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It's not just privacy, porn, and pipe-bombs: Libraries and the ethics of service
 

It's not just privacy, porn, and pipe-bombs: Libraries and the ethics of service

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Slides from an 10/12/12 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Invited to speak as part of Ethics Awareness Week. Thank you to UIUC libraries, the GSLIS, and the National Center for ...

Slides from an 10/12/12 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Invited to speak as part of Ethics Awareness Week. Thank you to UIUC libraries, the GSLIS, and the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/400280705/
  • Masters in Philosophy (ABD).Thesis in metaethics.Taught ethics and professional ethics for five years.http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifmuth/606128545/
  • UTCFour years in reference and instructionLupton Library as service oriented http://www.flickr.com/photos/fkehren/6356980307
  • The blog post that lead to the invite. My argument was that most of the literature I was reading on ethics wasn’t applicable to the librarian/patron interaction.Most of the lit was about privacy, pipe-bombs, copyright, etc.
  • It’s fun to talk about pipe-bombs, privacy, and porn. But that shouldn’t obscure the more mundane day-to-day dilemmashttp://www.flickr.com/photos/dkshots/5331436372/
  • I want to talk about the ordinary, boring ethical dilemmas.Ethics of service: how should we balance competing ethical demands in the pursuit of serving our patrons and communities?http://www.flickr.com/photos/siuto717/2624612655/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmtucker/6876238869/
  • BUT FIRST, SOME ETHICAL DILEMMAS TO SET THE STAGEhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/-bast-/349497988/
  • PUBLIC LIBRARY CIRCULATION DESKTwo women come to the circulation desk. Each wants to check out one book but each has had their library privileges suspended until they pay off a $20 fine.The first woman fell in love with the Harry Potter series and simply “has to be allowed to check out the final book”. She’s got $20, but was hoping to use the money to buy a pumpkin spice latte.The second woman recently lost her job and is studying for the GED. She wants to check out the final study guide since the test is next week. She has $20, but was hoping to use the money to buy groceries.Would you treat these women differently?
  • MEDICAL LIBRARYA child is diagnosed with a rare tumor behind her eye and the doctors have recommended a specific course of treatment. The parents come to a medical librarian to ask what the treatment entails. The librarian quickly ascertains that the treatment involves the surgical removal of half of the child’s face, leading to partial blindness and permanent disfigurement. The treatment is so shocking that the librarian refuses to show the parents, claiming “I can’t really find anything. You should probably ask your doctor.”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmdrcord/5184417225/
  • A graduate student is in desperate need of an article from a journal to which your library does not subscribe. Her paper is due in three days and she was given specific instructions by her advisor to include this article. She attempted to request the article via interlibrary loan, but the ILL department made a mistake and sent the wrong article. As a new librarian, you still have access to the online library collections at the large R1 university you attended for library school, so you could easily download the article for her, from a different university. Should you?
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopdown/2105252468/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/233836385/A son comes to the library and asks for a list of currently checked-out books from his elderly mother who has Alzheimer’s.
  • We have PII freely available in our microfiche collection. Are we morally obligated to remove this PII?Are we obligated to spend the time and resources it would take to go through every microfiche record individually?http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/4020355773/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittysfotos/6362818709/
  • Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavale/5439074678/
  • PROFESSIONAL CODESOur professional codes of ethics are a good starting point.But there are a few problems.Problem 1:These are VALUES STATEMENTS approved by the professional organization to describe the values inherent in librarianship.This is great for policy decisions. And great for understanding the social role of the librarian. Not so great when deciding whether to give out the wifi password.
  • PROFESSIONAL CODESProblem 2:These values are PRIMA FACIE not ABSOLUTE.A distinction raised by W.D. Ross (though “prima facie” is not the best choice of term. Maybe “pro tanto”?)These obligations only hold insofar as there are not countervailing obligations.We should respect privacy “all things considered” (ceteris paribus?)It’s even written into the code: “they cannot and do not dictate conduct…”The important part is that even if we were to take these as absolute, they often come into conflict with each other and with the common morality. How should we sort out these conflicts?
