Before starting graduate school I had no idea that librarians follow a strict code of ethics.  Perhaps you weren’t aware either.  In fact, the American Library Association first adopted its code of ethics in 1939.  There have been several revisions with the latest being in 2008.  These principles guide librarians in making ethical decisions that best serve all patrons.  The principles focus on non-discrimination, privacy, intellectual freedom, and striving for excellence in the field of information sciences.

The ethical guideline that has resonated over and over with me this semester concerns intellectual freedom and censorship:

II.  We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

The reason this has resonated with me is that I’m studying to be a school media center specialist.  Recently, I’ve heard of many instances of school librarians trying to limit the types of materials students can check out, especially concerning books with young adult content.  I feel that this is quite the slippery slope.  Who determines what is acceptable and what is not?  What are the guidelines for making those determinations?  In my opinion, decisions like these are best left up to parents and guardians.  While that may make for some interesting conversations with parents, having the support of school administration can make all the difference.

The ALA’s code of ethics applies to all librarians, including school media center specialists.  The ALA and its school library division, The American Association of School Librarians, are excellent resources for learning about standards for today’s information specialists.