Privacy in libraries: the perspective from India

Sneha Tripathi (Central Library, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India)
Aditya Tripathi (Department of Library and Information Science, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 7 September 2010



Ethics is an inherent concept for any profession. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ethical perspective of librarianship. The focus of the discussion is to identify whether it is ethics or law which should supercede in changing the legal and social environment, with special reference to India.


The state of a right to privacy in India is elaborated. The discussion is focused around library ethics and user privacy, which is a much less talked about matter in Indian librarianship than in the developed world.


Professional ethics should be given equal consideration while framing law and policies for non‐profit organizations like libraries. The issue of privacy has been given very little credence in terms of library rules and regulations in India. There is a need to create awareness among the masses on the issue of privacy and it should be considered as an important component while formulating guidelines for library policies.

Practical implications

The role of library associations is considered to be vital in creating awareness among the libraries and information centers. Library associations in India are urged to make similar efforts like American Library Association. Impact of information technology on privacy is explored as one of the emerging research areas.


This paper is the first of its kind to study how the libraries in India are dealing with the issue of privacy and highlight the need for the information professionals to protect their professional ethics.



Tripathi, S. and Tripathi, A. (2010), "Privacy in libraries: the perspective from India", Library Review, Vol. 59 No. 8, pp. 615-623.

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