The Committee on Professional Ethics has proposed a ninth principle be added to the ALA Code of Ethics. This proposed additional principle is meant to codify the library and information services profession’s commitment to racial and social justice and further emphasize diversity and inclusion as one of the profession’s core beliefs. The proposed ninth principle is as follows:
This new principle was the product of work done by the Social and Racial Justice subgroup of the Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) in collaboration with groups within the ALA including the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Advisory Committee, the Committee on Diversity,and the Intellectual Freedom Committee. A draft of the principle was also posted on ALA Connect (a forum for ALA members, sections, and roundtables to communicate with each other) so that members could provide feedback. After all feedback was considered the members of COPE voted on the final draft of the proposed principle on May 11, 2021. This final draft will be brought before the ALA Council and voted on during the Council III meeting of the ALA Annual conference on June 29th, 2021.
The Social and Racial Justice subgroup also made recommendations to COPE about other changes to the Code of Ethics and its interpretations if the ninth principle is passed. These recommendations including revisions to the preamble to provide context for the racial and social justice elements now present in the Code of Ethics, additional information or Q&As regrading ableism and sexism, and guidance for collectors on how to balance the second principle which addresses the profession’s stance on censorship and the new ninth principle. The Racial and Social Justice subgroup of COPE will disband after the 2021 Annual Conference, as the purpose of the subgroup was the creation of this additional principle.
Tayla Cardillo is the Branch Librarian of the Oak Lawn Branch Library in Cranston, RI. Before her current position she was a YA librarian. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.