7 Guides in 7 Days:
Day 7 – Vendors and Privacy

Privacy, Privacy Education

By the IFC Privacy Subcommittee

Data Privacy Day is on January 28. It’s a great reminder (or nudge) to spruce up your library privacy practices. We’ve got the perfect tools to get you started (and with minimal effort), too. We’ll be sharing 7 privacy field guides in 7 days.

What are the Privacy Field Guides?

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with the American Library Association, sponsored the creation of the Privacy Field Guides. They contain practical, hands-on exercises for you to create a more privacy-focused library. They are designed for academic, public, and school libraries of all types. Any library worker can benefit from using the guides, and we know you will find at least one action you personally can take to improve library privacy.

There are currently 7 guides available for free via printable PDFs or an interactive website. You can also buy the book version. We’ll be highlighting one per day with you. We’ll go over the following:

  • Where can you find it?
  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s covered?Vendors and Privacy
  • Why should you check it out?

Day 7 – Vendors and Privacy

Where can you find it?

The printable PDF is available in the privacy section of the ALA website. It’s also available on the interactive website.

Who’s it for?

This guide will introduce you to methods for protecting users’ privacy while evaluating and acquiring products and resources from vendors. The guide will cover key strategies that libraries can employ to protect user privacy. Even if you are not involved in vendor contracts at your library, this guide can still help in identifying strategies to convince decision makers to keep user privacy in mind during acquisitions and renewals.

What’s covered?

  • Contract language and negotiations
  • Requests for Proposal (RFPs)
  • Vendor audits

Why should you check it out?

Getting ready to begin or renew a contract? “Evaluation Questions and Standards” is a great place to start when preparing to meet with vendors about new or renewing contracts. Find out what (and how!) to ask about corporate privacy policies, information security standards, and government regulations.

What’s next?

Improving your library’s privacy practices doesn’t have to fizzle out after this blog series. Keep it moving with these guides and more privacy resources available on the ALA website. You can also find ways to join more folks who are privacy-curious like yourself.


  • Explore Privacy on ALA: We have more than the Field Guides on the ALA website. Do you need a quick way to find library privacy laws for your state? The ALA website’s got you covered. Explore library privacy in-depth on the ALA website.
  • Join CoP: Can’t get enough of the “Vendor and Privacy” or “Privacy Policy” field guides? We encourage you to continue your library privacy journey and join the Vendor and Library Privacy Community of Practice on ALA Connect (sign in to join).

The Intellectual Freedom Committee‘s Privacy Subcommittee monitors ongoing privacy developments in technology (in cooperation with the Library Information Technology Association (LITA)), politics and legislation (in cooperation with the Committee on Legislation (COL)), as well as social and cultural trends that impact individual privacy and confidentiality, both in libraries and the wider world.   It is charged with identifying privacy needs and resources for librarians and library users; proposing action on resolutions, policies, and guidelines addressing privacy, confidentiality, and data security; developing educational, informational, and promotional projects addressing privacy, confidentiality, and data security issues; and collaborating with other member groups and organizations within and without ALA on matters within its charge.

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