Choose Privacy Every Day!

Annually the American Library Association (ALA) observes Choose Privacy Week from May 1-7. With increasing threats to personal and library user privacy, highlighting privacy once a year is insufficient. Recently the ALA rebranded its “Choose Privacy Week” website to “Choose Privacy Every Day.” To learn more about the change, I interviewed Bill Marden, Director of Data Privacy and Compliance for New York Public Library and past chair of the ALA Privacy Subcommittee.

What prompted the change to the new “Choose Privacy Every Day” focus?

Bill Marden: The initial creation of a website for ALA’s annual Choose Privacy Week in 2010 was intended primarily to highlight that one-week program, sponsored by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Privacy Subcommittee. In the eight years since, the site has developed and grown to become a central resource for news, links, and various privacy resources. Since 2010, the technology landscape has vastly changed, completely transformed by the explosion of mobile phones and other devices, the Internet of Things, big-data collection and its associated analytics, and the ever-growing presence of social media.

All of this has increased the need for librarians to have accurate, authoritative, and up-to-date information about issues related to privacy and information security in order to help their patrons. The public wants to know how to navigate this increasingly complex world, and librarians serve as a frontline resource to answer these questions.

There was a clear need to have a central, go-to website within the library world for such information, and the already-existing site seemed the ideal choice.

The renaming of the site—from to—is simply the first step in raising the site’s profile and emphasizing its year-round importance in providing privacy and data security information to libraries and librarians everywhere.

How will the new name change the website’s content?

Bill Marden: The site’s new name connotes a “one-stop” reference tool for librarians, with a growing set of resources that librarians can go to for answering patron questions. For instance, the “Resources” section will expand to showcase various tools, applications, and other aids to protect user privacy. There will also be newer and up-to-date guidelines and checklists for libraries to use for vendor agreements, ever-newer technologies, as well as an enhanced section devoted to students and minors.

Describe the additional changes that will occur on the website.

Bill Marden:

  • There will be a forthcoming privacy-training curriculum—courtesy of Data & Society Institute—that will be made available on the website.
  • Plans are in the works for a new layout and architecture that will guide users to specific content.
  • The site will continue to broaden its reach to an ever-larger audience, beyond just the library community.

What can you tell me about the forthcoming privacy-training curriculum from the Data & Society Institute? Will it be useful to school librarians?

Bill Marden: The Data & Society Research Institute created the ground-breaking “Data Privacy & Data Literacy” project for librarians in 2016. It is currently used by the Brooklyn Public Library and will soon serve as the basis for a new librarian training program throughout New York City’s three main library systems. will feature the full content of Data & Society’s training program, making the curriculum, modules and materials easily available to libraries and librarians throughout the U.S.

Because privacy and data security are especially important in the K-12 school environment, this training program will help answer everyday questions that parents, students, and teachers are most likely to ask; questions such as: “What is a strong password?” “What are privacy settings?” “How do websites know where I am?” “How do I know if a website is secure?” “How do I know what information I am supposed to provide online when filling out forms?” etc.  Watch for the curriculum to appear in fall 2018.

For more info, see:

Other Privacy Website Useful Resources for School Librarians

The Choose Privacy Every Day website will continue to undergo changes with the addition of new resources and weekly privacy news. In April 2019, watch for information about the May 2019 Choose Privacy Week activities.


Marden, Bill. Email message to author, July 11, 2018.


Choose Privacy Every Day and Choose Privacy Week images used with permission from the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.


Author: Helen Adams

A former school librarian in Wisconsin, Helen Adams is an online senior lecturer for Antioch University-Seattle in the areas of intellectual freedom, privacy, library ethics, and copyright. A member of the AASL Knowledge Quest Advisory Board, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, and a KQ blogger, she is the author of Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2013) and contributor to The Many Faces of School Library Leadership (2nd edition, Libraries Unlimited, 2017). Email:

Categories: Blog Topics, Intellectual Freedom

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