The Library Bill of Rights

Over the past 6 weeks, the Faculty at Brookens Library developed a blog series expounding on each article of the Library Bill of Rights. Each of the 6 principles in the Library Bill of Rights broadly outlines an ideal that librarians support and upon which they model behavior, practice, and services. As with most ideals, pursuit of the tenets of the Library Bill of Rights is not an effortless task. 

The Library Bill of Rights:

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

Below you will find each blog post published as a part of this series.

I: Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II: Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV: Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V: A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI: Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

The Library Bill of Rights exists as an ethical statement – libraries are for the people, all of the people. Inclusion is at the heart of every library and librarians share a common set of principles about their work. During difficult times, it can be easy to forget what we stand for and The Library Bill of Rights acts as a steadfast reminder. In the simplest terms, libraries are inclusive spaces that foster access, preservation, freedom of expression, and community engagement.

Interpretations are often nuanced and incomplete. Over the last 6 weeks we’ve shared our interpretations of The Library Bill of Rights with you and now it’s your turn to join in the conversation. Do you believe that these tenets have stood the test of time? Do you see areas in which the core beliefs of academia and the core beliefs of libraries intersect?

Contact us if you’d like to share your interpretations of The Library Bill of Rights with our readers.

Written By: Nancy Weichert, Clinical Assistant Professor/ Instructional Services Librarian



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