Resolution Reaffirming the Principles of Intellectual Freedom in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attack

WHEREAS: Benjamin Franklin counseled this nation: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”; and

WHEREAS: “The American Library Association believes that freedom of expression is an inalienable human right, necessary to self-government, vital to the resistance of oppression, and crucial to the cause of justice, and further, that the principles of freedom of expression should be applied by libraries and librarians throughout the world” (Policy 53.1.12, “Universal Right to Free Expression”); now, THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED: that the American Library Association reaffirms the following principles, and:

Actively promotes dissemination of true and timely information necessary to the people in the exercise of their rights (Policy 53.8, “Libraries: An American Value”);

Opposes government censorship of news media and suppression of access to unclassified government information (Policy 53.3, “Freedom to Read;” Policy 53.5, “Shield Laws”);

Upholds a professional ethic of facilitating access to information, not monitoring access (Policy 53.1, “Library Bill of Rights;” Policy 53.1.17, “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries”);

Encourages libraries and their staff to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the people’s lawful use of the library, its equipment, and its resources (Policy 52.4, “Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records”);

Affirms that tolerance of dissent is the hallmark of a free and democratic society (Policy 53.1.12, “Universal Right to Free Expression”);

Opposes the misuse of governmental power to intimidate, suppress, coerce, or compel speech (Policy 53.4, “Policy on Governmental Intimidation;” Policy 53.6, “Loyalty Oaths”); and, BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: that this resolution be forwarded to the President of the United States, to the Attorney General of the United States, and to both Houses of Congress.

Adopted by the ALA Council, January 23, 2002