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Policy 42: MU Libraries’ Code of Ethics for Library Staff

University of Missouri Libraries

General Policy Manual Policy No. 42

MU Libraries’ Code of Ethics for Library Staff

  • Introduction
    • Since 1939, the American Library Association (ALA) has recognized the importance of codifying and making known to the public and the profession the principles which guide library staff in their actions. The 1981 revision of the CODE OF ETHICS, the most recent promulgated by ALA, reflects changes in the nature of the profession and its social and institutional environment. It will be revised and augmented as necessary by ALA.
    • Library Staff significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge and information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, library staff are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. Library staff have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.
    • Library Staff are dependent upon one another for the bibliographical resources that enable them to provide information services, and they have obligations for maintaining the highest level of personal integrity and competence.
    • The MU Libraries have as a goal for the staff adherence to the ALA CODE OF ETHICS.
  • Code of Ethics
    • Library Staff must provide the highest level of service through appropriate and usefully organized collections, fair and equitable circulation and service policies, and skillful, accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests for assistance.
    • Library Staff must resist all efforts by groups or individuals to censor library materials.
    • Library Staff must protect each user’s right to privacy with respect to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired.
    • Library Staff must adhere to the principles of due process and equality of opportunity in peer relationships and personnel actions.
    • Library Staff must distinguish clearly in their actions and statements between their personal philosophies and attitudes and those of an institution or professional body.
    • Library Staff must avoid situations in which personal interests might be served or financial benefits gained at the expense of library users, colleagues, or the employing institution.
  • Revision
    • This Code of Ethics will be revised as necessary to reflect any changes adopted by the American Library Association.

Sponsored by Paula Roper
Submitted to Library Council: November 7, 1991
Approved by Library Council: December 5, 1991
Approved by the Director of Libraries: December 5, 1991