  • And when we do attempt to provide an ethics of service, we act like librarians: 53 bullet points, 1555 words. Too much detail and not enough guidance.Many librarians want a checklist, but checklists are unwieldy and they simply cannot cover every possible situation.Remember, dilemmas arise when values come into conflict.
  • Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavale/5439074678/
  • PROFESSIONAL TRAININGI looked up the current textbooks required at the Illinois GSLIS.Quoting Bopp and Smith’s Reference and Information Services…I’m still waiting for my pipe-bomb making emo kid to ask for help.
  • PROFESSIONAL TRAININGProblem 1:In pedagogical situations, we often use EXTREME EXAMPLES as INTUITION PUMPS.Nothing wrong with that.But, at least in philosophy, we use these intuition pumps to refine our theoriesThe problem is that the vast majority of our ethical lives are nowhere near so dramatic.
  • What about our sense of social justice and activism?Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavale/5439074678/
  • SOCIAL FUNCTION ARGUMENTSMany librarians attempt to frame our obligations in terms of a broader commitment to change society.We are obligated to actively, vigorously promote democracy, pluralism, and progressive values.Problem 1:Social justice is rarely at issue at the point of service.Problem 2:It’s not even clear how we’re supposed to improve society. Like, “okay, that’s my mission…now how should I do it?”Again, ethical dilemmas arise when values come into conflict. Even if we become radical social activist librarians, we will still need to balance competing moral demands.
  • Here’s the thing…We NEED the official codes of ethics because they describe both our values as well as the responsibilities society has entrusted with us.We NEED to know what we stand for as professionals.PROFESSIONAL CODES GIVE US OUR DEFAULT POSITION.http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanhiker/3118483/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • Likewise, we NEED to discuss extreme examples.Extreme ethical dilemmas are intuition pumps that help circumscribe our ethical commitments.WE NEED TO ANALYZE OUR ETHICAL COMMITMENTS AND THESE THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS CAN HELP US DO THAT.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trip-wire_pipe_bomb.jpg
  • We NEED to embrace our activist selves.We play a social role and part of that role is improving our communities.http://www.flickr.com/photos/smoovey/6231785640/
  • But, we’ve also got the mundane dilemmas like library fines and library log-ins.http://www.flickr.com/photos/yuan2003/493426860/
  • THE POINT OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IS NOT TO CREATE A CHECKLIST FOR WHAT TO DO IN SITUATIONS X, Y, Z, AND SO ON.THE POINT OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IS TO DEVELOP A CRITICALLY REFLECTIVE AND PRINCIPLED APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING THE UNIQUE MORAL COMMITMENTS THAT ARISE OUT OF OUR STATUS AS PROFESSIONALS.http://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/2941655917/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocs_camp/3525565217/
  • Common morality is the general, universal morality. Community specific morality is what binds particular groups. Examples include religious food restrictions, differing cultural greeting practices, or, in our case, professional ethics.It’s worth pointing out that…We exist as members in many communities (me: librarian, academic, male, white, American, human, etc.)When most people talk about universal moral rules, they are usually appealing to a community specific morality.Many of our community norms mirror universal norms. (e.g., “don’t murder people”)IMPORTANT: THE COMMON MORALITY TRUMPS COMMUNITY SPECIFIC MORALITIES.
