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LinkedIn Learning and Wisconsin Public Libraries

Thursday, July 25, 2019


On June 28, 2019, LinkedIn released a blog post that informed public libraries of substantial changes to its terms of service that would require patrons to create a LinkedIn profile to access LinkedIn Learning. Creation of such a profile would include provision of a library card number, full name, and an email address. The profile would be set to public by default, which would allow the individual to be searched on Google and LinkedIn.

Other states with accounts (rebranded as LinkedIn Learning) have determined that LinkedIn’s registration process not only still reveals too much of who uses library licensed resources, but also that the terms of use for those accounts provides LinkedIn and Microsoft to collect use patterns and share information with third party partners and advertisers. California State Librarian Greg Lucas recommended that libraries in his state “no longer use or provide LinkedIn Learning...”

Earlier this week the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom issued a response, urging LinkedIn Learning to reconsider the changes. In the statement, the ALA reinforces that the “Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations maintain that all library users have the right to access library resources without disclosing their personally identifiable information (PII) to third parties, and to be free from unreasonable intrusion into, or surveillance of, their lawful library use.” ALA President Wanda Kay Brown added that such disclosure may violate of some states’ library confidentiality laws.

The Division for Libraries & Technology agrees that the changes to LinkedIn Learning terms of service contradict the user confidentiality requirements detailed in Wis. Stat. sec. 43.30, as it violates the library’s obligation to keep an individual’s use of library resources private. It may also supersede the library’s authority to authenticate patrons.

The SHARE Consortium, comprised of the Arrowhead, Lakeshores, and Kenosha County Federated Library Systems, has already voted to terminate their relationship with LinkedIn Learning based on the upcoming changes in terms of service; the effective date of termination is unknown at this time.


Submitted by Shannon Schultz, Public Library Development



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