Librarians and ethical neutrality: revisiting The Creed of a Librarian

David McMenemy (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 27 March 2007



To discuss whether in an age of misinformation on the Internet, calls for censorship, continuing ethnic and religious conflict throughout the world, librarians can be ethically neutral in all service encounters with patrons.


As a review paper, it approaches the topic from a discussion of current trends in the profession vs the historical text in question.


That although Foskett posited theories that proposed a strengthening of the professional practice of librarianship, his ideas could be criticised in the modern era for placing ethical neutrality above responsibility to society, as suggested by Hauptman. Yet such criticism needs to be tempered with the notion that a profession must represent a set of values, and Foskett's call for the profession to embrace a philosophy of practice remains an important point for modern librarians.

Practical implication

As a review paper, the practical implications would be in the consideration of the content in the mind of practitioners facing potential ethical dilemmas.


The value of the paper is in the re‐examination of ethical debates that have been occurring in the library profession for the past 80 years.



David McMenemy (2007) "Librarians and ethical neutrality: revisiting The Creed of a Librarian", Library Review, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 177-181

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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