7.8 Code of Ethics for TADL employees

As employees and Trustees of the Traverse Area District Library, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. This Code of Ethics articulates the values to which we are committed, and the ethical responsibilities of the profession to serve the public. 

Libraries and library professionals have a sacred duty to foster and protect intellectual freedom and freedom of access to the information, ideas, and creative expression upon which a free society depends.  Our political system depends on the judgement and guidance of an informed and enlightened citizenry.  Public libraries have a profound public responsibility to select, organize, preserve, and provide free and open access to information and ideas that serve the interests of present and future generations.    

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. We are dedicated to fostering a culture of service to the public.  We strive to provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous interactions with all library users.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  5. We treat patrons and co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to information resources and all library collections.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of coworkers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.


Adopted by the Traverse Area District Library Board of Trustees, December 18, 2018