Intellectual Freedom Checklist

HOME: Table of Contents

PREVIOUS: Intellectual Freedom: The Cornerstone of Democracy and Librarianship

Have Regularly Reviewed and Revised Policies and Procedures in Place

_____ Material Selection Policy that clearly defines responsibilities, criteria, and procedures for selection. The library’s Material Selection Policy addresses the problem of controversial materials, outlines procedures for responding to challenges, and contains a “reconsideration form” for challenged materials. The library’s material selection policy includes the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, plus additional documents supporting intellectual freedom.

_____ Service Policy covering exhibits, availability of meeting rooms, and other special services.

_____ Confidentiality Policy that states the library’s position on protecting the privacy of patrons.

_____ Records Retention Schedule that outlines which records with personally identifiable information are used and kept for efficient business operations and for how long.

_____ Internet Use Policy that defines user responsibilities and appropriate use of Internet resources accessed through library computers.

_____ User Responsibilities Policy that defines appropriate patron behavior in library facilities.

_____ Law Enforcement Policy that outlines procedures for handling law enforcement inquiries regarding patrons and patron information.

Provide Regular Training Regarding Intellectual Freedom Issues

_____ Members of the library’s governing body, administration, staff, and other key library supporters are familiar with issues related to libraries and intellectual freedom.

_____ Library staff are familiar with the Material Selection Policy and procedures for responding to challenged materials. They are aware of principles of intellectual freedom and laws that support the “right to know.” They have been trained and are skilled in handling censorship encounters. They know how to practice active listening when handling complaints and they use the library’s Reconsideration Form to gather appropriate details about patron concerns.

_____ Library staff understand the importance of patrons’ right to privacy and open inquiry when using library resources. Patrons’ use of the library and choice of information resources are considered to be confidential.

_____ Library staff understand key laws that impact intellectual freedom, patron privacy, and open access to information.

_____ Library staff are familiar with the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). The library has a program for classifying, archiving, retaining, and disposing of public records according to the requirements of the law. Printed and electronic records related to patron activities are not retained any longer than necessary for smooth and efficient library operations.

_____ Library staff, governing body, administrators, and legal counsel are familiar with the USA Patriot Act. All are familiar with procedures to deal with law enforcement inquiries.

_____ Library staff, governing body, administrators, and legal counsel are familiar with both the federal and state Children’s Internet Projection Act and the impacts on funding and Internet filtering.

Develop Strong Outreach and Public Relations Programs to Build Partnerships and Support in the Community

_____ The library has an active campaign for building public awareness of the need for intellectual freedom in our democratic society. Key media contacts, library supporters, and government officials are aware of “right to know” issues. The library has cultivated allies and promoted a coalition in the community for supporting and defending intellectual freedom. The Library Bill of Rights is promoted as well as defended.

_____ Library staff communicate with colleagues regarding intellectual freedom issues and actively participate in professional associations that promote free and open access to information. Challenges to library materials in print or electronic format are reported to the ULA Intellectual Freedom Committee for statewide monitoring.

NEXT: Building A “Right to Know” Environment in the Library and the Community