Libraries and the Internet Toolkit

Foreword

Libraries play a unique and vital role in our democratic society. They provide access to the information people need and want, without regard for economic or social position. The American Library Association (ALA), the world's oldest and largest library association, supports libraries in their efforts to meet this important responsibility by promoting the highest-quality library and information services and public access to information.

ALA's policies support access to constitutionally protected speech in libraries. The American Library Association:

  • Protects the First Amendment rights of all library users;

  • Protects the First Amendment rights of children to use libraries and supports the rights of parents to decide with their children how to use libraries;

  • Acknowledges that the role of parents in our society is to care for, instruct, protect and monitor the behavior of their own children;

  • Supports parents in taking an active role in carrying out their parental responsibilities in libraries, but not at the expense of other people's rights, or the rights of other people's children;

  • Works to protect equitable access to the Internet for all, and supports educational efforts to make that access enriching and safe; and

  • Urges libraries to become partners with their respective communities to do the best job they can to provide resources to serve the needs of library users. 

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