For immediate release | November 8, 2017

The ALA President’s Program at the Midwinter Meeting Debates Neutrality in Libraries.

Are Libraries Neutral? Have They Ever Been? Should They Be? The question of neutrality in librarianship is an old one. ALA’s 1939 Code of Ethics for Librarians calls for unbiased “recommendations”. This is seen in the ALA Library Bill of Rights principles that present the library as content neutral, open and accessible to all. A group of ALA members from academic library, public library, and library education backgrounds will engage the issues during a formal debate, with two speakers in the affirmative and two in the negative, followed by commentary from a reactor panel and a conversation with attendees, moderated by ALA President, Jim Neal. The following questions will be explored with the aim of challenging our thinking and practices:

  • Were libraries ever neutral?

  • Has the time come to question neutrality?

  • Are libraries through their practices, collections, services and technologies able to be neutral?

  • Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral?

  • Rather than neutral, should we advocate for a distinct set of values?

  • How can we do so and maintain trust in our communities?

The ALA President’s Program will take place on Sunday, February 11, 2018, 3:30 – 5:30pm at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Early advance rates are available through December 13, 2017, Noon (Central). Applicable resources include, making your case to attend and FAQs.

Ways to stay in touch and get updates include: ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits website; Twitter (@alamw18 and #alamw18); Facebook Events; Pinterest; and Instagram

2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits

Related Links

Midwinter Meeting, American Library Association, Conference Services


Amy McGuigan

Conference Manager

Conference Services