Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

November 2007

Document Type



Libraries are not doing all they should to protect users' privacy. Several sections of the USA PATRIOT Act potentially encroach on this privacy. To preserve intellectual freedom and the flow of information in a democratic society, libraries must adopt privacy policies that tell library users their rights and demonstrate the library's willingness to be held accountable for such protections. The current privacy policy at the Livingston Lord Library at Minnesota State University Moorhead does not take into consideration the various ramifications of the PATRIOT Act because the policy predated the Act by more than 20 years. An updated policy is a recommendation of this study. The study was conducted using research from two previously conducted surveys given to libraries regarding the PATRIOT Act as well as investigating and analyzing 30 library privacy policies posted on their academic library web sites. In developing this proposed privacy policy, guidelines and recommendations from the American Library Association were used whenever possible. Results indicate that while libraries and librarians think the right to privacy is important, librarians do not have the time, the understanding, or the means to involve themselves in a complete privacy audit of their library.