Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chicago History Museum - Code of Ethics

This week, I looked up the code of ethics for the Chicago History Museum and found them to be somewhat similar to the ethics that we as professional librarians must uphold in our own careers. Some points of interest include: "Building and Preserving the Collection," "Engaging our Public," and "Building a Sustainable Institution" (1). I think these are three major points that we as individual librarians also currently deal with (or will someday deal with, depending on our responsibilities in the workplace). We do many of the same things as mentioned in the CHM code of ethics: build and preserve a collection for use by the public to entertain and educate; engage the public, welcome them into the library community, and keep their attention and respect; and create an institution that will stand for years to come, through such things as proper and careful management of finances, materials and technology.

There was also mention in the CHM code of separating private life and opinions from professional duties, taking care to make sure that personal agendas or beliefs don’t get in the way of professional duties. One thing I found interesting about the CHM's code was that it addressed the importance of respecting coworkers: "We will approach our colleagues with respect and empathy for one another’s work, time, safety, and dignity. We will foster a collaborative workplace by actively sharing professional responsibilities while acknowledging our colleagues’ individual areas of expertise" (3).

I also liked that the code stated "Workplace Diversity" as an important aspect to strive for (4). I think, as others have mentioned, that having people from diverse backgrounds (both professionally and culturally) makes for a more interesting and well-balanced workplace environment. Another item of interest was the section on "Deaccessions" wherein the museum would remove items from its collection based on the same set of ideas that librarians use to remove items from library holdings: "The decision to approve deaccession will be based solely on the standards of an item's relevance to the collection, its condition, and obligations set forth by applicable laws" (5). While deaccessioning an item for a museum also entails selling it, some libraries will also sell their items via a bookstore or even online marketplaces (such as Amazon) to earn money that could be used to acquire other materials.

The Chicago History Museum's Code of Ethics can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Erin, thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

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