Library Code of Conduct
LAKE COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Title: LAKE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM PATRON CODE OF CONDUCT
To guarantee the rights of patrons to a proper atmosphere in their use of the Lake County Library System Member and Branch Libraries by establishing basic rules of conduct.
II. DEFINITIONS AND REFERENCES
A. Member Libraries:
Libraries which meet the "Guidelines and Minimum Standards for Public Libraries Entering the County Library System", Lake County Policy Number LCC-7; and which through their local governing bodies, have entered into an lnterlocal Agreement with Lake County to provide library service to the residents of Lake County. ·
B. Branch Libraries:
Libraries which are funded and operated solely by Lake County Board of County Commissioners to provide library service to its residents and fall under the Library Services Division of the Department of Public Resources.
For library system purposes, an individual sixteen (16) years of age, or older.
A. This policy applies to all Lake County Library System member libraries and branch libraries. Individual member libraries may impose additional rules, if approved by their governing bodies and not in contradiction to this policy.
B. The following activities are prohibited on Library premises:
- Eating or drinking, except in designated areas
- Abusive language
- Inadequate attire (shoes and shirts are required)
- Loitering, panhandling
- Solicitation, campaigning or petitioning unless prior permission has been given by the Library
- Selling merchandise or services on Library property unless sponsored by the Library
- Animals except those approved as working companion animals or for the purposes of Library approved programs
- Disruptive, unsafe or threatening behavior, including harassment of Library personnel and customers.
Depending on the nature, seriousness or recurrence of the offense, persons may be suspended pursuant to Library procedures or staff may contact law enforcement.The following are prohibited on Library premises and will result in immediate expulsion from the Library premises without warning:
- Criminal activity as defined by Florida Statutes
- Inebriation/under the influence of drugs
- Violence or destruction of property
Supervision requirements for children in the Library: The responsibility for the safety, behavior and access to library resources, for children rests with the parent or responsible caregiver.
- Children eight (8) or under must have a parent or caregiver, sixteen (16) years of age or older, within the immediate sight of the child. If the child is attending a children's program, the responsible party must remain in the library. Adults bringing groups of children into the Library must provide supervision for the children throughout their visit.
- If a child under the age of sixteen (16) is disruptive or appears to be ill or in danger, library staff will attempt to locate the child's parent, guardian or caregiver. If the Library staff is unable to locate a responsible party, law enforcement will be contacted to assume responsibility for the child.
- If a child under the age of fourteen (14) is found to be unattended at closing, an effort will be made to locate a parent, guardian or responsible caregiver. If the Library staff is unsuccessful at finding a parent, guardian or responsible caregiver, law enforcement will be called to remove the child from the premises.
IV. APPEALS PROCESS
Any patron, who is suspended or trespassed for 30 days or more, has the right to appeal the decision.
If a patron was trespassed from a member library, the patron must appeal in writing to the Library Director, who must respond in writing within 10 days. A patron may appeal the Director's decision as prescribed by the member library's governing body.
If a patron was trespassed from a county branch library, the patron must appeal within 10 days in writing to the Library Services Division Manager, who must respond in writing within 10 days. If the appeal to the Library Services Division Manager is not satisfactory, the patron may make a final appeal to the Public Resources Director. The Public Resources Director will make a final determination within 14 days of receipt of appeal.
V. RESERVATION OF AUTHORITY
The authority to issue or revise this Policy is reserved to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.
Approved by the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida November 26, 2012
Internet Use and Policy Guidelines
As a member of the Lake County Library System, the Leesburg Public Library follows the Lake County Library System Internet Access Policy. This policy applies to all users of Leesburg Public Library computers or networks.
If you have any questions about the policy or what it means, please contact a librarian for more information.
Number: LCC-45 Cancels: LCC-45, dated June 18, 2002
Approved: October 5, 2010
This document constitutes system-wide policy for public access to the Internet using equipment owned and administered by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners on behalf of the Lake County Library System.
