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Christina Magnifico LI801XS Instructor: Dr.

Mirah Dow

Intellectual freedom is based on a fundamental belief that a democracy is maintained and improved when ideas can be created and disseminated without government, political, or social impediment. On the basis of readings for this assignment, discuss one of these topics (your choice) pointing out some possible implications for ethical decision-making: intellectual freedom, privacy, intellectual property, professional ethics, and intercultural information ethics. The only way for intellectual freedom to exist, is for society to allow for equal access to unrestricted information and ideas (American Library Association, 2010). Intellectual freedom is not only a core responsibility in the profession of librarianship, but also a human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers (Crystal Reference Encyclopedia, 2005). Though there have been many factors that seek to oppress intellectual freedom, librarians have continued to be valiant defenders of equal and open access to information. Regardless of their personal views, most librarians take the role of information disseminators seriously, adhering to one of the main tenets of the profession of librarianship: a strong stance against censorship.

Christina Magnifico LI801XS Instructor: Dr. Mirah Dow

As Thomas Paine once said, He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself (as cited in American Library Association, 2010). This idea has permeated library culture to its very core and librarians have, as of late, become increasingly concerned with individual rights and censorship of materials. Legislative abuse, stemming from the events of September 11, 2011, began to pick up steam with the introduction of the PATRIOT Act. In response, the ALA declared that the act is a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users (Rubin, 2010, p. 396). The ALA set forth guidelines, to assist those in the profession of librarianship in their ethical decision making. Eight statements make up The American Library Association Code of Ethics, and state the values to which we are committed, and [embody] the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment (, 2013). The ALA Code of Ethics is the foundation on which many libraries build their policies and define their levels of accessibility. The Code also backs the teaching of ethical behaviors and educates students regarding respect for intellectual property, privacy, fair representation and doing no harm (Dow, 2008). Students, both those in the field of library science and outside of the

Christina Magnifico LI801XS Instructor: Dr. Mirah Dow

scope of librarianship, must constantly revaluate the current information situation. As the Internet becomes increasingly more monitored, with the proposed introduction of both SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), individuals must continue to resist efforts to censor access to materials and resources. As champions of individual rights, librarians and information professionals must continue to provide their users with the highest level of service, which requires providing an unbiased and courteous response (, 2013), that may come at the ethical objection of the individual supplying the information. Librarians would stand to follow the slogan adopted by many technology activists, Information wants to be free (as cited in Wagner, 2003). This iconic phrase should be repeated by information professionals as a sort of mantra, guiding everything they do in regards to the proliferation and protection of, not only their profession, but the protection of intellectual freedom for future generations.

Christina Magnifico LI801XS Instructor: Dr. Mirah Dow


American Library Association. Office for Intellectual Freedom. (2010). Intellectual freedom manual (8th ed.). Chicago: American Library Association. American Library Association. (2013) Code of ethics of the American library association. Retrieved March 10, 2013 from Dow, Mirah. (2008). Teaching Ethical Behavior in the Global World of Information and the New AASL Standards. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 25(4), 49-52. Rubin, Richard. (2010). Foundations of library and information science (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (2005). The crystal reference encyclopedia. Retrieved March 10, 2013 from human_rights Wagner, R. (2003). Information wants to be free: Intellectual property and the mythologies of control. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from