Banned Books Awareness: Library Bill of Rights


My friend over at the Graubner library in Romeo, Michigan just emailed me a copy of the American Library Association\’s \”Library Bill of Rights\”.  I had emailed him about the Banned Books Awareness and Reading for Knowledge project and here is part of what he said to me:

\”In regards to the banned books project you are doing, I like the idea.  I know every year at Graubner we do a nice banned books display and Kezar did a banned books reading last year as well.  The funny thing about it, is that patrons generally think WE banned the books.  Most have no idea how much libraries are against censorship.  The ALA Library Bill of Rights (which I\’ve attached) specifically says, as librarians, it\’s our duty to prevent censorship to allow intellectual freedom and enlightenment.  Why would libraries ever break their own main stream policy?\”


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.

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 that 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.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

A history of the Library Bill of Rights is found in the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual.

© 2011 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions