I believe that the U.S. the public library is the only institution that embodies – and manifests -- every day – the principles of the U.S. Constitution, namely, Freedom of Speech. Specifically for libraries, this takes the form of INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM and PRIVACY RIGHTS. There is a third area that is equally important, that I feel that I must mention, and that is EQUITY of ACCESS – the idea that everyone, no matter your sex, race or income, are entitled to access to the same information, to the same education, and the same chance as success. And these are all related, of course. I believe that these are the principles that make me this profession exciting and which make me proud to be a part of it. The U.S. was created with these fundamental freedoms in mind. Yet, in our country we are in an internal struggle over these basic principles.
In 1939, the ALA developed its first Library Bill of Rights, which “affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.”The First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly, also implicitly safeguards the right to privacy in the form of freedom of thought and intellect. In recent years, several federal courts have found that the First Amendment protects the right to receive information in a publicly funded library.ALA strongly encourages libraries to develop strong policies of their own, to help guide their services and deal with difficulty as it arises.
The right to privacy is an intrinsic American value. Although the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly reference the word "privacy," the Supreme Court has nonetheless inferred a right to privacy from various portions of the Bill of Rights and the common law.The most obvious protection of privacy in the Bill of Rights is the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals "in their persons, homes, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures" by the government.For libraries, it as simple as another famous U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once said: “people do not have the freedom to read if the government is looking over their shoulder.” Which is what is happening if the government knows what you are reading. Libraries in the US have a history with the issue of privacy. The USA PATRIOT Act was the most recent example, where the government enacted a law that made it legal for them to go through library records – on what many called “fishing expeditions” with the alleged intent of finding terrorists.
It is true that there have always been people in our country that believe they know what is best for the rest of us – do you have that problem in your country? But in addition to those voices, there are factors right now that are making it more difficult in the U.S – and maybe you have these problems too. Political climate. The U.S. is so polarized now between the two parties. War and the threat of terrorism – we are struggling to balance freedoms and security. Difficult economy is bring on anxieties – about unemployment; about all the changes in one’s home and community as a result. This anxiety leads to desire to hold on to traditional values. This desire to hold on to traditional values leads to shrinking of new ideas and reluctance to consider new ideas. The media! – It magnifies all disasters and dangers and can take them out of context. It creates fear; it over-Simplifies messages and complex ideas. It creates an environment where those voices are apt to get more attention There is a climate of fear. (I think there is an industry of fear, as well…where we are sold the illusion of safety at the cost of our privacy.)It’s fascinating and ironic that the government mandates some invasions of privacy like airport scanners and biometrics – to “protect” us from danger….
And then in other cases, we freely give away our personal information, like with Facebook and social media. Or supermarket discount cards. Where else do you divulge your personal information? Your job? Your health clinic? Do you have a national ID? Do you order merchandise online?We couch this as convenience; a way to stay connected. But the truth is that information is being bought and sold.
You may have been sitting here wondering what this has to do with libraries.The problem is that these factors do is create an environment where giving away personal, private information is becoming the norm. We need to think about the data we collect from our users—the titles of books they check out; the questions they ask a reference librarian may reveal personal information; and other privacy threats. Libraries can be a part of this incremental chipping away at personal privacy—or we can decide to be protective of reader privacy. Libraries have a unique opportunity to protect reader privacy—and, at the same time, to model good privacy practices internally. Again, we encourage our libraries to create policies to address these issues.
What can we do about these issues? One thing the American Library Assn. can promote and ask its member libraries to do is outreach…. To do what libraries do best – to educate! To teach people in communities about their privacy rights; and how libraries are working for their privacy; that circulation information is kept confidential and to perpetuate the idea that libraries are safe and trustworthy places. AL A’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has instituted a new initiative called the Privacy Revolution. You can learn about it at this website… An event called Choose Privacy Week happens next month. This is an image of the most popular poster which says: “I Am Not An Open Book. I Decide Who Sees What.” Incidentally, we believe in having social media in libraries. We think that it’s better to teach children how to use social media well – how to make right choices about privacy – somewhere their parents can also learn-- then have them doing somewhere else like an internet café.
