[Web4lib] Kindle Lending

Brian Gray mindspiral at gmail.com
Thu Oct 28 08:24:43 EDT 2010

Either my earlier comments were not clear enough or I do not understand
everything you group in "privacy". Hopefully my comments below will clear up
what I mean. Tim if you can reply I would appreciate, because I am just not
understanding your view yet. Thanks.

My personal expectations or documented policies related to privacy are not a
censorship issue, nor did I mention censorship in my reply. I do not see how
collecting or using personal information (privacy) relates to censorship
directly in this case.

I also do not see how the Kindle (or any other e-reader model) deviates from
any stance libraries have operated under or promoted as it relates to
privacy. Libraries have always guaranteed that we will not divulge your
reading habits, your search history, or any other transaction data.
Libraries teach to understand what information is being collected by others,
what decisions you must make about your information, and the individual's
personal choice of what relationships to participate due to privacy

Lets take the easiest one first: library lends out an e-reader to a patron.
The device is registered to the library. The library is the only one that
knows who has the device. This model does not deviate in any way from the
library lending print books now.

Lets consider the second situation: person buys their own e-reader and
library promotes or supports it in someway (providing content, technical
support, etc.). I do not see how this is any different that any resource we
offer know where an individual makes their own decision to participate.

Here are the examples I can think of that seem the same in terms of personal
privacy and the library is major partners in all them:
1. We offer some e-resources that require name and email for fulltext
access, account creation, or saving of favorites. The patron's usage
patterns are all sitting on a server outside the library's control/
2. We may take credit cards for payments and I do not recall libraries
speaking out against credit cards, even though they track all a consumer's
spending habits.
3. We offer mobile applications, offer mobile interfaces, provide resources
that offer interfaces, send text messages, etc. even though the phone
company is or can track phone numbers called, messages sent, and even GPS
location. Libraries are not speaking out again cellphone ownership.
4. Many of us work for organizations that provide email accounts but we do
not tell patrons do not use it since your messages are all archived
5. We promote social websites (Facebook, MySpace) and task specific sites
(LibraryThing for example) that have large repositories of personal
information tied to them.

We do not tell people to avoid these situation just because they do not have
the same standards of privacy as the library profession. We teach people to
determine what information they are keeping private and public. We teach
them to read the ToS and make a personal decision if they participate.

I guess I do not see how the Kindle relationship is different as it relates
to privacy. People still have personal choice to participate and Amazon is
not giving out people's information (as far as we all know). Am I missing
something in your viewpoint?

Brian Gray
mindspiral at gmail.com
bcg8 at case.edu

On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 3:48 AM, Tim Spalding <tim at librarything.com> wrote:

> > Brian: "It terms of the privacy issue I think the difference between
> government trying to get library records versus library's promoting personal
> purchase of e-book readers is that the personal level of privacy decision
> remains with the individual library's promoting personal purchase of e-book
> readers is that the personal level of privacy decision remains with the
> individual."
> First, I think librarians, individually and as a body, have long taken
> anti-censorship stances that exceed questions of personal choice. In
> this case, we're dealing a major realignment of how books exist in
> relation to people--namely, one or two companies will quite literally
> know what everyone is reading, when and even where. Economies of scale
> and network effects make it very likely this will be only a few
> companies and that most digital reading will be involved.
> Second, Libraries enter into this directly not only by promoting these
> devices to their patrons, but more directly by buying them and lending
> them to their patrons.

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