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Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries

Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries

Intellectual freedom is the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the library profession; it promotes access to information and guides the defense against censorship.

The Freedom to Read Statement asserts, “The freedom to read is essential to our democracy.” In a democratic society, individuals must be sufficiently knowledgeable to make informed decisions. Libraries provide their users with necessary information through a wide selection of materials from varying points of view. It is essential that library resources remain free to use for all, regardless of age. The Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations lay out rationales for these principles of intellectual freedom. Incorporating the tenets of intellectual freedom foundational documents (such as the First Amendment, the Library Bill of Rights, and the Freedom to Read Statement) into the selection policy provides support for intellectual freedom as a philosophy underlying the policy. Strong selection policies include a statement of support for intellectual freedom. Intellectual freedom policy statements are often attached to selection policies.

    Example: School Library Support for Intellectual Freedom

The school libraries of this district are guided by the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretative statements, including “Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Program” and The Students’ Right to Read statement of the National Council of Teachers of English. 


"Support for Intellectual Freedom", American Library Association, December 18, 2017. (Accessed July 31, 2023)

Document ID: 4f6c0837-3b7d-474c-b992-9927a3f565d9