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Guiding Principles

Effective Date: September 01, 2017   

Last Revised:  

Review Period:  Annualy

Policy Owner: Library Director

The library has adopted two sets of guiding principles from library professional organizations. These principles guide our work ethic into daily practice:

:: Library Bill of Rights - American Library Association (ALA)

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

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3.  Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4.  Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5.  A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6.  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.

Adopted June 19, 1939.

Amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27,

1967; and January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council

:: Intellectual Freedom - American Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) 

A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community. The purpose of this statement is to provide an interpretation of general intellectual freedom principles in an academic library setting and, in the process, raise consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work.

  1. The general principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights form an indispensable framework for building collections, services, and policies that serve the entire academic community.
  2. The privacy of library users is and must be inviolable. Policies should be in place that maintains confidentiality of library borrowing records and of other information relating to personal use of library information and services.
  3. The development of library collections in support of an institution's instruction and research programs should transcend the personal values of the selector. In the interests of research and learning, it is essential that collections contain materials representing a variety of perspectives on subjects that may be considered controversial.
  4. Preservation and replacement efforts should ensure that balance in library materials is maintained and that controversial materials are not removed from the collections through theft, loss, mutilation, or normal wear and tear. There should be alertness to efforts by special interest groups to bias a collection through systematic theft or mutilation.
  5. Licensing agreements should be consistent with the Library Bill of Rights, and should maximize access.
  6. Open and unfiltered access to the Internet should be conveniently available to the academic community in a college or university library. Content filtering devices and content-based restrictions are a contradiction of the academic library mission to further research and learning through exposure to the broadest possible range of ideas and information. Such restrictions are a fundamental violation of intellectual freedom in academic libraries.
  7. Freedom of information and of creative expression should be reflected in library exhibits and in all relevant library policy documents.
  8. Library meeting rooms, research carrels, exhibit spaces, and other facilities should be available to the academic community regardless of research being pursued or subject being discussed. Any restrictions made necessary because of limited availability of space should be based on need, as reflected in library policy, rather than on content of research or discussion.
  9. Whenever possible, library services should be available without charge in order to encourage inquiry. Where charges are necessary, a free or low-cost alternative (e.g., downloading to disc rather than printing) should be available when possible.
  10. A service philosophy should be promoted that affords equal access to information for all in the academic community with no discrimination on the basis of race, values, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or ethnic background, physical or learning disability, economic status, religious beliefs, or views.
  11. A procedure ensuring due process should be in place to deal with requests by those within and outside the academic community for removal or addition of library resources, exhibits, or services.
  12. It is recommended that this statement of principle be endorsed by appropriate institutional governing bodies, including the faculty senate or similar instrument of faculty governance.

Adopted by ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee: June 28, 1999

Approved by ACRL Board of Directors: June 29, 1999

Adopted by ALA Council July 12, 2000

York College of Pennsylvania, 441 Country Club Road York, PA 17403-3651 (717) 846-7788 Copyright © 2018