Librarians all over the world are well aware of their profession’s ethical implications. In more than 60 countries library associations have developed and approved a national code of ethics for librarians.
During 2011 and 2012 a working group from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) drafted and consulted extensively on an international code of ethics for librarians, drawing on hundreds of comments from IFLA members and non-members.
Finally, the IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers was approved endorsed in August 2012. The Code is presented in two versions: a long, comprehensive version, and a shorter version for quick reference.
Related professions like archivists and museum professionals do have international codes of ethics, but until now librarians did not have a similar document. This code is not intended to replace existing codes or to remove the obligation on professional associations to develop their own codes.
This Code reflects principles generally accepted by librarians and aims at:
- encouraging reflection on principles on which librarians and other information workers can form policies and handle dilemmas;
- improving professional self-awareness;
- providing transparency to users and society in general.
The whole ethos of the document is both, the service to society and individuals, and the commitment to neutrality, personal integrity and professional skills.
“(…) The core mission of librarians and other information workers is to ensure access to information for all for personal development, education, cultural enrichment, leisure, economic activity and informed participation in and enhancement of democracy (…).”
“(…) Librarians and other information workers are strictly committed to neutrality and an unbiased stance regarding collection, access and service. Neutrality results in the most balanced collection and the most balanced access to information achievable (…).”
Certainly librarians observe an ethical adherence to society and to their profession.