feel dizzy. in my opinion, we should have one or two LFP-created staff trainings that live on the website and not point back to all these others (unless we use their work, then we can cite them in the training).

  1. King Library link is a privacy policy

  2. ILA link is a privacy policy best practice doc from 2006 that uses tracking cookies on the site

  3. The Data Privacy Project had some decent stuff but their trainings don’t go into a lot of depth about what to do next. But you can get some ideas about explaining the problems from them (they also don’t talk about the problems politically).

  4. Cornell link is a privacy policy

  5. Santa Clara link is a privacy policy

  6. OLC link is…many modules about conducting a reference interview

  7. NJLA link is a privacy policy

  8. This SFPL link is about a data audit they did and it’s pretty good

  9. Powers link is a privacy policy

  10. The link is many many pages of text that appears to cobble together old resources of ALAs. The most recent citation in the bibliography is 2009. Most of the links are dead, including a few of their own (what is, and did it ever exist?!)

  11. U of Illinois link is about creating privacy policies, not staff training

  12. 101 level TED talk from Glenn Greenwald about why privacy matters. Might be useful for something.

  13. Couldn’t watch this ASD/teachertube video because the ads that kept popping up were too distracting

  14. Another pretty dated video mostly talking about banned books

  15. says I must create an account to continue watching

  16. More records management from SJSU

  17. Wildcard FOIA tutorial from Not sure what this has to do with patron privacy!

  18. Another webinar that’s 7 years old

  19. Hey! This is a good one! It’s two of my pals, Bill Budington at EFF and Chuck McAndrew at Lebanon Libraries. I am pretty sure I’m the one who connected them to do this!

  20. I know some of the people who worked on but I haven’t had a chance to review their curriculum in depth.


so my overall response to that link list is that most of it is trash, and I would look over the good stuff and see how it helps you create an updated staff training.


Thank you for going through that! “Privacy” is such an all-encompassing word, it calls for some sub-categorization.

Also, how quickly an uncurated list of links can go bad… 2017 was like 25 years ago or something.

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Thanks for reviewing the resources! Truly appreciate that.