ALA Council supports librarians sued for performing their professional duty

For Immediate Release
Tue, 07/23/2013


JoAnne Kempf


Office of Governance

American Library Association


CHICAGO — In a response to recent lawsuits that “represent an attempt to repress the academic freedom of librarians expressing professional opinions,” the American Library Association (ALA) Council has passed a resolution urging publishers to refrain from such actions as filing libel suits against librarians who have publicly shared their professional opinions concerning the quality of publications.  Those suits bear striking similarities to Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) used to suppress the expression of public opinion, the resolution states.

The resolution, which was passed at the ALA Annual Conference, held June 27 – July 2 in Chicago, states, publishers should instead rely upon the free exchange of views in the marketplace of ideas to defend their interests.

The resolution also notes that the American Association of University Professors and the Association of College and Research Libraries in their "Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians" state that "... as members of the academic community, librarians should have latitude in the exercise of their professional judgment..." 

In its policy manual, the ALA strongly supports the free and open exchange of information for all persons, including librarians, and affirms academic freedom.

See Council Document #19.3 in ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee Report to Council (PDF)

Council Documents Annual/Midwinter 2013