  • Professional ethics is a special case of applied ethics.It’s the application of normative ethical theory to a specified professional environmentwith the aim of developing a community-specific set of moral norms, ideals, and virtues.https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenyee/452452505/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/759335987/
  • Our role is socially constructed by a community.Communities have needs that require dedicated agents; for example, we construct the role of firefighter because we need people to put out fires. We construct the role of librarian because we need someone to organize and make accessible the social transcript.http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmondkavanagh/2189526652/
  • The social role we have been granted is a function of our expertise.Librarians have specific skills relating to organizing and accessing information.This expertise is what grounds our role in society.No expertise = No social rolehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/raster/3380860520/
  • We are tasked with making decisions on behalf of others. Importantly, when we interact with community members, we are tacitly assuming some of their decision-making responsibility.NOT paternalistic (See Charles Bunge)
  • Finally, given our professional status, we are also given the ability to enter into certain contracts.Some of these are literal contracts, like database vendor contracts.Some of these are organizational agreements, like faculty handbooks.Some are quasi-contractual, like copyright legislation or other laws.At all times, we should remember that as professionals we have special powers and responsibilities, but with those special powers come certain practical obligations.NOTE: Adhering to legal and quasi-legal contracts is a practical rather than ethical matter.However, practical matters can have an effect on how BLAME- or PRAISEWORTHY our decisions are.http://www.flickr.com/photos/julishannon/2434691031/
  • Librarians are professionals. That is to say, librarians have a set of skills and or expertise that are valuable to a community.Patrons don’t come to us because we’re nice, because we’re social reformers, because we’re defenders of intellectual freedom.Patrons come to us because of our expertise.We can find stuff.http://www.flickr.com/photos/dana_d/3834805379/
  • The ethical framework I’d like to present is based on our roles as professionals. We have been entrusted with a social role,That role is a function of our expertise, And that manifests in decision-making authority.For which we have practical as well as ethical considerationshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/2941655917/
  • I think the best way to think about an ethics of service is to tie our ethical commitments to our professional status.Each of the four properties of a professional has a corollary in ethical practice.http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/5623339500/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctory_1s_m1ne/3416173688/
  • I know privilege can sometimes carry a negative connotation.All I mean is that we owe our professional status to external social conventions.We aren’t in a vacuum. The first thing we should always ask is what we are doing to uphold our responsibilities to the communities that have entrusted us with our professional status.http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephendann/3769037680/
  • The first thing we should always ask is what we are doing to uphold our responsibilities to the communities that have entrusted us with our professional status.As a vital part of a community, your decisions support and are supported by a complex framework.[EXAMPLE: DO WE DELIVER?]Not only do we have obligations to help students, but both the student AND the librarian are working within an academic community.We both have obligations to the educational mission of the university in general, and the faculty more specifically.http://www.flickr.com/photos/furlined/6744550629
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/4st4roth/2366615948/
  • Of course, sometimes our common morality goes wrong.For example, if we weren’t critically and ethically reflective, our libraries would still be segregated.Which is why the privilege and moral responsibility to which we must adhere is abstract rather than concrete.Following Rawls, we must critically evaluate our ethical and moral commitments from behind the veil of ignorance.[Explain Rawls and the original position]So, we aren’t beholden to our stakeholders simpliciter. Rather, we’re beholden to the moral norms, ideals, and virtues that arise from the original position.Our professional status is defined from behind the veil of ignorance.http://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/174926996/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/spkbxxx/7380245890/
  • You have been given responsibilities because you are an expert.So, it pays to know what your skills are in the first place!Surprisingly, this is easier said than done.Don’t exceed your area of expertise.The value of staying educated.KnowledgePhoto courtesy of Oldtasty on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldtasty/5521266/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • This may sound obvious, but it happens all the time: don’t exceed your expertise.Don’t waste 20 minutes of a patron’s time while you learn how to find what they need.Don’t try to be their lawyer, unless you are one.Don’t be their counselor, unless you are one.If you can’t help a patron, find someone who can.Even more egregious, though common, are those librarians who simply don’t feel like helping, even though they can.The librarians who say something like, “Oh, there aren’t any articles on that topic.”(You’d be surprised at what exists if you have the skills to look for it. It’s exceedingly difficult to prove nonexistence.)http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellowbookltd/1434024872/
