ACRL Statement on Academic Freedom

The following statement was approved by the Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, June 2015.

Librarians have a long history and practice of defending the free expression of ideas. The “Code of Ethics of American Library Association” (2008) states that “we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information.” In the context of higher education, intellectual freedom is closely associated with academic freedom. The “Association of College and Research Libraries Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians” (2012) states that “[c]ollege and university librarians share the professional concerns of faculty members. Academic freedom is indispensable to librarians in their roles as teachers and researchers.”

The Association of College and Research Libraries, in accordance with our professional standards and stated commitments, opposes any actions that limit the free expression of ideas of librarians and faculty on campus, in the classroom, in writing, and in the public sphere, especially in the context of higher education and its traditional support for academic freedom.  Further, the Association of College and Research Libraries opposes retaliation for the expression of those ideas.  A free and vigorous exchange of ideas is integral to sustaining an environment in which teaching, learning, and research may thrive.

Other relevant documents:

AAUP 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Endorsed by ALA 1946 | Reaffirmed by ALA 2006 | Endorsed by ACRL 2007

Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries – An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Passed by ALA Council 2000 | Endorsed by AAUP 2000

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