Date: May 3, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492, firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Mexico State University Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights and refers to it in its policies and procedures. The Library Bill of Rights is the American Library Association’s statement expressing the rights of library users to intellectual freedom and the expectations the association places on libraries to support those rights.
The Library Bill of Rights was approved by the American Library Association’s Council at its meeting on June 19, 1939, during the Annual Conference in San Francisco. It was modeled on a similar statement written by Forrest Spaulding, the director of the Des Moines Public Library. It has been revised several times since. The Library Bill of Rights was originally introduced with the statement, “Today indications in many parts of the world point to growing intolerance, suppression of free speech, and censorship affecting the rights of minorities and individuals.”
In 1948, the association adopted a major revision and strengthening of the document during a new wave of censorship attempts. In this revision, “age,” along with background, origin, and views, was added to the attributes that should not be a basis for denying access to information. The document was revised again in 1980. In 1996, the American Library Association reaffirmed the inclusion of age as an attribute that should not be the basis for denying access to information.
The Library Bill of Rights affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services:
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. 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.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
Although the articles of the Library Bill of Rights state the basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions can occur regarding the application of these principles to specific library practices. To help answer these questions, the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee has designated a number of documents as interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights. These documents, ALA policies adopted by the ALA Council, are located at http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/librarybill/interpretations/default.cfm.