II. DEFINITIONS AND REFERENCES
A. Member Libraries – Libraries which meet the “Guidelines and Minimum Standards for Public Libraries Entering the County Library System,” Lake County Policy Number LCC- 7; and which through their local governing bodies, have entered into an Interlocal Agreement with Lake County to provide library service to the residents of Lake County.
B. Branch Libraries – Libraries which are funded and operated solely by Lake County Board of County Commissioners to provide library service to its residents and fall under the Library Services Division of the Department of Public Resources.
C. Lake County Library System – A public library cooperative made up of the Lake County Library Services Division unit, its branches and member libraries.
D. Internet Blocking Measure – A specific technology that blocks Internet access.
A. The Lake County Library System is pleased to bring Internet access to the residents of Lake County and believes that the Internet offers vast, diverse and unique resources to patrons. Computerized access to information has become an integral part of many library activities. The library plays a unique role in promoting intellectual freedom and serves as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas.
B. Acceptable Use – Acceptable use includes Internet access supporting the instructional, cultural, social, and recreational information needs of the patron. Access to the Internet may only be used for legal purposes. Acceptable and unacceptable use criteria extends to use of e-mail and interactive messaging programs such as chat rooms. Text, graphics, or other files retrieved for research purposes may be viewed on screen, saved to personal media, or printed.
C. Parental Responsibility – Parents or legal guardians of minor children are responsible for their children’s use of the Internet through the Library’s connection. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to read Child Safety on the Information Highway and adopt My Rules for Online Safety for their children. Both documents are incorporated in the policy as “Attachment A” and in the Internet Policy posted on the Lake County Library System website; reprinted and distributed with permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
D. Wireless Internet Access – The Lake County Library System provides free wireless Internet access for the user’s personal laptop computer. Users must have a wireless enabled laptop. Service instructions include:
- Users need to supply and configure their own equipment. Lake County Library System libraries do not check out wireless cards or PDAs.
- Printing and software programs are not available through the wireless connection.
- Library staff cannot provide instruction or assist with setting up the equipment.
- As with most public wireless “hot spots”, the wireless connections at the libraries are not secure. User’s information is not protected while using the wireless connection unless they are connected to a web page that employs encryption. The user is responsible for the security of their files or laptop.
- This Internet Use Policy applies to wireless use also.
- The Lake County Library System libraries do not guarantee the availability of electrical outlets for public use.
- Users may not connect equipment directly to the Library System’s computer network.
- The number of Users who may connect to the wireless access at any one time may be restricted.
F. Unacceptable Use – Examples of unacceptable purposes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Destruction of, or damage to, equipment, software, or data belonging to the library or other users;
- Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications;
- Unauthorized access, including “hacking”;
- Any display of images, sounds or text to intentionally create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others;
- Unlawful activities including, but not limited to, access of visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography – or with respect to the use of computers with Internet access by minors – harmful to minors;
- Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination of copyright-protected material;
- Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors;
- Using library card numbers, computer accounts, access codes, or network identification codes assigned to others.
H. Disclaimer – Since the Internet is a global electronic network not under the control of the Lake County Library System, the Library System cannot regulate the nature of content of the information accessed. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. Users need to be good information consumers, questioning the validity of the information. Internet searchers are responsible for defining the constraints of the search. The availability of information via the Lake County Library System’s Internet service does not constitute endorsement of the content of that information by the Lake County Library System.
The Lake County Library System makes no warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, for the Internet service it is providing. The Lake County Library System assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from the use of its WWW server or from its connections to other Internet services. The Lake County Library System and its Libraries shall not be held accountable for the accuracy or quality of information retrieved via the Internet.
I. The Lake County Library System does not provide electronic mail accounts for patrons.
J. Member and Branch Libraries within the Lake County Library System shall be responsible for developing procedures to implement this policy and may establish additional procedures to prevent overuse of connect time, printing facilities or processing capacity.
