Protecting Library Patron Privacy 


Protecting Library Patron Privacy 

One of the main reasons that communities place so much trust in public libraries is the privacy and confidentiality provided to everyone who uses their services. Patron privacy is fundamental to the operation of all Traverse Area District Library locations, and it’s a sacred trust among our library staff.

In our June newsletter, we shared an update about the many digital services and resources available to resident card holders within the TADL district, including plans to add a new database – LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com. This resource offers online courses primarily for software, business and creative topics taught by experts in their fields. However, LinkedIn is creating new rules for library user access to LinkedIn Learning.

During our preliminary planning process, TADL staff discovered that in order to access LinkedIn Learning courses, our patrons must create a LinkedIn account with their name, email address, and library card information. By using this method to authenticate library user access, LinkedIn’s terms of service require users to share personally identifying information to access a library resource. Many libraries across the United States, including TADL, are now protesting these changes in protocol and some are even cancelling their subscriptions.

According to the Library Bill of Rights, which outlines our professional ethics, we strive for the following:

“All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.”

Hopefully, LinkedIn Learning will modify its policy to respect the privacy of library users. Until then, the Traverse Area District Library will not contract with LinkedIn Learning until this practice is changed, and we can promise your information and privacy are protected.

Gail Parsons Juett
Library Director