Privacy & Security Online Course

Best Practices for You and Your Library Users


Online Privacy & Security: Best Practices for Librarians

It seems like every day you hear of a new data breach. Is security dead?

If you read today’s headlines about security breaches, you might be thinking of going back to fax machines and snail mail. Or you might be assuming that privacy is dead and we may as well get used to it (and you have nothing to hide, right?)

There is no such thing as perfect security, buy you can learn to greatly decrease your chances of something bad happening.

While there is no such thing as foolproof security and privacy, there is a middle ground that you can find by understanding and using particular techniques.

After you participate in this course, you will…

  • know how to use technologies that protect your privacy and security.
  • have a security action plan for your own data.
  • be inspired to offer a workshop on this topic for your library users.
  • easily continue your learning with the course resource guide.

Course outline

Each week includes videos, hands-on assignments, readings, and discussion.

Week 1 –  Protecting Your Data

  • The importance of regular backups (cloud and local)
  • What to do if your phone is lost or stolen
  • Protecting yourself from “ransomware” and other bad things
  • Protecting your data on public wi-fi with a VPN
  • Using mobile payment systems (Apple Pay or Android Pay)

Week 2 – Authentication

  • Using a password manager
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Biometrics: Touch ID and Face ID

Week 3 – Breaches and Identity Theft

  • Data breaches – when your private information is hacked
  • Identity theft

Week 4 – Privacy: How Your Data is Used

  • Targeted advertising
  • Private web browsing
  • Anonymous web browsing with TOR
  • Encrypted messaging, phone calls, and email

Week 5 –  Future Issues, Creating Your Security Plan, Helping Library Users


  • Protecting yourself from laptop camera hacking
  • Protecting your privacy on voice computing platforms like Alexa and Google Home
  • Internet of Things security
  • Creating your security and privacy plan
  • Helping library users with security and privacy
  • Learning more

What you'll need

Computers and/or Mobile Devices
You’ll need your own computer and/or mobile devices (Android or iOS) and the ability to download and install apps on them.

There are free versions or free trials for every app that we recommend, but you may want to consider paying for pro versions of some of the tools that you find most valuable, so you can get help during the course.

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Join us for the next session!


Mar. 12 - April 15, 2018


American Library Association

Learn to protect your data.

Help your library users with security.


Learn to protect your privacy and security.

Create your security and privacy action plan.


Offer workshops for your library users.

Discuss the issues with your peers in the course.

Continue your learning with a resource guide.

Online course


Nicole’s workshop is so pertinent to today’s concerns with privacy and the internet. She gave extraordinary information on how to be safer in the digital age. We can’t wait for Nicole to offer more workshops for our staff!

Rachel Rooney, IT/Reference Librarian, West Tisbury Library, Massachusetts

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