K. Member Libraries shall be responsible for setting policy and procedures for public access to the Internet provided that access is using equipment owned and administered by the Member Library.
L. Most Member and Branch libraries limit the time users may use the computers in the libraries. To access the internet at these libraries, the user must use his or her own library card number or guest pass number.
M. The Lake County Library System shall not disclose personally identifiable information about library users except for the purposes of recovering overdue items and fines or to law enforcement authorities as required by law.
N. This policy shall be available for distribution to patrons on the Lake County Library System Web Page, www.mylakelibrary.org
IV. RESERVATION OF AUTHORITY
The authority to issue or revise this Policy is reserved to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.
Welton G. Cadwell
Chairman, Board of County Commissioners Lake County
Service Animal Policy
Leesburg Public Library
ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES – SERVICE ANIMALS
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are welcome and permitted in the Leesburg Public Library.
Definition of Service Animal:
Florida Statute Title XXX, Chapter 413.08 (1)(d) “service animal” means an animal that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work done or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual’s disability and may include, but are not limited to, guiding an individual who is visually impaired or blind, alerting an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, pulling a wheelchair, assisting with mobility or balance, alerting and protecting an individual who is having a seizure, retrieving objects, alerting an individual to the presence of allergens, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability, helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors, reminding an individual with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming an individual with posttraumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack, or doing other specific work or performing other special tasks.
The term “service animal” is limited to a dog or miniature horse. Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.
Service animals are working animals, not pets. The crime-deterrent effect of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for purposes of this definition. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Inquiries, Exclusions, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals:
Florida Statute Title XXX, Chapter 413.08 (3)(b): Documentation that the service animal is trained is not a precondition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. A public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability. To determine the difference between a service animal and a pet, a public accommodation may ask if an animal is a service animal required because of a disability and what work or tasks the animal has been trained to perform. Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the animal, require that the animal demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability,
In order to help maintain a pleasant, productive, and safe environment for all Library users and staff, the following behavioral guidelines for service animals are to be observed:
- Service animals must be in physical proximity with their handler and under handler control at all times.
- Service animals may not be left unattended by their handler at any time.
- Service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times unless the use of a leash or harness interferes with the animal's effective performance of its designated task(s). If the animal cannot be leashed or harnessed, it must be under the handler's control via voice, signals, or other effective means at all times.
- Service animals must not display disruptive behavior such as barking and growling.
- Service animals must be housebroken and their handler is responsible for any upkeep or clean-up of the animal.
If a service animal's behaviors or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to the health or safety of others, or do not conform to these guidelines, it may not remain in the Library facility. In accordance with ADA guidelines, non-compliance of guidelines can be grounds for a request to remove a service animal from the Library facility. If the service animal is excluded from a Library facility, the individual with the disability is welcome to stay and will be reasonably accommodated by Library staff.
Adopted by the City of Leesburg Library Advisory Board on 2 August 2017
Petitions and Solicitation Policy
Petitions and Solicitation Policy
Leesburg Public Library
The Leesburg Public Library has the authority to make reasonable rules that are universally applicable regarding the allowed use of the library building and property, including content-neutral restriction of conduct involving passing out literature. The public sidewalks around the library property are a traditional public forum subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on those wishing to use them for purposes protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
As such, the Library allows people to circulate petitions and distribute leaflets/literature outside the library building, subject to the following rules and regulations:
- Persons circulating petitions for signatures or distributing leaflets/literature may stand on library property; however, they may not engage in collecting signatures or distributing leaflets inside the Library.
- Petition circulation or leaflet/literature distribution must take place outside the library at least fifteen (15) feet from the main entry under roof in any direction.
- Persons circulating petitions and/or leafletting shall not block, hinder, interfere, or otherwise impede persons and staff wishing to enter or exit the library building or to use the book return, nor seek to intimidate patrons or staff into signing a petition or accepting a leaflet.
