Blogger Nina Lindsay

Take a Position on Youth Privacy

Teens huddled around computer

At ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board adopted an important position paper on The Library’s Role in Protecting Teen’s Privacy.  In a recent online board meeting, the ALSC Board of Directors formally endorsed this paper, pledging to work with existing ALSC committees to communicate to our members and other youth services library staff the knowledge and strategies to uphold the rights to privacy of those we serve.

The paper references guidelines released a full year ago from the FBI calling on secondary school personnel to facilitate “intervention activities” to disengage youth from at-risk behaviors that serve as “drivers of violent extremism,”  behaviors “ranging from using ‘unusual language’ or ‘private messaging apps’ … to playing online games outside of school.”   The new guidelines “also warn that young people who are poor, are immigrants, or talk about travel to “suspicious” countries are more likely to commit violence.” (from

YALSA calls all library staff to action, supplying a bulleted list of clear and actionable steps for library staff to take in order protect the privacy rights of teens.  Those of us who work most directly with children in libraries have a critical role to play in upholding youth privacy and the freedom of inquiry.  Please:

A link to YALSA’s position paper, as well as links to recent ALA statements denouncing FCC Lifeline revocations and affirming support for the NEA and NEH have been added to a new section at the end of our document ALSC Supporting Libraries in the Post-Election Environment.   Look for continuing updates to this document here from the ALSC Public Awareness Committee.

Photo from Allen County (IN) Public Library made available through Flikr Creative Commons License.

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