The Distance Between Our Values and Actions: We Can’t Be Passive When it Comes to Privacy
Keywords:library patron privacy, library user confidentiality, Connecticut librarians Patriot Act, library third-party trackers, library database privacy, learning analytics privacy, library analytics privacy, patron consent private information
In September 2021, the WOC+Lib collective published a searing "Statement Against White Appropriation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color's Labor (BIPOC)," decrying the exploitation and abuse of BIPOC library workers. One of the many hypocrisies the group took issue with was:the proliferation of anti-racism statements put out by information institutions and organizations in 2020 without also taking on actions addressing the lack of Black, Indigenous, or People of Color workers or how the BIPOC within those very libraries and organizations have been ostracised and disrespected for years prior to 2020, while allowing the mistreatment to continue. (WOC+Lib, 2021)
In the midst of the international uprisings for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd, many libraries put out antiracist statements affirming their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Yet in a recent survey of library directors, only 31 percent of academic library directors agreed that their “library has well-developed equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility strategies for employees" (Frederick and Wolff-Eisenberg, 2021, p. 10). The lack of progress made in these areas suggests that while diversity may be a library value, dismantling systems of oppression to improve DEI is not a top priority at most institutions.