Happy Choose Privacy Week!

It's Choose Privacy Week! As a librarian, and particularly as one very concerned with information access ethics, I'm a huge fan of your right to privacy. I want you to know that your privacy matters. I want you to be able to get the information you need to grow as a person and to be a better citizen of the global community - and I want to keep your personal information safe while doing it. No one should be able to track you or your information (or record your information needs and requests) without your express and informed consent. Here are some great tips on keeping safe on public computers. I also recommend using private settings on your Internet browser, using Ghostery, and protecting your wifi connection.

Privacy isn't all online, of course. Be careful what information you share, generally. Never let someone else use your library card, unless you are really prepared to pay their overdue or lost item fines. I can't tell you how many people let a sister or cousin or best friends check out items and then become angry with me when they owe late fees. Similarly, if you lose your library card, remember that you are responsible for whatever activity happens on it. Believe it or not, I often get frantic calls from patrons who suddenly find out that they owe hundreds of dollars for items checked out on cards they lost years ago. They never reported and deactivated the cards, though, because - well, it's a library card. Yep - and library cards come with financial responsibilities. Your library card number is a lot like your credit card number - if you share it or otherwise treat it lightly, you may end up paying for it in hard cash. Or a check - we take checks.

So, go check your wallets and make sure you haven't lost your library card. Then reset your wifi password, install Ghostery, and rest secure in the knowledge that librarians are working hard to protect your personal information while providing access to the public information you need.

Even while the government plots to invade your privacy further.


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