The Mission of Libraries

Did you know that there is a bill of rights for libraries? In 1939 the American Library Association (ALA) adopted a Bill of Rights that states the basic principles governing the service of all libraries, including public libraries. It has been amended several times since then, but still stands as an important foundation to the service and mission of libraries. There is also a lesser known Declaration for the Right to Libraries, also from ALA. These documents emphasize the fact that libraries are institutions that are for everyone. Without equal access to resources and information, a great chasm exists and a true democracy cannot be sustained.

Franklin Roosevelt once said that libraries are essential to the functioning of a democratic society, they are the great symbols of the freedom of the mind. Libraries, and particularly public libraries, are the great equalizer. Everyone who comes to the library has, or should have, equal access to information, programs, resources and services, regardless. We serve people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability. We provide services and resources to people that could not otherwise afford them. At Alamance County Public Libraries, that includes helping people improve their literacy skills, learn technology skills, look for jobs and fill out job applications. When you walk through the doors of any of our libraries, you will see people from all walks of life, from homeless people to business owners and everyone in between using library services. I am proud that we offer an environment that is open and available to all people.

If you are interested in reading the Declaration for the Right to Libraries (written in 2013) here is the link: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/declaration-right-libraries-text-only

To read the Library Bill of Rights, click here: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill An interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights can be found under Issues and Advocacy section on the American Library Association’s web site.

MJ Times-News PhotoMJ Wilkerson

I am currently reading America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and The No Asshole Rule by Robert I Sutton.