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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

Article publication date: 27 March 2007

3387

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

McMenemy, D. (2007), "Librarians and ethical neutrality: revisiting The Creed of a Librarian", Library Review, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 177-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242530710735948

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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