Intellectual Freedom Policy
Policy Number: 14-52
Policy Approval Date: August 28, 2014
Policy Review Date: August 2017
The Huntsville Public Library Board endorses the Statement on Intellectual Freedom as set out by the Canadian Library Association (CLA) and the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual
CLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom
All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation's Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.
Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.
It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials.
It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee the right of free expression by making available all the library's public facilities and services to all individuals and groups who need them.
Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.
Both employees and employers in libraries have a duty, in addition to their institutional responsibilities, to uphold these principles.
Approved by the Canadian Library Association June 27, 1974; amended November 17, 1983 and November 18, 1985.
The Ontario Library Association (OLA) has also affirmed its support of the principle of intellectual freedom.
OLA Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual
In affirming its commitment to the fundamental rights of intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and the freedom of the press, as embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Library Association declares its acceptance of the following propositions:
- That the provision of library service to the public is based upon the right of the citizen, under the protection of the law, to judge individually on questions of politics, religion and morality.
- That intellectual freedom requires freedom to examine other ideas and other interpretations of life than those currently approved by the local community or by society in general, and including those ideas and interpretations which may be unconventional or unpopular.
- That freedom of expression includes freedom for a creator to depict what is ugly, shocking and unedifying in life.
- That free traffic in ideas and opinions is essential to the health and growth of a free society and that the freedom to read, listen and view is fundamental to such free traffic.
- That it is the responsibility of libraries to maintain the right of intellectual freedom and to implement it consistently in their selection of books, films, recordings, other materials, and in the provision of access to electronic sources of information, including access to the internet.
- That it is therefore part of the library's service to its public to resist any attempt by an individual or group within the community it serves to abrogate or curtail access to information, the freedom to read, view and listen by demanding the removal, or restrictions to library information sources in any format.
- That it is equally part of the library's responsibility to its public to ensure that its selection of materials is not unduly influenced by the personal opinions of the selectors, but determined by the application of generally accepted standards of accuracy, style and presentation.
Approved by the Ontario Library Association, November 7, 1998.