LACUNY Institute 2015Privacy and Surveillance: Library Advocacy for the 21st Century

The Library Association of the City University of New York (LACUNY) seeks
proposals for the 2015 LACUNY Institute.

Call for Proposals
Privacy and Surveillance: Library Advocacy for the 21st Century
LACUNY Institute 2015

Date: May 8, 2015
Location: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

Keynote Speaker: Rainey Reitman (Activism Director, Electronic Frontier
Foundation; Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Freedom of the Press

Submission Deadline: January 13, 2015

Historically, librarians have defended patron privacy on the grounds that it is
crucial to free speech, freedom of thought, and equal access to information.
These core values, which occasionally have led librarians to confrontation with
law enforcement, are embedded in our professional ethics. The American Library
Association’s Privacy Toolkit demarcates a broad territory for the profession
to safeguard: “In libraries, the right to privacy is the right to open
inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized
by others” (Privacy and Confidentiality: Library Core Values).

Nevertheless, patron data can now be scrutinized not just by FBI agents with
secret warrants, but also by database and e-book vendors, social media
companies, and Internet marketers. The digital nature of today’s information
sources has allowed for mass collection of patron data–as demonstrated by the
NSA’s covert collection of telephone and Internet records. Our profession has
been slow to respond. In this new technological and political landscape, which
privacy violations pose a threat to our mission of promoting free speech and
free thought? How can librarians convince those in power that patron privacy is
crucial to our institutions and our communities? Can we negotiate contracts
with vendors that protect reader privacy? How should we talk to our students
about these issues, and what can we learn from them about the future of

The LACUNY Institute seeks proposals that explore all aspects of privacy in
libraries, with a special emphasis on academic settings. We welcome proposals
from those inside and outside the profession. This year, we will feature two
kinds of presentations:

*Paper Presentations* (20 minutes)
The Institute will include several moderated panel presentations, which may be
historical, theoretical, legal, or practical in nature. Please include time for
questions and discussion.

A few examples include:
• Library Code of Ethics and its relevance today
• Current laws and precedents relating to privacy
• The information economy and user data
• Predictive analytics
• Assessment and student privacy
• The Dark Web

*Lightning Presentations* (10 minutes)
At the close of the Institute, attendees will disperse to a number of
simultaneous lightning presentations. These should be highly practical in
nature and focused on a single, specific issue. The goal is to provide
attendees with concrete steps for action. Please build in substantial time for
questions and discussion, and plan to bring handouts or other takeaways.

A few examples include:
• Lesson plans for teaching students about privacy
• How to read vendor contracts and negotiate for privacy rights
• Privacy-protecting alternatives to common tools and websites (e.g.,
ownCloud, DuckDuckGo)
• Setting up a Tor relay
• Proven steps for promoting privacy initiatives among faculty and

Please submit proposals for paper and lightning presentations, including a
300-500 word abstract, to by
January 13, 2015.

Questions may be directed to
For more information, visit the Institute website:

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