  • [EXAMPLE: THE SURGERY]In the absence of other moral considerations, it isn’t appropriate to withhold your skills.In the same vein, if someone asks for political materials for which you disagree, you are obligated to help.http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathbrandon/3187174516/
  • You have been entrusted on the basis of your skills and expertise.But expertise is not static.In order to honor your professional commitments, you must stay up to date.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christer_Fuglesang_underwater_EVA_simulation_for_STS-116.jpg
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tronathan/3261646052/
  • The professional relationship is a fiduciary one. (Bunge, 1999)That is, the patron must be treated as a responsible agent and his or her judgments must be given consideration.Your only advantage is in your specialized skillset; don’t take that for granted.http://www.flickr.com/photos/colinjagoe/5979153931/
  • You have been granted temporary decision making responsibilities.http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicspics/786074258/
  • You must not infringe on the autonomy that has not been ceded.It is not up to us what our patron’s best interests.If they want anti-vaccine articles, we can’t withhold them out of paternalistic motives.(Though we can offer debunking articles as well as anti-vaccine resources)http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomx20/2970274826/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/wink/479024061/
  • You have both formal and informal contracts into which you’ve entered.Ranging from the laws of the State to the employee handbooks of your city, university, hospital, library, etc.Familiarize yourself with your formal and informal contractual environment.http://www.flickr.com/photos/71167649@N03/6435866935/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/49024304@N00/47244105/
  • [EXAMPLE: ERIC DOCUMENTS]http://www.flickr.com/photos/puppiesofpurgatory/3898011217
  • Sometimes its about praise and blame.We can do the wrong thing, yet not be blameworthy.We can do the right thing and not be praiseworthy.Etc.http://www.flickr.com/photos/zen/3639728995/
  • JusticeKnowledgeAutonomyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/theilr/345056969/
  • Thinking back to our discussion of the law and other contracts, we must also ask these questions.These are practical, rather than ethical issueshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/theilr/345056969/
  • You’re a professional, so act like it!http://www.flickr.com/photos/deathtogutenberg/798918705/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville/5157879240/

It's not just privacy, porn, and pipe-bombs: Libraries and the ethics of service It's not just privacy, porn, and pipe-bombs: Libraries and the ethics of service Presentation Transcript

  • It’s Not Just Privacy, Porn, & Pipe-Bombs: Libraries & the ethics of service Lane Wilkinson October 12, 2012 Ethics Awareness Week The National Center forPhoto by emdot on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Professional and Research Ethics
  • Bona fides Photo by ifmuth on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Hi, y’all!Photo by Lawson Whitaker
  • It’s fun to talk about bombs Photo by dkshots on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
  • I want to talk about service Photo by siuto717 on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • What I want to talk about• Where do we go for professional ethics?• What is ethics anyway?• What’s professionalism?• The ethics of library service. Photo by kmtucker on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • FIRST, SOME DILEMMAS… Photo by Stefan Baudy on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • A circulation dilemma: Fifty Shades and the G.E.D. Photo by JMAZ on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • A reference dilemma:The surgery Photo by cmdrcord on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • A reference dilemma:Should you use your library school log-in?
  • A reference dilemma:Do we deliver? Photo by jessie.millan on Flickr, CC BYY2.0
  • A circulation dilemma: The list of books Photo by vincealongi on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • A library dilemma:What are we doing about our ERIC documents on microfiche? Photo by Mr. T in DC on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
  • WHERE DO WE GOFOR OURPROFESSIONALETHICS? Photo by kittysfotos on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • Our professional codes? Photo by cavale on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • I. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.II. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom…III. We protect each library users right to privacy…IV. We respect intellectual property rights…V. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect…VI. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users…VII. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties…VIII. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills…
  • “The principles of this Code areexpressed in broad statements toguide ethical decision making.These statements provide aframework; they cannot and donot dictate conduct to coverparticular situations.”
