Ethical and Legal Issues in School Media Librarianship


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Discusses ethics in school librarianship: censorship, plagiarism, and sikilar issues.

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Ethical and Legal Issues in School Media Librarianship

  1. 1. Ethical and Legal Issues in School Media Librarianship “ It wasn’t me!” LIB 620 Library Management Fall 2008
  2. 2. What is Ethics? <ul><li>“ What does ethics mean to you?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Being ethical is doing what the law requires.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don't know what the word means.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is Ethics? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Definition? <ul><li>Ethics is two things </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is Ethics? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Teachers’ Ethics <ul><li>Code of Ethics of the Education Profession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The desire for the respect and confidence of one's colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the members of the community provides the incentive to attain and maintain the highest possible degree of ethical conduct. The Code of Ethics of the Education Profession indicates the aspiration of all educators and provides standards by which to judge conduct. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NEA Code of Ethics, adopted 1975 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Librarians’ Ethics <ul><li>Code of Ethics of the American Library Association </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment . </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Main points of ALA code <ul><li>As it applies to the duties of the school library media specialist (librarian): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians must provide the highest level of service through appropriate and usefully organized collections, fair and equitable circulation ad service policies, and skillful, accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests for assistance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians must resist all efforts by groups or individuals to censor library materials. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians must protect each user's right to privacy with respect to information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. ALA Code, cont. <ul><ul><li>Librarians must adhere to the principles of due process and equality of opportunity in peer relationships and personnel actions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians must distinguish clearly in their actions and statements between their personal actions and statements between their personal philosophies and attitudes and those of an institution or professional body. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians must avoid situations in which personal interests might be served or financial benefits gained at the expense of library users, colleagues, or the employing institution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Library Bill of Rights <ul><li>The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Library Bill of Rights , cont. <ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Library Bill of Rights , cont. <ul><ul><li>A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Ethics in practice 1 <ul><li>Teaching our students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Like traditional library skills, lessons in ethical behavior need to be integrated throughout the curriculum and throughout every student's school career. For example, when I teach how to use search engines, I reinforce an earlier discussion of intellectual property by having students play an informal game of “Find the Copyright Violations” in the Web sites we retrieve. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching Virtue in a Virtual World: Internet Ethics for Students School Library Journal Match 1, 1998. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Ethics in practice 2 <ul><li>Should parents be able to prohibit their kids from reading school library books? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even if . . . reading restrictions were enforceable, designating certain books off-limits doesn’t guarantee that determined students won't get their hands on them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading is arguably one of the safer methods to [enable] students to experience vicariously what might prove dangerous in the real world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Julie Anderson, “When Parents’ Rights Are Wrong ” School Library Journal (November 2002). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Landmark court cases <ul><li>Rosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York, 92 N.Y.S.2d 344 (Sup. Ct. Kings County 1949) </li></ul><ul><li>Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico , 457 U.S. 853, 102 S.Ct. 2799, 73 L.Ed.2d 435 (1982) </li></ul><ul><li>Case v. Unified School District No. 233, 908 F. Supp. 864 (D. Kan. 1995) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See Notable First Amendment Court Cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See also the Bill of Rights Institute ’s Free Classroom Resources -- Category: Bill of Rights in the News </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Why Are Books Challenged? <ul><li>Books are usually challenged by people with good intentions—to protect others, usually children, from difficult ideas and truths. Censorship can be subtle, almost invisible, or it can be blatant, but regardless of the way in which it is presented, it is always harmful. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From Powerpoint Celebrate Your Freedom To Read </li></ul></ul>Original Presentation created by Kelly Sonnanstine – FGCU Library Services in 2000
  15. 15. Ethics in practice 3 <ul><li>Confidentiality and privacy for kids? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Do parents have the right to know the answer to ‘What has my child checked out?’ When a computerized circulation system takes over library records, borrowing information becomes easily accessible by patron name. How does this change in availability of information affect children? Whose “right” do we respect when parent and child are in conflict? How does the library decide?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Janet Hildebrand, “Is Privacy Reserved for Adults?” School Library Journal (January, 1991). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Ethics in practice 4 <ul><li>PLAGIARISM @ Your School Library </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarian stands to build political capital and influence for the library if he or she understands the problem of plagiarism and offers solutions to the faculty. The library’s Web page should have links to correct methods of electronic citation as well as links to student information about identifying plagiarism in all its forms. . . . The librarian should have lessons planned to teach information literacy and the hazards of infringing on copyright and intellectual property. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Harry Willems, Library Media Connection (February 2002) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. An Excellent Copyright Site <ul><li>A Visit to Copyright Bay </li></ul><ul><ul><li>is designed to guide you to general and specific concepts about copyright as they apply to the non-profit educational setting. The content represents the opinions of the authors based on research cited throughout this web site, not legal opinion. This page is intended to teach you how to navigate your way around. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Copyright Bay