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About this Project

The Safe Data | Safe Families Project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS Grant LG-81-16-0154-16). We are researchers from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Project Background

While there has been some work addressing the broad issue of data privacy and libraries, we believe the most vulnerable and marginalized groups are still not getting the digital privacy and security resources they need. Without adequate technical skills, low-socioeconomic (SES) families may miss out on opportunities for assistance or become victims of fraud because they lack the skills to navigate technology safely. Previous literature suggests that in the United States, public library staff serve as information intermediaries to the community in need. However, privacy and security are missing from most discussions of information access. Through this project, we worked with low-SES families to develop resources and training to help them develop safer privacy and security habits. We also worked with public library staff nationwide to co-design resources with them that they can use to address patron privacy concerns, which includes training modules, a privacy policy framework, teaching moments, and programming resources.

Project Goals

The goals of this four-year (2017-2021), IMLS National Leadership Research project were twofold: (1) evaluate the challenges of three key stakeholders involved in this process–low-SES families, library staff, and information intermediaries within families such as teens who serve as information brokers–and (2) develop educational resources for low-SES families to reduce risky behaviors and enhance overall privacy-related digital skills, and for library staff to better support the low-SES families they assist. The project provides resources for library staff to inform their practices helping families with sensitive online transactions and for libraries to facilitate digital privacy and security skills education for these families.

Watch our June 2021 webinar on Youtube, where we talk about the various resources we developed during the project.

Research Partners

Our partners include the Maryland State Library Agency, the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries (CFL), and CASA de Maryland. We thank all our partners for their contribution to this project.

Creative Commons Licensing of Resources

All of the resources and materials created through the Safe Data | Safe Families Project are licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). The following information, pulled directly from the Creative Commons website, explains how you may use these materials.

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.


  • You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
  • No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.

To learn more, you can read the terms of the license.

Statement on Access(ibility)

In creating resources for this project, the team tried to ensure they would be accessible by the widest audience possible. While not being able to provide an exhaustive list, some examples of this include:

  • Providing materials through Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) that can be adapted and used by anyone.
  • Translating several resources to Spanish.
  • Working with our web developer to make every attempt possible to adhere to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
  • Ensuring that colors used for branding and throughout the site have good visibility contrast.
  • Creating accessible PDFs of downloadable materials.