Intellectual Freedom Policy

ID#: 
PL_228
Supersedes/Appends/Amends: 
New

Statement of Policy & Text

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. (1)
The SJPL and SJSU Libraries adopt as policy the following:

American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association 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 that 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 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.

Need for the Policy

  • Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. (2)
  • To do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves. (3)
  • The primary mandates of a university—the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and understanding, are absolutely dependent upon academic and intellectual freedom. (4)
  • A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community. (5)

Requirements & Guidelines

  • Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights for more specific situations also apply.
      See References A: Library Bill of Rights & Its Interpretations
  • University Library personnel and the Academic Collections are also governed by University Policy S99-8, Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility (see References below).
  • University Library personnel and the Academic Collections are also governed by University Policy S99-8, Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility (see References below).

Applicable Personnel/Departments

All library personnel and units.

Distributions

Both

Approval(s)

Reviewed and approved by: Signature/Name Date of Approval
KMT   3/10/03
University Library Board   3/10/03
KMT Ruth Kifer, John Wenzler, Mary Nino, Luann Budd, Anne Cain, Neil Rufino, Sandra Stewart, Katie DuPraw 2/21/2013

History & Dates

Category of Policy: Administrative/Operations
Author(s): SJPL Supervising Librarian: Lisa Rosenblum
SJSU Associate Dean: Jo Bell Whitlatch
Authorized by:
Date Written:
Date Effective:
Date(s) of Revision(s):2/23/05, 2/21/2013

References

A. Library Bill of Rights & Its Interpretations
B. ALA Code of Ethics
C. Freedom to Read Statement
D. Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries
E. Intellectual Freedom & Censorship Q&A
F. University Policy S99-8 Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility
G. Exhibit Policy

Notes:

(1) Intellectual Freedom & Censorship Q&A
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) University Policy S99-8 Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility
(5) Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries