Information Standards and Ethics – What is right and wrong in a public library?

Information Standards and Ethics – What is right and wrong in a public library?

Question: “Should a library contain material advocating particular points of views- e.g., Hitler’s Mein Kampf or present day literature on Islamic fundamentalism?”  (Gosling, Hopgood & Lochhead, 2007, pge 133)

In my opinion to the question above, I believe that public libraries should provide for all – children, teens and adults- all knowledge, information, readings and materials to access even if it’s funny, happy, shocking, disturbing and even maddening.  The purpose of the public library is to access all information for individual inquiries and needs while library staff provides service, treat everyone with equal respect, offer different information and access needs and have a balance collection of all aspects of subjects even If individuals or groups do not approve and feel offended to the collection. “The public has equitable access to information, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, and privacy are promoted, protected and respected as being central to an individual’s independence.” (n.p., 2014). No information or materials should not be kept away from the public, if an individual has a history report on Hitler points of views, that individual has the right to have access to that book or article even if the mother or another individual does not feel comfortable for that person to access at. An individual should be able to know what type of character Hitler was, what his main goals are even if it’s sickening and horrible. If people want certain materials that a touchy subject, libraries should be given all the information available to the best of their ability.  If you could eliminate all materials and information that should not be in the collection or have certain individuals access them, then what is the point of having a public library? I just find the question a bit ridiculous because in the end there going to be sensitive materials in the collection that individuals are going to judge, hate and feel offended however every book / materials has its own purpose to an individual who will need for a project, report, and thesis or for the curious minds. It is just how the libraries and librarians presents the collections and has a balance of the collections and that librarians keep their clients inquires and needs secluded.

Work Cited

Gosling, M., Hopgood, E. & Lochead, K. (2007). Library’s education series – Learn about information, “Information Standards and Ethics” (page 133, chapter 13). Total Recall Publications.

The Lyon Declaration on access to information and development. [The Lyon Declaration.] (2014, August).Retrieved from


About Librarian information and Tech at Durham

Librarian Information and Tech
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