Saturday, October 2, 2010

State of the Profession: Codes, Guidelines and Governing Bodies

Similar to copyright, the Library Bill of Rights and ALA Code of Ethics are not unfamiliar to me. Even though I've read these documents dozens of times, I am always struck by how these simple statements are so much easier to say than to do. Sure, we can have Right VI memorized. ("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") But what happens when the KKK wants to use the library meeting room? Regardless of what I might think, the Bill of Rights says I must give the KKK the same access to library space as the PTO.

As far as other code of ethics/professional guidelines, I was hoping to find one for SLA (Special Libraries Association). However their website states that "SLA does not have its own Code of Ethics. The Association adheres to all good practices of information delivery. In general, members have felt that their organizational environments have set the work ethics by which they are guided rather than by a professional organization." ( I found this interesting because I had (naively) assumed that every professional organization has some sort of guiding principles document. Anyhou, the SLA website did give links to other library/information organizations that do have such a document. The one I looked at was from AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals): AIIP's Code of Ethical Business Practice seemed very similar to the documents from ALA.

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