With the ever accelerating beat of technological change, expectations around online privacy have shifted while, at the same time, increasing the need for all technology users to develop some level of proficiency in safeguarding digital privacy. As curators of information in all formats, librarians are well-versed in digital tools and well-positioned to assist patrons in their efforts to keep online information secure and private.

One of the ways libraries transform is by innovating along larger societal trends or the shifting needs and interests of patrons.

I Love Libraries, Supporting one of our nation's most valuable resources Learn more about how libraries are innovating in response to societal trends on the I Love Libraries website.

Center for the Future of LibrariesVisit ALA's Center for the Future of Libraries for an indepth view into the impact of societal trends on libraries.


Lebanon Public Library (LPL) in New Hampshire made headlines last year when it equipped some of the computers at its Kilton branch with the Tor browser, over the objections of the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement. But LPL has a history of defending patrons’ right to privacy and this extends to teaching patrons how to protect their virtual profiles. LPL’s Online Self Defense classes help patrons navigate beginning through advanced online privacy concepts and understand the tools available to safeguard that privacy.

Many people say that they would love to do more to protect their online privacy, if only they had the time. New Jersey State Library has the answer for time-stretched procrastinators: Lunchtime Learning. These bite-sized, mid-day tutorials include Introduction to Internet & Mobile Privacy, a now-archived primer that helps users understand where threats are coming from and basic steps that can be taken to minimize risks from those threats.

Recognizing that privacy demands vary depending on the user, San Jose Public Library created the Virtual Privacy Lab, a collection of online modules that encourage visitors to select a topic—from data mining to anonymity—and build a customized privacy toolkit. The site has been translated into Spanish and Vietnamese to reach broader audiences. In addition, the Virtual Privacy Lab gathers resources from other online privacy advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tor Project, and Just Delete Me.

How does your library help patrons understand online privacy? Let us know! Email: