Monday, August 27, 2007

Policies - doubleplusgood practices

The Duncan Banner in Duncan, OK, has a story about their public library's efforts to set a privacy policy. In these time of rapidly changing technology and federal law, privacy can be uncertain. Last week I got an email solicitation from a security firm selling a special report on the serious security and privacy threat known as "Web 2.0." Not only the USA PATRIOT Act but Library 2.0 reinforce the need to have our houses in order and our library boards standing behind us.

Thus it was interesting to read in the Duncan Banner:

Privacy is an important concept, and for Duncan Public Library, this concept could become a necessity.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, members of Duncan Public Library Board discussed the possibility of instituting a patron privacy policy. While no action was taken on the item, members talked about the importance of privacy to the library patrons.

Library Director Ann Brown said, “I noticed we didn’t have a policy in place. I don’t think we’ll ever have problems with it.”

Brown said she had been reading about privacy in libraries and thought the board might want to create a policy for the library.

“I’ve just been reading a lot of about this,” she said.

During the meeting, members looked at several library privacy policies from around the country. The policies came from places including the New Jersey Library Association, the Boston Public Library in Massachusetts, and the Appleton Public Library in Wisconsin.
Of course, all our policies are published on our website; we've several times heard from other libraries asking permission to copy or adapt our policies. While our policies are imperfect and keeping them up-to-date is an ongoing challenge, this speaks well for our staff and board, and the good effort that goes into policy maintenance.

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