1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

  3. We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.

  4. We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.

  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.

  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.

  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

SOURCE: See the American Library Association Web site at http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/ethics.html.

the first establishment of public libraries in the United States to the ways in which those libraries fulfill that goal today. It then explores why this community has decided throughout its history that the preservation of privacy is required for it to accomplish that goal. Next, it looks at the ways in which libraries have responded to technological change, with respect to both their primary goal and efforts to secure the privacy of their patrons. Finally, it outlines some of the new technological developments that will affect the practices of librarians and describes actions that the library community is already taking to ensure that it will be able to guarantee the privacy of library patrons in the face of these developments.


Public libraries were established in the United States at a time when the average level of education was not much beyond elementary school,

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