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.


Martin L. Garnar (Chair, July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015)
Helen Ruth Adams (Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015)
Hilary Meg Albert (Member, July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015)
Kaetrena Davis Kendrick (Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016)
Ms. Leigh Rifenburg (Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015)
Mary Jane Santos (Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016)
Ms. Jamie Lyn Segno (Member, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016)
Dr. Chengren Hu (LITA Representative, July 3, 2013, to June 30, 2016)
Philip Tramdack (LLAMA Representative, July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015)
Leslie Hicks (ASCLA Representative, July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2016)
Emily Elizabeth Lawrence (Intern, July 1, 2014, to August 28, 2015)
Mr. Steven Phalen (Intern, July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015)
Charles D. Hanson (UFL Liaison, July 2, 2013, to November 15, 2016)
Danise G. Hoover (RUSA Liaison, July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2017)
Ms. Jodi L. Spillane (ALCTS Liaison, July 1, 2012, to July 31, 2018)
Deborah Caldwell-Stone (Staff Liaison, June 2, 2013, to January 31, 2015)

Displaying active committee roster as of 07/01/2014. Last retrieved on 08/17/2017. 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.