Sunday, October 3, 2010

State of the Profession

Whoa, the Abbott article was written more than 10 years ago, but how prophetic! There are too many "truths" to address in this blog entry, but two that affect my public library world are the following:

1) As a profession, we embrace generalists and a federated structure. I LOVE the fact that my MLS colleagues have such diverse educational and professional histories. When hiring at all levels in my own library, I think it's wonderful to have a rich tapestry of backgrounds. Everyone brings a unique skill set to the table.
2) Librarians need to embrace change and deal with it; for example, the expanding visual culture, increasing technology and those who use it.

Regarding the ALA Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights, I am always amazed by the profound effect of the "tweaking" of a couple words on the intent of the document. If you haven't taken the SLIS Intellectual Freedom class, I highly recommend it. It was fascinating to study the evolution of the ALA's philosophical statements.

I looked at the "Ethics Statement for Public Library Trustees" in Illinois from the Trustee Facts File:
􏰀 Trustees in the capacity of trust upon them,shall observe ethical standards with absolute truth, integrity and honor.
􏰀 Trustees must avoid situations in which personal interests might be served or financial benefits gained at the expense of library users, colleagues, or the situation.
􏰀 It is incumbent upon any trustee to disqualify himself/herself immediately whenever the appearance or a conflict ofinterest exists.
􏰀 Trustees must distinguish clearly in their actions and statements between their personal philosophies and
attitudes and those of the institution,acknowledging the formal position ofthe board even if they personally disagree.
􏰀 A trustee must respect the confidential nature of library business while being aware of and in compliance with applicable laws governing freedom of information.
􏰀 Trustees must be prepared to support to the fullest the efforts of librarians in resisting censorship of library materials by groups or individuals.
Trustees who accept library board responsibilities are expected to perform all of the functions of library trustees.

Although this statement appears in our library's board bylaws, we've had a recent incident (see my "Challenged Book Report") where a trustee seems to have "forgotten" it.

1 comment:

  1. Kathy, I'm curious -- do trustees take some sort of "oath"? I would think they would ...