B.4 Equity and Access (Old Number 50)


B.4.1 Equal Rights Amendment Legislation (Old Number 50.2)

The American Library Association supports the equality of women both in the profession and in society at large. To this end the Association (a) supports implementation of the national plan of action as amended at the National Women’s Conference in Houston in November 1977; (b) supports through employment practices policy the equal treatment of women in the work place; (c) supports the elimination of sex--stereotyping terminology through avoiding the use of such terminology in ALA publications and (e) supports adherence to affirmative action policies through its support of the enforcement of such policies in its library school accreditation standards and guidelines.


B.4.2 Free Access to Information (Old Number 50.3)

The American Library Association asserts that the charging of fees and levies for information services, including those services utilizing the latest information technology, is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions providing library and information services.

The American Library Association shall seek to make it possible for library and information service agencies which receive their major support from public funds to provide service to all people without additional fees and to utilize the latest technological developments to insure the best possible access to information, and ALA will actively promote its position on equal access to information.


B.4.3 Bibliographic Data Bases (Old Number 50.4)

The American Library Association supports open access to information, including the information contained in online data bases, and encourages data base providers and other organizations to minimize restrictions placed on their members’ use of bibliographic records maintained in their online data bases.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: 1984-1985 CD #41 - PDF, 16 pgs)


B.4.4 Funding for Community Access Cable Programming (Old  Number 50.5)

Libraries should work cooperatively with other groups in promoting the widest possible access to communications and information, including community access cable casting. The American Library Association, in order to support stable sources of funding for community access channels, endorses the following principles articulated by Open Channel and Publicable, two organizations with knowledge and experience in community access cablecasting:

  1. That a portion of cable revenues be designated to provide financial and technical assistance for community access programming.
  2. That this support be sufficient to promote genuine access.
  3. That this assistance increase as the cable operator’s revenue increases.
  4. That the specific structures, funding formulas, and monitoring arrangements be left to the local community.


B.4.5 Trade Publishers Discounts (Old Number 50.14)

The American Library Association supports the concept of equal discounts on equal volume orders for all buyers.


B.4.6 Electronic Environment (Old Number 50.15)


B.4.6.1 Principles for the Networked World (Old Number 50.15.1)

Libraries are crucial to assuring that society benefits from the promises of technology but are increasingly challenged by a number of critical policy debates. There are seven policy areas intrinsic to libraries, technology, and the role that libraries play in connecting people to an increasingly networked world. These specific areas are:

  • intellectual freedom, the right to access and express ideas;
  • privacy, the freedom to choose the degree to which personal information is made available;
  • equitable access to information;
  • intellectual property;
  • infrastructure, physical and social architectures within the context of the networked world;
  • content, including public and government information; and
  • information literacy, the ability to access and effectively participate in the networked world.

By establishing a baseline for ongoing policy discussions and decisions, the fundamental public policy requirements needed to support the ability of libraries to serve the public’s information needs are well defined.

(See “Policy Reference File”: Principles for the Networked World: 2001-2002 CD 20.2 - PDF, 8 pgs)


B.4.6.2 Principles for Digitized Content (Old Number 50.15.2)

The accelerating mass digitization of collections in libraries and cultural heritage institutions demands a framework of principles and a body of policy to guide decision-making and to enable values-driven choices. The principles for the digitization of content will provoke a review of American Library Association policies that address the creation, access, use and preservation of digital materials and that require revision, enhancement and creation. This is critical to the advancement of ALA’s leadership role in the information society and to the support provided to members. This will also sustain the relevance and impact of libraries and librarians in their communities.

  1. Values
    Digital collections are as important to libraries as all other types of collections. The policies of the Association apply fully to digital collections, including values such as intellectual freedom, commitment to access, respect for confidentiality and privacy, freedom of information, service for the public good, and professionalism.
    Digital content must be given the same consideration as other library materials when conducting collection development, organization and cataloging of works, reference services, and preservation.
    Digital content must be provided in various and alternative ways to meet the unique needs and circumstances of all people.
    Equitable access to digital library materials is ensured through maximum accessibility, ubiquity, sustainability, and barrier-free access
  2. Intellectual Property Rights
    Access to and use of digital content that is protected by copyright should be provided in a fair and equitable manner, balancing the rights and privileges of users, creators, and owners.
    Rights management policies and procedures must promote the advancement and sharing of knowledge, innovation, and creativity.
  3. Sustainable Collections
    A library’s digital collections and associated activities must be sustainable.
    Sustainability requires secure and ongoing funding, technology solutions that are appropriate to the longevity of the cultural record, and long-term management capabilities.
  4. Collaboration
    Collaboration enables the building of collections that support research, scholarship and information needs of diverse communities.
    Collaboration will require strong organizational support and promotion by library and cultural heritage practitioners, their institutions, and their associations.
  5. Advocacy
    A library’s digital programs and associated activities require ongoing communication for its success.
    The library and cultural heritage communities must reach out to the public, to government, and to funding institutions with a clear and compelling message regarding the role of digital libraries and collections.
  6. International Scope
    Digital collections increasingly serve an international audience and are part of a global information infrastructure that is not limited by geography.
    The library and cultural heritage communities must understand the origination of materials in digital collections, respect the ownership of these materials, and be attentive to issues surrounding cultural asset exploitation and repatriation.
    Digital collections and services must be developed with goals of technical and social interoperability in the international information sphere.
  7. Continuous learning
    Digital collections are developed and sustained by an educated workforce.
    Members of the library and cultural heritage professions must engage in ongoing learning. They must explore new technology, work with new partners, and reach new audiences.
  8. Preservation
    Digital resources must receive appropriate preservation
    Preservation activities require the development of standards, best practices, and sustainable funding models to support long-term commitment to digital resources.
  9. Importance of Standards
    Digital collections must be built upon standards and best practices that maximize their usefulness.
    Such standards and best practices must serve the broadest community of users, including those with disabilities, support sustainable access and use over time, and provide user functionality that promotes the core library values.
    Preference should be given to open standards and non-proprietary technologies that support long-term sustainability.