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Privacy and E-Books

Knowledge Quest Volume 40, Number 3, ISSN 1094-9046


The use of electronic reading devices has proliferated in the last few years. These reading devices appear to be particularly popular with young readers. A generation of students that has grown up with computers, cell phones, iPods, and other high-tech devices is more likely to embrace electronic book technology for both their educational and recreational reading. Educators and school librarians enthusiastically support the use of these devices as a means of encouraging students to read and explore information. Increasingly, schools are offering textbooks online and diverting instructional funds to the purchase of electronic readers that can be used by students for school work and reading. The prospects are exciting for students and educators alike. Educators and school libraries must also focus on the inherent privacy concerns associated with the use of these digital resources. Protection of patrons' use information is a critical component in the exercise of First Amendment rights. Patrons use the library with the expectation that library personnel will take steps to protect their privacy. Patrons expect that the books they choose to read, the materials they select to borrow, the websites they visit, and the resources they use while in the library will not be made public. If privacy is not maintained by the library, patrons will be chilled in the exercise of their First Amendment rights. Fearing public disclosure, patrons will refrain from selecting certain reading materials based on their content. Patrons specifically will avoid materials that are considered controversial or sensitive. Students may refrain from seeking critical information, fearing that their particular reading choices could subject them to interrogation, public ridicule, or embarrassment. School libraries and educators should ensure that their library privacy policies protect their young patrons and extend to their use of electronic reading material.


Chmara, T. (2012). Privacy and E-Books. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 62-65. Retrieved September 27, 2022 from .

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