Cinema Studies Receives $250,000 IMLS Grant to Train Digital Privacy Advocates

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021

Cinema Studies Receives $250,000 IMLS Grant to Train Digital Privacy Advocates; New Training Programs, Teen Privacy, Medical Privacy and Disinformation Resources

New York, NY, March 11, 2021 - New York University (NYU) and Library Freedom Project (LFP) announced a new round of funding support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS awarded an additional $250 thousand to extend the highly successful train-the-trainer programs that teach librarians how to promote and protect digital privacy in their local communities. This new funding for the Library Freedom Institute (LFI) will support two-month training programs for library workers, focused on privacy in different library settings. The funding will also support the sustainability of the diverse LFP community of Privacy Advocates, who have taken LFI’s multi-month intensive IMLS-supported privacy training programs. The latest grant brings the total IMLS support for LFI to $700,000 since 2017.

“The initial IMLS funding helped us build a solid network of digital Privacy Advocates in diverse communities around the country,” said LFI Director and NYU Cinema Studies Professor Howard Besser. “These Privacy Advocates have not only made their own libraries more privacy-centric, but they’ve also worked with diverse local groups to make their communities more aware of digital privacy concerns and how to make themselves safe. And the new IMLS funding will help us enlarge and strengthen that network of passionate Privacy activists.”

Diversity has been a huge priority in creating the LFI cohorts, and the Privacy Advocates reflect this priority: 35% are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, 10% identify as non-binary or genderqueer, 18% are from rural libraries, and 20% are from libraries in the south.

Previous IMLS funding helped LFP leverage two new sponsored projects. One project (supported by Calyx Institute) will have our Privacy Advocates work with teens around the country to make memes about various privacy topics, engaging young people in privacy advocacy using language and formats that they understand. A second project (supported by the Network of the National Library of Medicine) will promote COVID-era health privacy literacy by creating a series of webinars and resources about pertinent topics in consumer health regarding privacy and misinformation. That project will collaborate with the Chinese American Library Association (CALA) to translate the materials for Chinese-speaking patrons.

LFP director Alison Macrina is excited for the opportunities to allow this community to grow. “Library Freedom Project is a one-of-a-kind supportive community for librarians who are passionate about making our libraries into privacy-protective spaces. This support will help us further that mission and help our community be sustainable into the future.” For more information about Library Freedom Project, including privacy resources, and photos and biographies of our community, visit LFP’s website

For further information see the website or contact Alison Macrina (

logos for NYU, Library Freedom Project, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

New York University, Library Freedom Project, and Institute of Museum and Library Services