- Persons circulating petitions for signatures or distributing leaflets/literature may not locate under the building’s awnings on the south and west sides of the building.
- Persons circulating petitions and/or leafletting shall not occupy parking spaces, and must stay clear of traffic lanes and vehicular entrances.
- Persons circulating petitions and/or leafletting are not allowed to place or erect tables, chairs, or signs on library property.
- Persons circulating petitions and/or leafletting may not block doorways, prevent persons from getting in or out of cars, use abusive language, or behave in any way that is harassing or intimidating.
- Only one person at a time is permitted to solicit signatures for a single petition or to distribute leaflets for a single cause.
- No work or petitioning on behalf of candidates for elected office is allowed in the library building or on library property.
- No leafletting or distribution of literature, or solicitation is permitted for the purposes of selling items, merchandise, tickets, or other non-profit activities and services.
- Not-for-profit fundraising activities are not permitted in the library building or on library property by any person or organization when the purpose is to benefit a group or organization other than the Library or the Friends of the Leesburg Library.
- The Library has the right to ask any person circulating petitions or leafletting to provide his or her name and/or supervisor’s name, address, and a copy of the petition or leaflet to Library staff.
- The Library staff, volunteers, Friends of the Library, and members of the Library Advisory Board are exempt from the above constraints in promoting Library activities and issues.
Persons who fail to comply with any of the above policies or procedures will be asked to leave the Library premises and may be barred from the right to circulate petitions or distribute leaflets in the future. The above policies or procedures are to be adhered to at all times, even in inclement weather. Anyone aggrieved by a finding of violation or a penalty imposed for violation shall have the right to appeal the finding or penalty to the City Manager, whose decision shall be final.
The Library will not assume responsibility for any harm or injury suffered by persons circulating petitions or leaflets, or by those who are signing a petition.
The presence of persons circulating petitions or distributing literature outside the Library building does not constitute the Library’s endorsement of any candidate, nor does it constitute support or opposition of the subject matter of any initiative or referendum. The presence of a person circulating petitions, or distributing leaflets outside the Library building does not constitute the Library’s endorsement of the policies, beliefs or political affiliations of any person or group circulating petitions or distributing literature, and no one circulating petitions or distributing literature shall make any statement expressly or impliedly indicating support for their cause by the Library or the City of Leesburg.
These policies are subject to modification during any Special Event for which the City of Leesburg has issued a Special Event Permit (e.g. Art Festival, Bikefest), the venue for which includes the Library property, and during any such Special Event the event coordinator may impose additional rules, up to and including a ban on circulating petitions or the distribution of literature, as may be allowed by the applicable Special Event Permit. Questions concerning these activities during any Special Event must be addressed to the event coordinator, and not the Library staff.
Adopted by the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida
11 May 2020
Collection Development and Management Policy
Leesburg Public Library
COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT POLICY
Approved by the Leesburg City Commission, 8 August 2022
The Leesburg Public Library provides and maintains a balanced and broad collection of materials in appropriate and varied formats for the use and enjoyment of the community as space and financial considerations allow.
The Library Director is responsible to the Library Advisory Board for the selection of materials and development of the collection. Collection management, including decisions about selection, gifts and weeding, is done by professional librarians with an ALA-accredited master's degree in library science (or equivalent), or by qualified staff under their supervision. No employee may be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with this written policy.
- Criteria: Literary merit; enduring value; accuracy; authoritativeness; reputation of the publisher; social significance; importance of subject matter to the collection; timeliness; popular demand; cost; scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere; quality and suitability of the format. Other considerations may be applicable in specific subject areas. Selectors should choose materials that build a well-rounded collection reflecting various viewpoints and While the library does endeavor to support school curricula, textbooks are not collected.