  • RUSA Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers1.0 Approachability 3.0 Listening/Inquiring. The reference interview is the heart of the reference transaction and is crucial to the success of the process. The librarian must be effective in identifying the patrons information needs and must do so in aIn order to have a successful reference transaction, patrons must be able to identify that a reference librarian is available to provide assistance and also must feel manner that keeps patrons at ease. Strong listening and questioning skills are necessary for a positive interaction. As a good communicator, the librarian:comfortable in going to that person for help. In remote environments, this also means placing contact information for chat, email, telephone, and other services in Generalprominent locations, to make them obvious and welcoming to patrons. Approachability behaviors, such as the initial verbal and non-verbal responses of the librarian, 3.1 Communicates in a receptive, cordial, and encouraging manner.will set the tone for the entire communication process, and will influence the depth and level of interaction between the staff and the patrons. At this stage in the 3.2 Uses a tone of voice and/or written language appropriate to the nature of the transaction.process, the behaviors exhibited by the staff member should serve to welcome the patrons and to place them at ease. The librarians role in the communications 3.3 Allows the patrons to state fully their information need in their own words before responding.process is to make the patrons feel comfortable in a situation that may be perceived as intimidating, risky, confusing, and overwhelming. 3.4 Identifies the goals or objectives of the user’s research, when appropriate. 3.5 Rephrases the question or request and asks for confirmation to ensure that it is understood.To be approachable, the librarian: 3.6 Seeks to clarify confusing terminology and avoids excessive jargon. 3.7 Uses open-ended questioning techniques to encourage patrons to expand on the request or present additional information. Some examples of such questions include:General ! Please tell me more about your topic.1.1 Establishes a "reference presence" wherever patrons look for it. This includes having Reference Services in a highly visible location and using proper signage (both ! What additional information can you give me?in the library and on the librarys Web site) to indicate the location, hours, and availability of in-person and remote help or assistance. ! How much information do you need?1.2 Is poised and ready to engage approaching patrons. The librarian is aware of the need to stop all other activities when patrons approach and focus attention on the 3.8 Uses closed and/or clarifying questions to refine the search query. Some examples of clarifying questions are:patrons needs. ! What have you already found? ! What type of information do you need (books, articles, etc.)?1.3 Acknowledges others waiting for service. ! Do you need current or historical information?1.3.1 Employs a system of question triage to identify what types of questions the patrons have when more than two patrons are waiting. Frequently asked questions, 3.9 Maintains objectivity and does not interject value judgments about subject matter or the nature of the question into the transaction.brief informational questions, directional questions, and referrals can be answered quickly, allowing more time to devote to in-depth reference questions. RemoteIn Person 3.10 Uses reference interviews or Web forms to gather as much information as possible without compromising user privacy.1.4 Establishes initial eye contact with patrons, and acknowledges the presence of patrons through smiling and attentive and welcoming body language. 4.0 Searching1.5 Acknowledges patrons through the use of a friendly greeting to initiate conversation, and by standing up, moving forward, or moving closer to them. The search process is the portion of the transaction in which behavior and accuracy intersect. Without an effective search, not only is the desired information unlikely to be found, but patrons may become1.6 Remains visible to patrons as much as possible. discouraged as well. Yet many of the aspects of searching that lead to accurate results are still dependent on the behavior of the librarian. As an effective searcher, the librarian:1.7 Roves through the reference area offering assistance whenever possible. Librarians should make themselves available to patrons by offering assistance at their Generalpoint-of-need rather than waiting for patrons to come to the reference desk. To rove successfully, the librarian should: 4.1 Finds out what patrons have already tried, and encourages patrons to contribute ideas. 4.2 Constructs a competent and complete search strategy. This involves:1.7.1 Be mobile. Get the patrons started on the initial steps of their search, then move on to other patrons. ! Selecting search terms that are most related to the information desired.1.7.2 Address the patrons before addressing their computer screen. Patrons are more likely to confide in librarians and discuss their needs if they do not perceive the ! Verifying spelling and other possible factual errors in the original query.librarians as "policing" the area. ! Identifying sources appropriate to the patrons need that have the highest probability of containing information relevant to the patrons query.1.7.3 Approach patrons and offer assistance with lines such as, "Are you finding what you need?" "Can I help you with anything?" or "How is your search going?" 4.3 Explains the search strategy and sequence to the patrons, as well as the sources to be used.1.7.4 Check back on the patron’s progress after helping them start a search. 4.4 Attempts to conduct the search within the patrons’ allotted time frame. 