This statement is intended to help explain the concept of intellectual freedom and the reasons that the Guilford Free Library collects materials that reflect the interests of a wide variety of citizens. Libraries serve the whole community. That means that this library assumes the responsibility of trying to serve as many needs and interests as possible. Librarians attempt to choose books and other materials using criteria which include accuracy, literary quality, currency, and recreational value.
We do not bar people from gaining access to library services on the basis of their age, sex, race, viewpoint, or any other factor. You would be justifiably angry if we refused to collect and loan materials in which you had great interest (or for which you had a need) because you were too old, too young, or because you held a particular religious belief. Others in the community have the same right to library information. Since different people have different information needs and interests, it is possible that someone will, eventually, be offended by something in the library. In this case, if you are the offended party, please remember that your standards may not be the same as someone else’s and that which is offensive to you may be appealing or educational to your neighbor.
We encourage children to use the library. However, the library does not have the right to act in loco parentis. Therefore, if you are concerned that your children might bring home a book or audiovisual item, which does not meet your personal standards, we urge you to accompany them when they use the library’s collection. We cannot forbid your child to read, hear, or view anything. That is the responsibility of the parent. Our staff is available to help you and your child find materials, which meet your specific needs. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides to every citizen a broad scope of intellectual freedom. Both the Federal courts and professional library associations support free access to ideas. This library is pleased to protect your First Amendment rights by adhering to professional standards. The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their service:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries, which 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.
Robert McCoole, Director
Adopted November 1993. Revised May 1996.