Library Neutrality


As previous generations of theorists and practitioners have demonstrated, a commitment to neutrality is a commitment to a definite position, with consequences that will resonate into the broader community. A policy of neutrality can be inclusive of all opinions and people while at the same time passively endorsing the power of the status quo. The North American library associations have implicitly adopted neutrality as a policy in regard to some functions of the library, with particular regard to collections and references services. This does not mean, however, that neutrality must be applied to all situations at all times. Intellectual freedom and social responsibility can complement or confound each other, or both, in any given situation. Discussions of neutrality are as much a part of this complex web as any other aspects. The value of neutrality will be weighed differently by people in varying situations. It is important, though, that the impact of neutrality on the community and the library profession is understood by those who face decisions between staying neutral or taking a stand.

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