4.5 Explains how to use sources when appropriate.1.7.5 If the reference desk has been left unattended, check back periodically to see if there are patrons waiting for assistance there. 4.6 Works with the patrons to narrow or broaden the topic when too little or too much information is identified.Remote 4.7 Asks the patrons if additional information is needed after an initial result is found.1.8 Should provide prominent, jargon-free links to all forms of reference services from the home page of the librarys Web site, and throughout the site wherever 4.8 Recognizes when to refer patrons to a more appropriate guide, database, library, librarian, or other resource.research assistance may be sought out. The Web should be used to make reference services easy to find and convenient. 4.9 Offers pointers, detailed search paths (including complete URLs), and names of resources used to find the answer, so that patrons can learn to answer similar questions on their own. In Person 4.10 Accompanies the patrons in the search (at least in the initial stages of the search process).2.0 Interest RemoteA successful librarian must demonstrate a high degree of interest in the reference transaction. While not every query will contain stimulating intellectual challenges, 4.11 Uses appropriate technology (such as co-browsing, scanning, faxing, etc.) to help guide patrons through library resources, when possible.the librarian should be interested in eachpatrons informational need and should be committed to providing the most effective assistance. Librarians who demonstrate a high level of interest in the inquiries of 5.0 Follow-uptheir patrons will generate a higher level of satisfaction among users. To demonstrate interest, the librarian: The reference transaction does not end when the librarian leaves the patrons. The librarian is responsible for determining if the patrons are satisfied with the results of the search, and is also responsible forGeneral referring the patrons to other sources, even when those sources are not available in the local library. For successful follow-up, the librarian: General2.1 Faces the patron when speaking and listening. 5.1 Asks patrons if their questions have been completely answered.2.2 2.2 Focuses attention on the patrons. 5.2 Encourages the patrons to return if they have further questions by making a statement such as “If you don’t find what you are looking for, please come back and we’ll try something else.”In Person 5.3 Roving (see 1.7) is an excellent technique for follow-up.2.3 Faces patrons when speaking and listening. 5.4 Consults other librarians or experts in the field when additional subject expertise is needed. 5.5 Makes patrons aware of other appropriate reference services (email, etc.).2.4 Maintains or re-establishes eye contact with patrons throughout the transaction. 5.6 Makes arrangements, when appropriate, with the patrons to research a question even after the reference transaction has been completed.2.5 Signals an understanding of patrons’ needs through verbal or non-verbal confirmation, such as nodding of the head or brief comments or questions. 5.7 Refers the patrons to other sources or institutions when the query cannot be answered to the satisfaction of the patron.Remote 5.8 Facilitates the process of referring patrons to another library or information agency through activities such as calling ahead, providing direction and instructions, and providing the library and the patrons with as such information as possible about the amount of information required, and sources already consulted.2.6 Maintains or re-establishes "word contact" with the patron in text-based environments by sending written or prepared prompts, etc., to convey interest in the 5.9 Takes care not to end the reference interview prematurely.7patrons question. Remote2.7 Acknowledges user email questions in a timely manner. 5.9 Suggests that the patrons visit or call the library when appropriate.2.8 States question-answering procedures and policies clearly in an accessible place on the Web. This should indicate question scope, types of answers provided, andexpected turnaround time. 53 bullet points. 1,555 words.
  • Our professional training? Photo by cavale on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • “ethical questions suchas the provision ofinformation that hasthe potential to harmsociety (e.g., how tobuild a bomb) are nowconcrete issues thatreference librariansencounter in their dailylives” (p.20)
  • “If an individual…asks ifthere is any material onhow to freebasecocaine, do you provideit?” (p.42)Should a librarianprovide how-to-commit-suicideinformation to atroubled teen? (p. 44)
  • Our social functions? Photo by cavale on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • “The missionof librarians isto improvesociety…”-David Lankes Photo by library_mistress on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • We need professional codes Photo by urbanhiker on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • We need to discuss extreme cases Photo by U.S. Dept. Of Defense, Public Domain
  • We need to embrace social justice Photo by Smoovey on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • But, we also have to deal with that fine… Photo by yuan2003 on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
  • We have codes, policies, training, and missions. How should we balance them? Photo by archeon on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
  • SO, LET’S TALKETHICS… Photo by ocs_camp on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • Ethics The study of morality. MoralityA set of norms, ideals, and virtues that guide our behavior.
  • Common moralityThe norms, ideals and virtues that bind all moral agents. > Community moralityThe norms, ideals, and virtues that spring from specific cultural, religious, or institutional sources.
  • Professional morality Our community specific norms, ideals, and virtues. Professional ethicsHow should we apply our community specific morality?
