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September 28, 2010 Print

In the American Library Association’s Own Words

by Candi Cushman

• The American Library Association (ALA) “stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read and access them.” Banned Books Week Statement

From the ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement:

• “It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered
dangerous by the majority. … Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy.”

• “It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.”

From the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights:

• “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”

• “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.”

From ALA’s Diversity in Collection Development statement:

• “… policies should not unjustly exclude materials and resources even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user.”

From the ALA’s Diversity Brochure:

• “The association actively promotes equal access to information for all people through libraries and encourages development of library services for diverse populations.”

• “The strength of libraries has always been the diversity of their collections and commitment to serving all people. Libraries of all types—public, school and academic—provide a forum
for diverse ideas and points of view.”

• “As a profession, librarians are committed to providing information and resources that serve the diverse needs of their communities and reflect the diversity of human knowledge and experience.”



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