Bashir receives grant to study privacy measures in public libraries

Masooda Bashir
Masooda Bashir, Associate Professor
Yang Wang
Yang Wang, Associate Professor

Associate Professor Masooda Bashir has received a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS LG-246404-OLS-20) for her project, "Securing our Public Libraries: A Forum on Privacy and Security." The project seeks to identify the existence and absence of privacy protecting technologies (software and/or hardware) in public library systems.

In today's digital world, public libraries play a critical role in offering free public internet access. The American Library Association (ALA), with its well-established reputation of protecting the privacy of library users, has updated its interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights to include digital privacy. However, Bashir notes that with such a wide variety of library sizes, funding, staff training, equipment, vendors, and software, it is not clear if any widespread technological measures are currently in place that adhere to the ALA guidelines.

According to Bashir, there is "an important gap in the conversations we are having about privacy and security technologies implemented in our public libraries." This gap exists due to the lack of shared vocabulary among public libraries and differing levels of technical skillsets and resources across library systems. The IMLS grant will support a national forum on privacy and security, in which experts and public library representatives will collaborate on an exploratory study of what technological mechanisms are in place to protect patron privacy in our nation's libraries.

"I am delighted to be granted this opportunity to initiate and lead this vital discussion that is timely and necessary given our current dependency on internet technologies," Bashir said.

Bashir's research interests lie at the interface of information technology, human psychology, and society; especially how privacy, security, and trust intersect from a psychological point of view with information systems. She holds degrees in mathematics, computer science, and psychology and a PhD in psychology from Purdue University.

Associate Professor Yang Wang will serve as key project staff. He conducts research focusing on usable privacy and security technologies, social computing, human-computer interaction, and explainable artificial intelligence. Wang earned his PhD in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool researchers to present at CHI 2021

iSchool faculty and students will present their research at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021), which will be held virtually from May 8-13. The conference, considered the most prestigious in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, attracts researchers and practitioners from around the globe. The theme for CHI 2021 is "Making Waves, Combining Strengths."

New project to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Patients with compromised health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, are at enhanced risk of contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, these patients are also hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine because of their condition. A new project, led by Assistant Professor Jessie Chin, aims to develop an accessible, generalizable, and efficient digital health solution for promoting vaccination among vulnerable populations.

Jessie Chin

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Ruby Martinez

A record seventeen iSchool master's students were named 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School's scholars. MS/LIS student Ruby Martinez holds a BA in psychology and criminal justice from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).

Ruby Martinez

Alaks and Howell recognized for service to University Library

MS/LIS students Kadet Alaks and Katherine Howell have been named recipients of the University Library's 2020-2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Awards. The award, worth $500, recognizes students' exceptional accomplishments and service to the Library.

Seo to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that JooYoung Seo will join the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2021. He is a PhD candidate in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Pennsylvania State University and also an RStudio double-certified data science instructor and accessibility expert certified by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

JooYoung Seo