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



Faculty Library Associate Program – Amy Spies

During this past summer, we piloted our first Faculty Associate program.  This program provided an opportunity for faculty members to work with a librarian in order to embed information literacy concepts and skills into new or existing course work.  Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting each of these three faculty/librarian collaborations.

Librarian Nancy Weichert discusses her work with CAP Coordinator of Composition Amy Spies:

This summer, through the Faculty Library Associate Program, I was able to work closely with Amy Spies the CAP Coordinator of Composition & Academic Student Support. Our goal was to rework the information literacy components of CAP 111 – Honors Composition and CAP 115 – Interdisciplinary Writing. Amy and I updated the information literacy components of the courses with an eye on the proposed Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education In 2013 ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force determined that in our ever evolving information ecosystem a move from the traditional standards model to a threshold concepts based framework is needed. The assignments Amy and I reworked integrated the use of tools such as Google, Yelp and UrbanSpoon in tandem with more traditional library research resources. Amy and I continue to meet regularly and view this as an ongoing partnership.

Be on the lookout for our next two spotlights coming soon.  For more information about this summer’s Faculty Associate position, see the Faculty Resources Guide or contact your librarian.



Why I use Wikipedia – everyday!

As librarians we are asked questions…lots and lots of questions. These questions range from “Where is the bathroom?” to “I’m doing a research paper on single nucleotide polymorphisms. Can you help me find some articles?” The bathroom is down the hall, but single nucleotide polymorphisms – what? One quick Wikipedia search later and we know that single nucleotide polymorphism is a DNA sequence that is often referred to as SNP. This may not seem like much, but in the library world, it’s just enough. We now know that you need to search our science databases or point the student to our Biology Research Guide for further exploration and research.

We are all familiar with Wikipedia’s weaknesses, but its strengths are just as great. Wikipedia provides concise articles on a multitude of topics – nearing 4 million – including references and links for further research. There are over 17 million users and almost 1500 administrators. That makes for a lot of content generation and a lot of eyes watching, editing, and adding to said content. In fact, this process of content generation is itself useful in teaching the research and writing process.

Is Wikipedia an authoritative source? Emphatically no! Is Wikipedia a good place to familiarize oneself with the unfamiliar, a place from which to jump, a free resource available to all sans publishers and hefty subscription rates, a resource from which to teach the research and authority process, a resource our students are already using? Why yes!

Here’s an example of how one group of faculty are using Wikipedia to promote their students work and teach the research and writing process:

Here’s an article on how students are already using Wikipedia: