Ala Code of Ethics

Topics: Library, Librarian, School library Pages: 13 (5458 words) Published: November 13, 2010
In today’s world, individuals can make a single decision that can have a positive or negative effect on their family, coworkers, friends, or on the entire world. However, the life we lead can reflect our personal character. Therefore, personal ethics are different for each one of us. However, when we work in a professional career, we have our own work character to reflect on. What is professional ethics? “Professional ethics concerns the moral issues that arise because of the specialist knowledge that professionals attain, and how the use of this knowledge should be governed when providing a service to the public” (Chadwick 1998). Today, Librarianship is a profession that has a code of professional ethics to help us to behave a certain way or to follow specific way and to follow code of conducts. For example, “as librarians, we library specialists are called upon to make decisions every day. Those decisions chart the course for that particular day and the future, for ourselves and for those we work with. Making the right decisions makes our corner of the world a better place” (Baxter 2008, 27). Therefore, as we recognize how important it is to have a code of ethics, the library associations have a long history of creation and development of ethics for our profession. American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics History

American Library Association (ALA) first discussed code of ethics between 1903 and 1909. Mary Wright Plummer and Charles Knowles Bolton contributed most to the early Code of Ethics. During that time, Mary Wright Plummer was a director of the Pratt Institute Library School and Charles Knowles Bolton was a librarian of the Boston Athenaeum. The Suggested Code of Ethics was released to ALA members in 1930. Its introduction stated: “The library as an institution exists for the benefits of a give constituency. This may be the nation, a state, a county, a municipality, a school or college, a special field of research…, or some more limited group. It may not cover every case that may arise, we believe that if applied intelligently they would make for harmony in staff relations and for general good of the services” (Strugeon, 2007, 56). The Code of Ethics was formally adopted in 1939. During that time, American Library Association adopted Library Bill of Rights in 1948 and The Freedom to Read statement in 1953. Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read are important documents that help form ethical foundation in libraries. Since then, there was a significant change in the economic, social, and political that causes ALA to have a draft code in 1975 and again in 1979. In 1981, the committee began working on revision of the Code of Ethics. An example of this is “this latest revision of the Code of Ethics reflects changes in the nature of the profession and in its social and institutional environment” (ALA). There were six articles included in this version, which is similar to the version ALA has today. In 1991, the committee of ethics began working on the revision by soliciting comments and opinions from several librarian profession members from annual meetings and online surveys. The surprising difference between the 1995 Code of Ethics and others described as, “previous codes were in the impersonal third person: “librarians should” in the 1939 code and “librarians must” in the 1981 code” (ALA). In this code, it also states that librarians should distinguish between their personal and professional ethics. Therefore, personal and professional ethics are incompatible that causes many problems affecting information services. However, “in 2000, the committee began to work on the first explanatory statement of the Code of Ethics, “Questions and Answers on Librarian Speech in the Workplace” (ALA). Nevertheless, the Committee had been referred by the Council on an amendment to the Library Bill of Rights about the free speech rights, which would be a beneficial to librarians. An example...
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