ERIC Number: EJ940107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr-1
Reference Count: N/A
The Privacy Problem: Although School Librarians Seldom Discuss It, Students' Privacy Rights Are under Attack
Adams, Helen R.
School Library Journal, v57 n4 p34-37 Apr 2011
Every day in school libraries nationwide, students' privacy rights are under attack, but many principals, teachers, parents, and community members do not know much about these rights. Even though school librarians are among the strongest proponents of privacy, the subject is rarely discussed, probably because state and federal laws can be confusing. Unlike materials selection policies, few school libraries have regulations that address privacy issues--and that can make it difficult for school librarians to respond authoritatively when asked about student records. There are also mixed feelings about saying no to parents, who have fiscal and personal responsibility over their children's library use and feel they have a right to know more about the kinds of books and materials their kids check out. Students need to know that their privacy will be respected and their records kept confidential in the school library. At the very least, they should be able to read and borrow materials free from the scrutiny of others. They should also be able to seek information on a topic without disclosing the subject of their research. Privacy in school libraries will remain a thorny issue unless school librarians work with principals to create board-approved privacy policies and train the entire school to be sensitive to students' rights. In this article, the author lists some steps that can help school librarians protect students' right to privacy in the library while responding to information requests from parents, teachers, and administrators.
Descriptors: Privacy, Student Rights, Student Records, School Libraries, Library Policy, Federal Legislation, State Legislation, Library Services, Internet
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Media Staff
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974