​​How Library IT Staff Navigate Privacy and Security Challenges and Responsibilities


Alan F. Luo, Noel Warford, and Samuel Dooley, University of Maryland; Rachel Greenstadt, New York University; Michelle L. Mazurek, University of Maryland; Nora McDonald, George Mason University


Libraries provide critical IT services to patrons who lack access to computational and internet resources. We conducted 12 semi-structured interviews with library IT staff to learn about their privacy and security protocols and policies, the challenges they face implementing them, and how this relates to their patrons. We frame our findings using Sen's capabilities approach and find that library IT staff are primarily concerned with protecting their patrons' privacy from threats outside their walls—police, government authorities, and third parties. Despite their dedication to patron privacy, library IT staff frequently have to grapple with complex tradeoffs between providing easy, fluid, full-featured access to Internet technologies or third-party resources, protecting library infrastructure, and ensuring patron privacy.

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@inproceedings {287226,
author = {Alan F. Luo and Noel Warford and Samuel Dooley and Rachel Greenstadt and Michelle L. Mazurek and Nora McDonald},
title = {{​​How} Library {IT} Staff Navigate Privacy and Security Challenges and Responsibilities},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {5647--5664},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/luo-alan},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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