Welcome to June! Today marks the start of the blog’s “summer schedule,” where we post on a bi-weekly basis. This month also marks the beginning of the summer for many in the Northern Hemisphere. We say “many” because in Seattle the summer season is replaced by construction season. For our East Coast readers, summer is becoming Brood X season.
Now that we are halfway through 2021 let’s take a peek behind the scenes of the blog, including a chance to help shape the future of the Hat!
What’s brewing at The Hat?
There are few certainties in today’s world: death and taxes are two. The third is the rapid pace of change in the privacy world. It’s hard to keep up with all the updates, even for privacy professionals such as ourselves at LDH! The Tip of The Hat is doing its best to keep up with the latest news and updates in the library privacy world. From major vendor acquisitions and library policies around COVID-19 to tracking privacy implications of the newest library technology trends and significant tech company developments, we’ll keep you covered! We are also keeping track of the ongoing deluge of state and federal data privacy bills. While we are not lawyers at LDH, we will continue to alert our readers of new data privacy laws that will affect how libraries work with vendors in protecting patron privacy.
We also have several ongoing series and reader requests in the middle of all these news and updates! The third installment of our “Librarians as Information Fiduciaries?” is in the works, as well as additional writeups for tools to add to your privacy tech toolkit or cybersecurity awareness programming. We might even make a habit of doing our #DataSpringCleaning throughout the year, particularly for library workers who are making the transition back to the office or who are now planning to continue a hybrid of onsite and virtual work and programming. And we will never not post about the patron data lifecycle, including posts questioning why we are collecting data that, if we are honest, is not needed for our patrons to use the library.
We’ve had several requests for more content around the privacy, ethical, and equity implications of handling data in libraries, particularly around data analytics and how libraries use customer relationship management systems (CRMs) for market segmentation projects. More posts are in the works as major library vendors release new data analytics and CRMs into the library market. Yes, we did notice the “Target Acquired” article in the May 2021 issue of American Libraries (page 52-53). Yes, we plan to write about where that article misses the privacy mark with its product profiles. Analytics is not far removed from surveillance. We will continue to highlight how libraries can avoid becoming another major player in the surveillance economy, including the various privacy risks involved in tracking patron use of libraries, be it by libraries or by vendors.
How you can shape the future of The Hat
We at LDH are doing our best to keep the library world up to date with the latest news and updates in the privacy world, as well as delivering more in-depth pieces around library privacy. The Tip of The Hat has been going strong since February 2019 – this post is #102! Best of all, every blog post is free for all to read and will continue to be free to the library world and beyond.
This free model has been sustainable, but up to a point. Each week (or every other week during our summer posting schedule), we research, write, edit, and post timely and thought-provoking content about all matters of library privacy. We want to explore a few ways in which those who can financially support this work can help us continue the blog for the long term.
If you visited the blog last week, you might have noticed a new link in the blog menu inviting people to buy us tea. Readers of the blog can now donate a few dollars through our new Buy Me a Coffee page! Currently, we have the page set up for readers interested in a one-time donation to keep The Tip of The Hat running via cups of tea. No site account is required to donate – you only need a credit card or PayPal account for a one-time donation.
We also want to hear from our readers! We created a quick reader survey asking about other possibilities for the future of The Hat, including future content ideas and possible membership levels to help fund the continued work on the blog. Again, we will continue to make the content on the blog free for all to access, even if we introduce a membership level for those who want to make a monthly donation to support the blog.
The survey will be open to our readers until June 15th, 2021. Please take a few moments to let us know your thoughts about the future of The Hat! Thank you all again for your support and readership throughout the years. We look forward to hearing from you all about the future of the blog and beyond.
We’ll be back on June 14th – enjoy the start of the new month!