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Privacy and Public Intellectual Freedom: Why Trained Library Staff Preserve and Protect Patron Confidentiality

Miles Caudesch


On the layman's level, this Commentary presents the essence of how and why library staff engage with the public while preserving patron privacy. Basic documentation, such as the Library Bill of Rights and the ALA's Intellectual Freedom Manual are referenced, along with an unsettling article about arson. After reading this Commentary, library staff should feel a renewed sense of loyalty to their profession, as well as an uncomfortable realization that every day, someone's life is held in the balance for educational good or for misapplied freedom: it is partially up to the librarian to help each person pursue excellence within the framework of free access to information.

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Douglas, William O. 1953. “The One Un-American Act.” Nieman Reports 7, no. 1: 20.

Minow, Mary, and Peter Hirtle. 2007. “Kansas Library Records Used in Arson Case.” LibraryLaw Blog, March 23.

McCarrick, Theodore. 2001. 147 Congressional Record, September 11.

Office for Intellectual Freedom. 2010. Intellectual Freedom Manual, 8th ed. Chicago: American Library Association.



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