Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE)


The council committee on professional ethics shall augment the Code of Ethics by explanatory interpretations and additional statements, prepared by this committee or elicited from other units of ALA. When units of the association develop statements dealing with ethical issues, a copy will be sent to the committee on professional ethics for review so that it may be compared to the existing ALA code of ethics in order to determine whether or not conflicts occur.


Mr. Stephen L. Matthews (Chair, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Natisha Nate Harper (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Sarah Lynn Houghton (Member, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Alexia Hudson-Ward (Member, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Ms. Nancy S. Kirkpatrick (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Mr. Stephen L. Matthews (Member, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Mr. Rory Patterson (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Catherine Smith (Member, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Dr. Sheri Edwards (Committee Associate, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Ellen Spring (Committee Associate, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Ms. Nancy M. Bolt (RMRT Liaison, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Ben W. Hall (RUSA Liaison, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Mrs. DaNae Leu (ALSC Liaison, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Annice Sevett (NMRT Liaison, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Jill Sodt (ACRL Liaison, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Mr. Kelvin Antonio Watson (PLA Liaison, July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022)
Ms. Eboni M. Henry (ALA Executive Board Liaison, July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2021)
Deborah Caldwell-Stone (Staff Liaison, June 1, 2001, to June 30, 2025)
Eleanor Diaz (Staff Liaison, July 29, 2020, to June 30, 2021)
Kristin Pekoll (Primary Staff Liaison, February 1, 2015, to February 1, 2025)

Displaying active committee roster as of 01/26/2021. Last retrieved on 01/26/2021. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.


Code of Ethics

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. 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.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.


The Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) consists of 7 members appointed by the Council Committee on Committees, in cooperation with the ALA President-Elect.  Members serve a 2 year term and the Committee is led by the chair.

Get Involved

If you are interested in becoming a member of COPE or other ALA committees, ALA members must fill out the volunteer form to be consider. The form is open from early August to early November. The ALA president-elect makes committee appointments. For more information, visit Committees, Volunteer Resources & Opportunities.

COPE committee member’s initial term is for two years and may be reappointed for an additional two-year term. To be reappointed for a second term, you must fill out the volunteer form.