- Tools: Professional journals; trade journals; subject bibliographies; publishers' catalogs and promotional materials; reviews from reputable sources; lists of recommended titles; and purchase
- Replacement: Items damaged beyond reasonable repair, as well as items lost or stolen, are evaluated for withdrawal or An item will be replaced if it is available, affordable, not out-of-date, and if it meets any one or more of the following criteria:
- it is considered part of a core collection, or
- it is in steady demand, or
- it is the best source for information on a relevant topic Items not meeting the above criteria will be
- Withdrawal/Weeding: On a regular and ongoing basis, library staff will evaluate the library's collections based on usage and general wear and Items that are in poor physical condition are evaluated for potential replacement according to the above criteria. Items not meeting those criteria are withdrawn from the collection in order to make room for newer materials. The library reserves the right to dispose of withdrawn items in any manner deemed cost-effective by library staff, including selling them.
- Multiple Copies: The Library purchases multiple copies of titles that have high patron demand and/or broad popular appeal, whenever possible.
- Materials should be purchased in a variety of formats for library patron use
- Multimedia formats are considered and collections established when a significant portion of the community has access to the necessary technology to make use of the format
Gift Materials: The Leesburg Public Library accepts donations of books and other materials only when there are no limiting conditions or restrictions regarding the classification, distribution, use or disposal of the material. Donated materials may be added to the collection in accordance with the library's selection guidelines. Materials not added to the collection may be sold in used book sales or shared with other local organizations. The Library also accepts monetary donations for the purchase of materials for the collection (a gift book or in memoriam). The library's selection guidelines apply to any materials purchased with these funds. The Library reserves the right to accept or discard, at its discretion, any donated materials.
Reevaluation of Library Materials
A singular obligation of the public library is to reflect within its collection differing points of view on controversial or debatable subjects. The Leesburg Public Library does not promote particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply an endorsement of the author's viewpoint. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft. Comments from members of the community about the collection or individual items in the collection frequently provide librarians with useful information about interests or needs that may not be adequately met by the collection. The Library welcomes expression of opinion by patrons, but will be governed by this Collection Development and Management Policy in making additions to or deleting items from the collection.
The following procedures shall be followed when a person whose tax dollars support the Leesburg Public Library requests reevaluation of materials owned by the library.
Patrons who request the reevaluation of library materials must complete and sign the "Request for Reevaluation of Library Materials" form. Upon receipt of the completed and signed Request for Reevaluation form, the Director shall inform the person within two (2) business days that a decision concerning the material shall be made within twenty (20) business days.
The Director will appoint an ad hoc committee from the professional staff including, but not limited to, the selector for the subject area of the item in question and the appropriate Supervisor. The committee will make a written recommendation to the Director who will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. Within the stated time frame, the Library Director will communicate this decision, and the reasons for it, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reevaluation. The Library Director will inform the Library Advisory Board of all requests for Reevaluation of library materials and their disposition.
To appeal the decision of the Library Director a written request for hearing before the Library Advisory Board should be made to the President of the Library Advisory Board within fifteen
(15) business days of receipt of the decision. The person shall be notified, in advance, of the date, time and location of the meeting. The Library Advisory Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for Reevaluation has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Leesburg Public Library. The Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director. All decisions of the Library Advisory Board are final.
While an item or items are being reevaluated and until a final decision has been made, it (they) shall retain its normal place in the library collection.
Attachment 1.: Library Bill of Rights, American Library Association, adopted June 19, 1939, amended January 29, 2019
Attachment 2: The Freedom to Read Statement, American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, adopted June 25, 1953, amended June 30, 2004
Attachment 3: Freedom to View Statement, American Library Association, endorsed June 10, 1990Attachment 4: Request for Reevaluation
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or
- 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.
- All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people's privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961;
June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019. Inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations).
The Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
- Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
- There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self censorship.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, and the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the MP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by:
American Library Association (/)
Association of American Publishers (http://www.publishers.org/)
Subsequently endorsed by:
Freedom to Read Foundation (http://www.ftrf.org)
National Council of Teachers of English (http://www.ncte.org/)
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
Freedom to View Statement
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
- To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
- To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
- To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
- To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
- To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council