  • Where I’m coming from…Meta-ethics: Non-cognitivism (prescriptivism) Hare, R. M. 1952. The Language of Morals. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.Normative ethics: Hybrid Kantian constructivism Korsgaard, Christine. 2009. Self-Constitution: Action, Identity and Integrity. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Rawls, John. 1971. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.
  • WHAT ISPROFESSIONALISM? Photo by kenyee on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Photo by Leo Reynolds on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 1. Professional roles are sociallyconstructed within a community. Photo by desmondkavanagh on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
  • 2. Our role is a function of our expertise. Photo by raster on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 3. Professionals are entrusted with certain decision-making responsibilities.Bunge, Charles. 1999. “Ethics and the Reference Librarian.” The Reference Librarian, 31, no 66: 25-43. Photo by thorinside on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 4. Professionals assume certain practical obligations. Photo by julishannon on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Librarians are professionals1. Socially constructed role2. Specific skills and expertise3. Decision-making responsibility4. Practical obligations Photo by dana_d on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • AN ETHICS OFLIBRARY SERVICE Photo by archeon on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Our ethics of service should be tied to our professional status. Photo by wwworks on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • COROLLARY 1:OUR ROLE IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED,SO WE SHOULD ACT ON BEHALF OF OUR COMMUNITIES. Photo by v1ctory_1s_m1ne on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
  • 1. Act on behalf of your community Remember that you are privileged Photo by stephendann on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 1. Act on behalf of your community Know your stakeholders Photo by furlined on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 1. Act on behalf of your community Don’t undermine your responsibilities to your communities. Photo by jose.jhg on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 1. Act on behalf of your community* *Remember that common morality trumps community morality. Photo by churl on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • COROLLARY 2: OUR ROLE IS A FUNCTION OF OURSPECIALIZED SKILLS, SO WE SHOULD ACT ACCORDING TO OUR EXPERTISE. Photo by spkbxxx on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
  • 2. Act within your expertise Understand your skills Photo by Oldtasty on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 2. Act within your expertise Don’t exceed your expertise Photo by yellowbookltd on Flickr, CC BY
  • 2. Act within your expertise Don’t deny your expertise Photo by heathbrandon on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 2. Act within your expertiseEmbrace professional development Photo by NASA, pub. domain
  • COROLLARY 3:WE HAVE DECISION-MAKING RESPONSIBILITIES SO WE MUST RESPECT AUTONOMY. Photo by tronathan on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
  • 3. Respect patron autonomy Remember that you are moral equals Photo by colinjagoe on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 3. Respect patron autonomy Respect the autonomy that has been ceded to you Photo by domincspics on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • 3. Respect patron autonomy Do not infringe on what has not been ceded Photo by tomx20 on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • COROLLARY 4:WE HAVE PRACTICAL OBLIGATIONS,SO WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THEM. Photo by wink on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 4. Understand your practical obligations Understand your contractual environment Photo by LOSINPUN on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 4. Understand your practical obligations Practical dilemmas vs. Ethical dilemmas Photo by anyjazz65 on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 4. Understand your practical obligationsAccept the practical consequences of your decisions Photo by s_myers on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • 4. Understand your practical obligations Remember that it’s not always about right and wrong. Photo by zen on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • CONCLUSION:AN ETHICALFRAMEWORK
  • An ethical frameworkYour professional role Your professional ethics Socially constructed Act on behalf of your community Based in expertise Act according to your expertiseDecision-making responsibility Respect autonomy Practical obligations Accept practical consequences
  • Solving dilemmasIs my decision consistent with…1. my professional role within the community?2. my expertise?3. respect for autonomy? Photo by theilr on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Solving dilemmasBy acting on this decision, am I…1. Upholding my duties to all stakeholders?2. Willing to accept practical consequences? Photo by theilr on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • An ethical frameworkYour professional role Your professional ethics Socially constructed Act on behalf of your community Based in expertise Act according to your expertiseDecision-making responsibility Respect autonomy Practical obligations Accept practical consequences
  • In other words… Photo by deathtogutenberg on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Thanks!http://senseandreference.wordpress.com Photo by brent_nashville, CC BY-NC 2.0