For immediate release | June 17, 2014

75th anniversary of the Library Bill of Rights

CHICAGO — Seventy-five years ago at the 1939 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, the ALA Council adopted the Library’s Bill of Rights, echoing the spirit of a document from the Des Moines Public Library in 1938. This document, refreshed in 1944, 1948, 1961, 1967, 1980 and 1996, remains the library profession’s major policy document on intellectual freedom.

All those revisions prove that the Library Bill of Rights is truly a “living document.” In fact, LBOR now has 21 Interpretations. ALA has recognized that it is a document of ideals, but also of practice—which is why interpretations have been crafted to deal with such specific issues as Privacy, Children and Services to the Disabled.

ALA President Barbara Stripling is “pleased to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Library Bill of Rights and to recognize the enduring impact of libraries on the democratic vitality of our nation. LBOR serves as a foundational documents for libraries of all types, affirming the right of all members of our communities to have equitable and uncensored access to information and ideas.”

Stripling’s presidential year has included the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, which affirms the principles in LBOR which “empower individuals, strengthen families, build communities, and strengthen our nation.”

All these documents can be found in the Intellectual Freedom Manual, which will soon have its ninth edition!

The Intellectual Freedom Committee, the Committee on Professional Ethics and the Intellectual Freedom Round Table urge libraries to celebrate. The Office for Intellectual Freedom can provide ideas for you. Stay tuned for further activities at the Las Vegas Annual Conference!


Barbara M. Jones

Executive Director

Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)