This webpage has been prepared by the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Library Association of Alberta to provide information and assistance to library workers and trustees.
It is the purpose of libraries to support free access to ideas, to promote public information and to foster enlightenment.
These goals are accomplished through a collection that includes the widest diversity of views and expressions including those which are unorthodox and orthodox, populart and unpopular, from whatever viewpoint. A rigorous adherence to the principle of intellectual freedom protects these important rights.
Intellectual Freedom in Action
To ensure that the foundations for these freedoms are established in your community:
1. Include as part of your library's policy:
(a) The Canadian Library Association Statement on Intellectual Freedom and the LAA Statement of Intellectual Freedom;
(b) The Book and Periodical Council Statement on Freedom of Expression and the Freedom to Read;
(c) A statement of "open access" specifying that materials are equally available to all members of the community;
(d) A statement ensuring that access to materials of a controversial nature will not be restricted;
(e) A statement indicating that the responsibility to control access to library materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians.
2. Develop a collection policy that:
(a) Describes the scope and type of materials included and excluded;
(b) Clearly establishes the delegated responsibility of the librarian to collect materials within the guidelines;
(c) Includes a statement regarding donations and policies for withdrawing and discarding materials;
(d) Contains a procedure for reconsideration of materials that includes a clearly defined method of handling complaints;
(e) Establishes as a goal a collection that includes the widest diversity of views and expressions including those which may be considered unorthodox or unpopular.
3. Adopt the Canadian Library Association Code of Ethics.
4. Defend the principle of freedom to read, not the individual item.
5. Consult the LAA Intellectual Freedom Committee.
For more information about LAA & Intellectual Freedom, email Brian Jackson, Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair by clicking here.