502. Freedom to Read
Originally adopted June 2007. Current version adopted September 2019. Next review, September 2022.
The freedom to read and view, free of censorship or pressure, is the right of all citizens in a democracy. The Marshall-Lyon County Library embraces American Library Association (ALA) statements on the Freedom to Read and View as an essential guide, along with ALA’s Bill of Rights in creating a balanced and robust collection.
The Freedom to Read
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
- Publishers, librarians, and book sellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated.
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, publishers and librarians can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one, the answer to a bad idea is a good one.
The Freedom to View
The freedom to view, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore, we affirm these principles:
- It is in the public interest to provide the broadest possible access to films and other audiovisual materials because they have proven to be among the most effective means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
- It is in the public interest to provide for our audiences, films and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expressions. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
- It is our professional responsibility to resist the constraint of labeling or prejudging a film on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
- It is our professional responsibility to contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.