Censorship. One of the things that happens in hard times is that books get removed from shelves. With all these other pressing issues, people have less time -- or less interest -- to devote to these principles. Author Lauren Myracle is the most censored author in 2011, according to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “TTYL” is the American text abbreviation for “talk to you later” como …. Adios or a manana. It was selected because of sexual explicitness. Because it’s written much in the shorthand of text and social media, there is a concern that the format is eroding the standards of the English Language.
This was one of the top banned books of 2010. This Is based on a true story – a mother penguin laid an egg in the Central Park Zoo in New York. For whatever reason, the mother ignored the egg. So, two male penguins in the zoo decided to take care of it. They sat on the egg until it hatched. The zoo named the baby penguin Tango… and these two male penguins continued to care for it and raise it. Many felt that this book promoted the gay lifestyle and that it confuses small children about their sexual identity.
The worst example is actual book burnings. This is a burning of the Harry Potter novel in New Mexico in 2001. Obviously, Harry Potter is thought of as Satanic because of all the witchcraft, sorcery and magic. It’s shocking. Even to me. The question is – is the US worse than other countries when it comes to censorship? One factor is scale – we publish a lot of books, libraries carry large collections, and therefore you are more likely to find books that will offend. – We don’t self-censor. Another factor is transparency – we are ashamed of that in our country, censorship and especially book burning, exists. So we make sure that people know about it – that the press finds out .
Again, what we at the ALA do is provide mechanism for outreach. Every year we hold a “Banned Books Week” initiative which brings censorship and book burnings into the media spotlight. It’s one of the most popular events that ALA does, and we work with booksellers, as well. The Intellectual Freedom Manual, with a brand new 8th edition, contains all the privacy policies ALA has written over the years. They are also available on the above web site.
Privacidad y libertad intelectual en tiempos difíciles
Libertad intelectual y privacidaden tiempos difíciles
¿Qué es la libertad intelectual para lasbibliotecas?“Las bibliotecas deben enfrentar la censura en cumplimientode su responsabilidad de proveer información e instrucción” —Artículo 3, Declaración de Derechos de las Bibliotecas Una aproximación a la profesión bibliotecaria basada en principios: Declaración de Derechos de las Bibliotecas Código de ética Políticas escritas Compromiso con la educación para todos Compromiso con el acceso a la información de todo tipo y de todos los puntos de vista
¿Qué son la privacidad y laconfidencialidad para las bibliotecas?Sin seguridad sobre su privacidad, los usuarios nose beneficiarán de la gama completa deinformación y servicios que las bibliotecas tienenpara ofrecer. “El derecho a no ser molestado —el más amplio de los derechos, y el derecho más valorado por un pueblo libre.” Louis Brandeis , Juez de la Suprema Corte de EE.UU., 1928.
Factores que afectan la libertadintelectual y la privacidad • Clima político • Crisis: guerra • Dificultades económicas • Noticias 24/7 • Simplificación excesiva de las noticias Escaneo Medidas biométricas
Factores que afectan la libertadintelectual y la privacidad Redes sociales Tarjetas de descuento en supermercados
El impacto en lasbibliotecas: Privacidad• ¿Quién tiene acceso a los registros de circulación?• ¿Sabe alguien lo que le pregunto a un referencista?• How are hold shelf books arranged?• ¿Cuál es la política de privacidad del sistema de préstamo RFID?• ¿Un bibliotecario monitorea mi actividad en Internet?Las bibliotecas pueden modelar un buen comportamientoorganizacional a través de: Políticas escritas Avisos de privacidad para los usuarios Requerimientos de privacidad escritos en llamados a licitación/pedidos de cotización Una auditoría de privacidad organizacional
¿Qué pueden hacer lasbibliotecas? Choose Privacy Week May 1-7, 2012 www.privacyrevolution.org
El impacto en lasbibliotecas: censurattyl, by Lauren Myracle
El impacto en las bibliotecas:CensuraAnd Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson
Quema de libros Miembros de la Iglesia de la Comunidad de Cristo disfrutan de una quema de libros a la vieja usanza
¿Qué pueden hacer las bibliotecas?Semana de los Libros Censurados, Sept 30-Oct. 6, 2012 http:// www.bannedbooksweek.org www.ifmanual.org
Para más información: Visite www.ala.org Marci Merola, Director, ALA Office for Library Advocacy: email@example.com Barbara Jones, Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom: firstname.lastname@example.org