Library Freedom Institute

Introducing a new, privacy-focused collaborative program between New York University and the Library Freedom Project.

Enrollment for our Summer 2018 session has closed, but will reopen again later this year for our Summer 2019 cohort. 

From Librarian to Privacy Advocate

The Library Freedom Institute (LFI) is a privacy-focused six-month program for librarians to teach them the skills necessary to thrive as Privacy Advocates; from installing privacy software to influencing public policy.

Learn the Skills

Building on the success of the LFP's shorter courses, you'll learn how to install, configure, and troubleshoot privacy software like Tor Browser.

Secure Your Library

Make your library as safe as it can be, and give your visitors as much privacy as you can armed with the latest secure practices and tricks.

Protect and Train

Educate and train your community on privacy best practices. Support privacy rights as an advocate by pushing for privacy-first policies and legislation.

About the LFI

Library Freedom Institute is a six-month program for a select group of librarians made possible by generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Participants will spend 5 hours per week on a combination of readings, webinars, exercises, class discussion, and assignments. LFI is a free online course with one in-person requirement, which will take place on a weekend in New York City. To be eligible to participate, applicants must complete the questions below and submit the attachments, including permission from a supervisor. There is no cost to this program; including the weekend in NYC. LFI is primarily seeking public librarians, but we welcome applications from all librarians who do outreach in their communities.

  • Course Curriculum

    Over this six-month course, you'll be taught by our staff and special guest trainers how to:

    1. Install, troubleshoot, and maintain privacy software on both patron machines and public library workstations.
    2. Teach your own train-the-trainer workshops to other librarians in your region.
    3. Approach members of your community regarding privacy concerns and teach privacy-related community workshops.
    4. Use your new role as a Privacy Advocate to influence policy and infrastructure.
  • Program Timeline

    Not all dates for the LFI Cohort 1 have been established yet. We appreciate your patience as these dates become finalized.

    Applications Due: February 1, 2018

    Applicants Notified: March 2018

    LFI Cohort 1 Begins: June 2018

    Weekend in NYC: August 3-5 2018

    LFI Cohort 1 Ends: December 2018

  • Application Questions

    Please submit your responses in a common document format (LibreOffice/OpenOffice, MS Office, PDF). Responses to all of the 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 ethnic identity? (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 1-2 hours of online discussion in real time?

    If you are not accepted to this cohort of the LFI, would you like to be considered for the next cohort in Spring 2019?

  • Requirements

    In addition to the Application Questions, please also include:

    A current resume or CV

    Names and contact information for two references

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

    Please send application materials to by February 1, 2018.

  • Is Library Freedom Institute only for public librarians?

    Our priority is for public librarians and other librarians who work in diverse communities, but we welcome applications from librarians who do not meet these criteria if you think you'd still be a good fit.

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

    Again, it's a priority but not an absolute requirement.

  • Do I need a really need a letter from a direct supervisor, or can someone else substitute for this part of the application?

    We developed this requirement primarily to make sure that each participant would have adequate time to devote to this course. A secondary reason was to assure our funder (IMLS) that many course participants had institutional buy-in. We will certainly consider applicants who can make a case for having enough time to devote to our coursework (and would be an added bonus if a library administrator were to express institutional support for this training (even if they couldn't actually allocate paid hours to it).

Have Questions?

If you have questions about the Library Freedom Institute or on how to apply for our next cohort, don't wait- the deadline is coming up fast, so get in touch!


The Library Freedom Institute wouldn't be possible without the generous funding of our friends at 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