“For all the people”: Public library directors interpret intellectual freedom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intellectual freedom is frequently seen as a core value of librarianship, especially by the American Library Association, which has issued extensive guidance to libraries about implementing intellectual freedom. Some scholars criticize these documents, arguing that they are unrealistic and do not offer meaningful support to libraries. While scholars question the value of ALA policies, it is unclear whether practicing librarians have similar concerns about the Library Bill of Rights (LBR) and related guidelines. This article describes a study of public libraries and their interpretation of the LBR in their daily practice. To investigate the role played by ALA documents, 15 public library directors across one state were interviewed. In general, the library directors did not directly cite or quote from ALA documents, yet their stances echoed ALA guidance. In addition, library directors frequently discussed the significance of community in their interpretations and implementations of intellectual freedom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-312
Number of pages23
JournalLibrary Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of '“For all the people”: Public library directors interpret intellectual freedom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this