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52. SERVICES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIBRARIES

52.1 Service to Detention Facilities and Jails

The American Library Association encourages public libraries and systems to extend their services to residents of jails and other detention facilities within their taxing areas. ALA instructs its Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies in cooperation with the Public Library Association, the American Library Trustee Association, and other interested units to design a plan to assist public libraries in extending their services to local jails and detention facilities.

52.2 Preservation

52.2.1 Preservation Policy. National Information Services and Responsibilities. Permanence and Durability of Information Products
The American Library Association's policy on preservation is based on its goal of ensuring that every person has access to information at the time needed and in a usable format. ALA affirms that the preservation of library resources protects the public's right to the free flow of information as embodied in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the Library Bill of Rights.

The Association supports the preservation of information published in all media and formats. The Association affirms that the preservation of information resources is central to libraries and librarianship.

The Association and its Divisions will work closely with standards-setting organizations to identify and develop standards relevant to the preservation of library collections, participate in their periodic review and updating, identify and develop new standards when needed, and promote compliance with existing standards.

Manufacturers, publishers, distributors and purchasers of information products must work in tandem to imp rove the usability, durability, and longevity of the media (e.g., paper, film, magnetic tape, optical disk) that ensure the persistence of these products. The Association will engage in active education and public relations efforts to develop, promote, and publicize standards for the usability, longevity, and durability of information media.

The Association will work with the publishers of content in digital form to develop guidelines on the preservation of digital information to help ensure that such information will not be lost when publishers can no longer retain and disseminate it.

Libraries have an obligation (a) to inform donors, users, administrators, and local officials about the ephemeral nature of primary source materials, (b) to promote strategies for the proper care, handling, and storage of these materials, and (c) to recommend the use of durable media and methods of documentation.

The federal government must provide leadership in developing an expansive and inclusive national preservation policy. The Association urges the federal government to take responsibility for the longevity of information that it publishes on paper, in microform, and in digital formats. (See "Current Reference File": Preservation Policy. National Information Services and Responsibilities. Permanence and Durability of Information Products, 2000-2001 CD#39.1)

52.2.2 Recycled Paper

The American Library Association urges all publishers, including the government, to use recycled paper for publications normally issued on nonpermanent paper and urges librarians to dispose of discarded paper so that it is available for recycling.

52.3 School Library Media Programs

52.3.1 Instruction in Role of Libraries in Teacher Education
The American Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians Division recommend instruction in the role of libraries and the use of information resources as a integral part of all teacher education programs.

52.3.2 The School Library Media Program

The purpose of the library media program is to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. Within the program, the school library media specialist serves as an information specialist, teacher, and instructional consultant.

52.3.3 School Library Media Programs: Materials Selection Policy Statements

As a basis for providing access to resources in library media programs, the American Library Association recommends that every school district have a written materials selection policy--formally adopted by the school board--which includes criteria and procedures for the selection and reconsideration of resources, following the principles of the Library Bill of Rights. The Association further recommends that each school building have its own collection development plan that supplements the district selection policy and provides specific guidelines for developing the school's collection.

52.4 Confidentiality of Library Records

The ethical responsibilities of librarians, as well as statutes in most states and the District of Columbia, protect the privacy of library users. Confidentiality extends to "information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired," and includes database search records, reference interviews, circulation records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.

The American Library Association recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which may be helpful to the investigation of criminal activity. If there is a reasonable basis to believe such records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the American judicial system provides the mechanism for seeking release of such confidential records: the issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:

  1. Formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials to be confidential.
  2. Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.
  3. Resist the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

52.5 Library Services for Youth

52.5.1 Youth Services
The American Library Association recognizes that the future of libraries and of society itself depends upon the preparedness of youth to carry adult responsibilities for business, government, parenthood and other leadership. Children and young adults cannot fulfill their potential or that of society without high quality library opportunities through both public and school libraries. ALA is committed to the support and development of resources and services for children and young adults through both school and public libraries.

52.5.2 Sex Education Materials in Libraries

ALA affirms the right of youth to comprehensive, sex-related education, materials, programs, and referral services of the highest quality; affirms the active role of librarians in providing such; and urges librarians and library educators to reexamine existing policies and practices and assume a leadership role in seeing that information is available for children and adolescents, parents, and youth-serving professionals.

52.5.3 Selective Service Information in Libraries

Librarians should have available information on the full range of alternatives within and without the military services for those young persons who are facing the prospect of conscription.

52.6 Instruction in the Use of Libraries

In order to assist individuals in the independent information retrieval process basic to daily living in a democratic society, the American Library Association encourages all libraries to include instruction in the use of libraries as one of the primary goals of service. Libraries of all types share the responsibility to educate users in successful information location, beginning with their childhood years and continuing the education process throughout their years of professional and personal growth.

52.7 Privatization of Publicly Funded Libraries

ALA affirms that publicly funded libraries should remain directly accountable to the publics they serve. Therefore, the American Library Association opposes the shifting of policy making and management oversight of library services from the public to the private for-profit sector.

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