Library Patrons' Privacy
Questions and Answers
by Sandra J. Valenti, Brady D. Lund, and Matthew A. Beckstrom
January 2022, 152pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-7410-9
$70, £54, 61€, A96
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7411-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A great resource for busy library professionals to keep up with the patron privacy crises and questions they frequently face.

A quick, easy-to-read synthesis of theory, guidelines, and evidence-based research, this book offers timely, practical guidance for library and information professionals who must navigate ethical crises in information privacy and stay on top of emerging privacy trends.

Emerging technologies create new concerns about information privacy within library and information organizations, and many information professionals lack guidance on how to navigate the ethical crises that emerge when information privacy and library policy clash. What should we do when a patron leaves something behind? How do we justify filtering internet access while respecting accessibility and privacy? How do we balance new technologies that provide anonymity with the library’s need to prevent the illegal use of their facilities?

Library Patrons’ Privacy presents clear, conversational, evidence-based guidance on how to navigate these ethical questions in information privacy. Ideas from professional organizations, government entities, scholarly publications, and personal experiences are synthesized into an approachable guide for librarians at all stages of their career. This guide, designed by three experienced LIS scholars and professionals, is a quick and enjoyable read that students and professionals of all levels of technical knowledge and skill will find useful and applicable to their libraries.


  • Presents practical, evidence-based guidance for navigating common ethical problems in library and information science
  • Introduces library and information professionals and students to emerging issues in information privacy
  • Provides students and practitioners with a foundation of practical problem-solving strategies for handling information privacy issues in emerging technologies
  • Guides the design of new information privacy policy in all types of libraries
  • Encourages engagement with information privacy technologies to assist in fulfilling the American Library Association's core values
Sandra J. Valenti is assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, where she earned her PhD in library and information science and a master’s degree in instructional design and technology. Her current interests include virtual communities of practice, the ACRL roles and strengths and how libraries use them for information literacy instruction, and the preparation of librarians for their upcoming professional roles.

Brady D. Lund is a doctoral student at Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management. He is coauthor, along with Matt Beckstrom, of the 2019 book Casting Light on the Dark Web: A Guide for Safe Exploration. He has authored several peer-reviewed journal articles on the topics of information technology and information privacy and is a regular presenter on these topics at regional and national conferences.

Matthew A. Beckstrom is systems manager/librarian at the Lewis and Clark Library in Helena, MT. Beckstrom also teaches management and technology courses at the University of Montana–Helena College. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from Montana State University Billings and graduated with his master of information science in information systems degree from the University of North Texas. He has written and contributed to several books on privacy, security, and the internet. He is also a frequent presenter at conferences on a variety of topics including technology, security, and privacy. For more information, visit


"A superb starting point that emphasizes the importance of library policies while simultaneously showing that policies cannot render the final solution when privacy issues arise."—Library Journal, April 1, 2022

"Library employees involved in the planning, implementation, support, and evaluation of measures to protect patrons' privacy and confidentiality will find this resource particularly useful."—Technical Services Quarterly, January 1, 2023

"An excellent introduction to patron privacy issues with current and emerging technologies and how all types of libraries can address them. I enjoyed the case study approach of each chapter, which identifies the key aspects and questions to ask in each privacy situation. The authors give library staff the tools they need to proactively protect their patrons’ privacy by learning from the experiences, research, and policy implementations of other librarians."—John J. Burke, Library Director and Principal Librarian, Miami University Regionals
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