Library Freedom Institute

Introducing a privacy-focused collaborative program between New York University and Library Freedom.

Applications closed Applications are now closed for cohort 4. Stay tuned for announcements about the next cohort!

From Librarian to Privacy Advocate

Library Freedom Institute (LFI) is a free, privacy-focused four-month program for librarians to teach them the skills necessary to thrive as Privacy Advocates; from educating community members to influencing public policy.


Learn the Skills

Built on the success of the LFP's shorter courses, you'll understand privacy from a broad perspective and how it relates to other issues of justice. Gain the skills to become an advocate in your community.


Protect Your Library

From vendor agreements to privacy software, learn ways to protect privacy inside the library.



Teach and Advocate

Train your community -- both patrons and library workers -- about privacy strategies and tools. Learn how to advocate for privacy with a broad set of community stakeholders.

  • Course Curriculum

    Over this four-month course, you'll learn from staff and guest lecturers how to:

    • Understand the implications of surveillance and the loss of privacy in your communities.
    • Approach members of your community about privacy concerns.
    • Teach your own train-the-trainer workshops to other librarians.
    • Use your new role as a privacy advocate to influence policy and infrastructure.
    • Install and use privacy software to mitigate harms.
  • Program Timeline

    These dates are subject to change due to coronavirus. We appreciate your patience as these dates become finalized.

    Applications Due: June 1, 2020

    Applicants Notified: June 15, 2020

    LFI Cohort 4 Begins: July 13, 2020

    Weekend in NYC or Philly: August 7-9, 2020 (TBD due to coronavirus)

    LFI Cohort 4 Ends: October 26, 2020

  • Requirements

    In addition to the Application Questions, please also include:

    A current resume or CV

    A statement from a director or immediate supervisor committing five hours of your week to Library Freedom Institute.

    Please send application materials to by June 1, 2020.

  • Application Questions

    Please submit your responses in a common document format (LibreOffice/OpenOffice, MS Office, PDF). Responses to questions should be 2-5 pages and can be in a narrative format as long as all questions are answered.

    What is your gender? (Asked to ensure gender diversity)

    What is your race or ethnicity? (Asked to ensure racial diversity)

    Why are you applying to Library Freedom Institute?

    Why are you the right person to participate in Library Freedom Institute?

    How do surveillance and privacy issues affect the community where you work?

    In your opinion, what is the most important current issue or event related to surveillance and privacy?

    If accepted to Library Freedom Institute, are there particular days and times of the week that you would be available for one to two hours of online discussion in real time?

  • Is Library Freedom Institute only for public librarians?

    Our priority is for public librarians and others who engage with a diverse public directly, but we welcome applications from libraries that don't fit this criteria.


  • Is Library Freedom Institute only for librarians in the United States?

    Our funding and curriculum require us to prioritize librarians within the United States, but we may be able to make some exceptions for exemplary applicants.


  • Do I really need a letter from a direct supervisor to be considered?

    Since Library Freedom Institute is 100% free for participants, we need something guaranteeing your participation. If a supervisor letter isn't feasible for you, contact us to discuss options.


  • Are there any costs to attend this program, including the NYC weekend?

    There is no cost to Library Freedom Institute. We may ask you to cover your NYC travel up front and get reimbursed later if that's possible for you.

Library Freedom Institute is made possible with generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

  • “DHS (Department of Homeland Security) fought to stop libraries from using privacy technology, but @LibraryFreedom beat them. Librarians are badass.”
    Edward Snowden
    Board Chairman, Freedom of the Press Foundation