A Critique of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Statement on Intellectual Freedom

Introduction I.F & the CLA The Statement Considered Conclusion Links Reflection


     Intellectual freedom is a fundamental aspect of librarianship, and is addressed in the position statements of numerous members of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA/FAIFE); amongst these national associations are the American Library Association, the Chartered Institute of Library Professionals (Great Britain), the Japan Library Association, and the Canadian Library Association.   Article 19 of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Human Rights states that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." [1]   The existence of this article within the declaration, and those position statements on intellectual freedom presented by IFLA member organizations, offers an example of how the profession of librarianship is part of a much greater social situation. In fact, direct connections can be made between this UN document and several of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) position statements, including the Statement on Intellectual Freedom and the CLA Code of Ethics. The discussion that follows will focus primarily on the former document, although it is important to remember the latter too when discussing the subject of intellectual freedom in the context of Canadian libraries. By considering the language and content of the statement, the following critique will address the strengths of the statement, its weaknesses, and will also offer suggestions as to what changes might benefit the CLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom.

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Last updated 2009.

This page was hand-coded by: Dale Barrie

The Critique of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Statement on Intellectual Freedom was produced by Dale Barrie for LIS 592 - Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in Librarianship. This website was completed in order to meet the requirements of LIS 600 - Capping Exercise at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.