It’s National Library Week, April 9-15!
People often don’t know much about the work that libraries do, or that there is a Library Bill of Rights. That’s right, we have our own guiding principles that help determine how we serve our patrons and communities. We hope you learn a little big more of our library, our librarians and the Library Bill of Rights during National Library Week.
Throughout National Library Week, the Faculty at Brookens Library will be sharing a blog series expounding on each article of the Library Bill of Rights. Each of the 6 principles in the Library Bill of Rights broadly outlines an ideal that librarians support and upon which they model behavior, practice, and services. As with most ideals, pursuit of the tenets of the Library Bill of Rights is not an effortless task. Each of the points we’ll be discussing come with their own special challenges and obstacles. Today we are featuring Article V.
Article V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
In many ways, libraries are the great equalizer. No matter your educational background, your age, your beliefs, or any other aspect of your identity, libraries are open to all, so that all may obtain the resources they need. Creating and maintaining diverse collections, providing unfiltered access to the Internet, and making costly subscription-based online resources available is our foundation. But these collections and services would be meaningless if we limited access to select groups of people. For that reason, I find article 5 of the Library Bill of Rights to be the most impactful.
As an academic library serving a campus community, our primary focus is the university’s student, staff, and faculty. But our resources and services are not limited to those populations. Our doors are open to all. Research is not exclusively done by those with access to a college education. Using computers and the internet are more increasingly the only way to participate in certain basic functions of daily life, and information literacy is not a skill just for the classroom, but for life. Serving Springfield and beyond is an important part of our job.
This openness extends beyond serving patrons who are not affiliated with our university, but has a much broader scope. Brookens, like all libraries adhering to the Library Bill of Rights, places no limitations on patrons based on their origin, age, background, or views. Just like we make both sides of the issue available in our collections, we make that collection available to those with beliefs on either side of the issue, as well as those in-between and undecided. Additionally, we make no assumptions about what people of particular groups will want or need when providing resources. Instead, deciding what resources are appropriate or of interest is entirely up to each individual to decide, and they will be able to do so without censorship or judgment.
It is our honor to serve our UIS community as well as the community at-large and our responsibility to continue to advocate for their right to access the information all of our patrons need or desire.