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Tip of the Hat

13 July 2020

New ALA Guidelines and Zoom Update


Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat!

In case you missed it - last week ALA announced a trio of new guidelines for libraries concerned with patron privacy during the reopening process as well as libraries who use security cameras at their branches:

Guidelines for Reopening Libraries During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Theresa Chmara, J.D. guides libraries with planning reopening procedures and policies, including requirements around wearing masks, health screenings of both patrons and staff, and contact tracing. While these guidelines are not legal advice, these guidelines should inform your discussions with your local legal advisors.

Guidelines on Contact Tracing, Health Checks, and Library Users’ Privacy – This statement from IFC reaffirms the importance of patron privacy in the reopening process, including giving newly published guidelines around contact tracing at the library. The statement also directs libraries to the Protecting Privacy in a Pandemic Resource Guide, which brings together several privacy resources for libraries to incorporate into their reopening processes, as well as the expansion of existing patron services to online.

Video Surveillance in the Library Guidelines – Libraries who use security cameras should review their existing policies around camera placement, recording storage and retention, and law enforcement requests for recordings considering the new guidelines. There are also sections around patrons filming library staff and other patrons which public libraries should review regarding staff and patron privacy and safety.

Take some time to review the above guidelines and discuss how these guidelines might affect your library’s reopening or use of security cameras in the building!

Zoom Update

Zoom reported that they will not provide end-to-end encryption for free-tier users so Zoom can comply with law enforcement. Now that you know how Zoom will respond to law enforcement requests, does their stance line up with your library’s law enforcement request policy, as well as your patron privacy policy? If not, how will your library adjust your use of Zoom for patron services? One option is to not use Zoom, but as we covered in previous newsletters, Zoom is arguably one of the user-friendly video conferencing software in the market. Nonetheless, there are alternatives out there that do a better job protecting privacy, including Jitsi. If you must use Zoom for patron services, check out the Zoom Security Recommendations, Settings List, and Resources document from LDH’s Remote Work presentation in April to help you secure your Zoom calls.