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American Library Association Code of Ethics
As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the
importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to
the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of
librarians, other professionals providing information services,
library trustees and library staffs.
Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American
Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are
committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the
profession in this changing information environment.
We significantly influence or control the selection,
organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a
political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members
of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the
freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to
ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future
The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to
guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework;
they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular
- We provide the highest level of service to all library users
through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable
service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and
courteous responses to all requests.
- We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist
all efforts to censor library resources.
- We protect each library user's right to privacy and
confidentiality with respect to information sought or received
and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
- We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.
- We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect,
fairness and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment
that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our
- We do not advance private interests at the expense of library
users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
- We distinguish between our personal convictions and
professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to
interfere with fair representation of the aims of our
institutions or the provision of access to their information
- We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and
enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the
professional development of co-workers, and by fostering
the aspirations of potential members of the profession.
Adopted by the ALA Council, June 28, 1995
Adopted by the Trustees of the Jamestown Library, 2001