Main Page/Crash Courses/Systems and Policies/Week four

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Week 4: Vendors


There's really no other way to put this: we've got a vendor privacy crisis. Careless with patron data at best, collaborationist with the ICE deportation machine at worst, our vendors -- especially the biggest ones that we rely on the most -- are not representing our library values. The trend of big vendors increasing their portfolio of mergers and acquisitions means bigger, more powerful, even less accountable companies, collecting enormous datasets, adding more and more shady analytics products and tools, and effectively building highly sophisticated surveillance systems. There are increasing efforts at resistance to these vendors, but we need more leadership, bigger collective efforts, and more radical demands. This week, we'll talk about the vendor problems and our sites of resistance.


Lots of readings this week, I know! Get through whatever you get through.

Some vendor privacy policies

Scan through a couple of these and take note of anything you think is alarming or interesting, anything worth discussing with the group. You can also feel free to look up another library vendor of your choosing. How do these privacy policies line up with best practices in the field, like the NISO privacy principles, or the ALA vendor privacy guidelines?

Discussion prompts

  • Where do you see opportunities for resisting or challenging the awful vendor practices we discussed today?
  • What are small, harm reduction steps? What are starting points for bigger action?
  • Where do you have power? Where could you build power?
  • What are the challenges to standing up to these vendor practices?


  • Lecture, readings, discussion forum
  • If you're planning to do a final project, schedule a 1:1 checkin with Alison