Library Statement

Statement of Library Objective

Every citizen has the right to a library which seeks to understand both his/her needs and his/her wants and which uses every possible means to satisfy them. Through the library, the citizen can encounter the accumulated knowledge of the past, facts about the present, and the ideas that will shape the”A” future. The Little Dixie Regional Libraries is committed to reach out and help each person meet his responsibilities and achieve his personal goals. The primary function of the library is to provide a wide range of materials, skilled staff, and access to many outside sources of information. Resources The library has an obligation to provide, in the local library system, a variety of materials to satisfy the prevalent tastes, needs, reading and language abilities of patrons, as well as a diversity of materials in recognition of minority interests, and changing mores. These include but are not necessarily limited to: -A range of relevant, contemporary materials;
-Differing viewpoints on controversial issues, with all possible representation of unpopular or unorthodox positions. In no case should any material be excluded because of the race, nationality, or the political, religious, or social views of the writer. Materials should not be proscribed or removed from the library shelves because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval;
-A variety of materials for inspirational reading, literary and aesthetic enjoyment and recreational reading, as well as for informational purposes;
-Information and reference materials selectively at the local level and in increasing depth at resource centers in the information network to meet adult curricular and learning needs; supply information on home and family life; provide information on vocations, business, industry and labor, and scientific and technological developments;
-Materials on fundamental political, social and economic questions, and on local national and world affairs;
-Materials to satisfy cultural and aesthetic interest in literature, arts, philosophy and religion;
-The library has a responsibility, through cooperation with other library systems and informational centers, to provide: -Full and prompt access to all recorded fact, opinion and creative effort in whatever physical form seems most useful;
-Materials, which, as far as possible, meet the informational needs of every person in the service area;
-An opportunity to encounter new materials and creative works;
-Cooperative planning with other agencies and community groups for activities to satisfy their needs.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services. I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas. V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views. VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. Adopted June 18, 1948.
Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980,
Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996,
By the ALA Council.

The Freedom to Read

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read. Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary citizen, by exercising critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad. The censors, public and private, assume that they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow citizens. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression. These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy. Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference. Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections. We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights. We therefore affirm these propositions:

 It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but also why we believe it.

 Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation 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 should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

 It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

 There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

 It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any expression the prejudgment of a label characterizing it or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for the citizen. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

 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 inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.

 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, they 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 read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all citizens the fullest of their support. We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours. This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers. Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000 , by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee. A Joint Statement by:
American Library Association and Association of American Publishers

Subsequently Endorsed by:

American Association of University Professors

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

American Society of Journalists and Authors

American Society of Newspaper Editors

Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith

Association of American University Presses

Center for Democracy & Technology

The Children’s Book Council

The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Feminists for Free Expression

Freedom to Read Foundation

International Reading Association

The Media Institute

National Coalition Against Censorship

National PTA

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

PEN American Center

People for the American Way

Student Press Law Center

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States

Prepared by the Interlibrary Loan Committee, Reference and User Services Association, 1994, revised 2001. Approved by the RUSA Board of Directors January 2001.


The Reference and User Services Association, acting for the American Library Association in its adoption of this code recognizes that the sharing of material between libraries is an integral element in the provision of library service and believes it to be in the public interest to encourage such an exchange. In the interest of providing quality service, libraries have an obligation to obtain material to meet the informational needs of users when local resources do not meet those needs. Interlibrary loan (ILL ), a mechanism for obtaining material is essential to the vitality of all libraries. The effectiveness of the national interlibrary loan system depends upon participation of libraries of all types and sizes. This code establishes principles that facilitate the requesting of material by a library and the provision of loans or copies in response to those requests. In this code, “material” includes books, audiovisual materials, and other returnable items as well as copies of journal articles, book chapters, excerpts, and other non-returnable items.

1.0 Definition

1.1 Interlibrary loan is the process by which a library requests material from, or supplies material to, another library.

2.0 Purpose

2.1 The purpose of interlibrary loan as defined by this code is to obtain, upon request of a library user, material not available in the user’s local library.

3.0 Scope

3.1 This code is intended to regulate the exchange of material between libraries in the United States . 3.2 Interlibrary loan transactions with libraries outside of the United States are governed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ International Lending: Principles and Guidelines for Procedure.

4.0 Responsibilities of the Requesting Library

4.1 The requesting library should establish, maintain, and make available to its users an interlibrary borrowing policy. 4.2 It is the responsibility of the requesting library to ensure the confidentiality of the user. 4.3 Some requesting libraries permit users to initiate online ILL requests that are sent directly to potential supplying libraries. The requesting library assumes full responsibility for these user-initiated transactions. 4.4 Requested material should be described completely and accurately following accepted bibliographic practice. 4.5 The requesting library should identify libraries that own the requested material. The requesting library should check and adhere to the policies of potential supplying libraries. 4.6 When no libraries can be identified as owning the needed material, requests may be sent to libraries believed likely to own the material, accompanied by an indication that ownership is not confirmed. 4.7 The requesting library should transmit interlibrary loan requests electronically. 4.8 For copy requests, the requesting library must comply with the U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and its accompanying guidelines. 4.9 The requesting library is responsible for borrowed material from the time it leaves the supplying library until it has been returned to and received by the supplying library. This includes all material shipped directly to and/or returned by the user. If damage or loss occurs, the requesting library is responsible for compensation or replacement, in accordance with the preference of the supplying library. 4.10 The requesting library is responsible for honoring the due date and enforcing any use restrictions specified by the supplying library. The due date is defined as the date the material is due to be checked-in at the supplying library. 4.11 The requesting library should normally request a renewal before the item is due. If the supplying library does not respond, the requesting library may assume that a renewal has been granted extending the due date by the same length of time as the original loan. 4.12 All borrowed material is subject to recall. The requesting library should respond immediately if the supplying library recalls an item. 4.13 The requesting library should package material to prevent damage in shipping and should comply with any special instructions stated by the supplying library. 4.14 The requesting library is responsible for following the provisions of this code. Disregard for any provision may be reason for suspension of service by a supplying library.

5.0 Responsibilities of the Supplying Library

5.1 The supplying library should establish, maintain, and make available an interlibrary lending policy.

5.2 The supplying library should consider filling all requests for material regardless of format, but has the right to determine what material will be supplied on a request by request basis.

5.3 It is the responsibility of the supplying library to ensure the confidentiality of the user.

5.4 The supplying library should process requests in a timely manner that recognizes the needs of the requesting library and/or the requirements of the electronic network or transmission system being used. If unable to fill a request, the supplying library should respond promptly and should state the reason the request cannot be filled.

5.5 When filling requests, the supplying library should send sufficient information with each item to identify the request. 5.6 The supplying library should indicate the due date and any restrictions on the use of the material and any special return packaging or shipping requirements. The due date is defined as the date the material is due to be checked-in at the supplying library.

5.7 The supplying library should ship material in a timely and efficient manner to the location specified by the requesting library. Loaned material should be packaged to prevent loss or damage in shipping. Copies should be delivered by electronic means whenever possible.

5.8 The supplying library should respond promptly to requests for renewals. If the supplying library does not respond, the requesting library may assume that a renewal has been granted extending the due date by the same length of time as the original loan.

5.9 The supplying library may recall material at any time.

5.10 The supplying library may suspend service to a requesting library that fails to comply with the provisions of this code.


Last Revised: February 5, 2004 Copyright © 2004, American Library Association

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