The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

Week 5 Transparency and Privacy

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transTransparent is defined as “able to see through”, “easy to notice or understand”, “honest and open: not secretive”

Personally I like the last part as libraries and professionals have to be open and honest in giving the information that is being sought by our community, if we don’t have the information or we cannot meet their informational need we then need to have an open conversation and inform the person that an in depth search for the specific details has to be undertaken.

I love the quote above, even though we need to be open and inviting we have to protect our institution from the many harms that are now evident within society. It seems like a contradiction when you begin this viewpoint and it is a difficult viewpoint to get across.

Casey & Stephens (2007) have this powerful open minded approach in their article The Transparent Library: Introducing the Michaels and in the first sentence I am intrigued by the line ‘the culture of perfect’ as a barrier that libraries face with transparency issues.

Nobody is perfect and trying and striving to get everything perfect is a upward struggle, we can’t all listen and respond to every need that we face on a daily basis and we certainly can’t be there for everyone, what we can do is make sure that these voices are at least acknowledged and at some stage given a moment in which we can help and accommodate their information need.

Open minded approaches need to accept the bad comments as well as the good, if something that is not working in your space needs to be addressed and no ignored as something very valuable could come of listening to this viewpoint and entering into a dialogue with this voice, it could be an internal voice or external whatever the case maybe it has a great potential.

Trying to be Public as in a ‘Public Library’ yet having to address Privacy issues has to be a major challenge for librarians and it is one that I will take my hat off to the many professionals that have succeeded in this task, as a person who has yet to enter into the profession it is an area that I will need to keep abreast of as it is such an important area.

So to look to someone who has a deepen knowledge that I ever will, Boyd (2010) has just that I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to come across a wealth of academics in this MOOC and this really does top the list. Boyd (2010) illustrates Privacy as “privacy is about having control over how information flows” and this is even more true into today’s world.

Within the context of a public library there are many ways in which this information will flow, however it is WHAT information is allowed flow and WHO sees this information, you as the professional holds the key to how this is done, and it is up to you to determine who it is passed to and how they then engage with this information. This release of the type of information that is given has to reflect your community and what their informational needs are.

A public library is very diverse yet you need to contain the information you share with this diverse community and make sure it is not shared with the wrong age group or the wrong information is not given to the public for public use.

It is a lot of food for thought when I try to build my social media policy document this week, you need to map who needs this information and how to give this information while containing it within a diverse community, tricky situation!



Author: siobhanmac

Loves Libraries, Books, and Sunshine!

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