Statement Regarding Calls for Censorship and Defunding of Public Libraries
Manitoba Library Association has been following the campaign for removal of books from South Central Regional Library collection and requests for town councils to remove funding to the library board should they not comply with the censorship action.
Manitoba Library Association highlights for its members, South Central Regional Library’s response to these challenges as reported by Pembina Valley Online News.
Manitoba Library Association upholds:
- Library boards are the authority for governance and management of public libraries, and this includes developing and maintaining collection development policies for challenged materials. The authority and duties of public library boards are delegated under Manitoba’s Public Libraries Act.
- Library boards in Manitoba, and throughout Canada, develop and maintain collection policies that reflect universal principles of intellectual freedom. Library boards are collectively responsible for ensuring equitable and universal access.
Further, Manitoba Library Association upholds:
- Library boards and library workers are best suited for selecting library materials to be made accessible to their community.
- Library users rely on their own individual decisions and judgment of what library materials to consume or not and should raise concerns regarding library materials to their local library for consideration. Libraries are public service environments, and engagement between users and workers should take place in a manner demonstrating respect.
- Library workers are deserving of respect and civility in delivery of services.
Manitoba Library Association condemns all calls for censorship, defunding of public libraries, and harassment of library workers. We assert that it is inappropriate, in terms of political governance and professional practice, to position municipal councils as arbitrators of library collections.
Manitoba Library Association applauds decisions by library boards to uphold principles of intellectual freedom, including freedom to read, with respect to library collection decisions.
Manitoba Library Association will continue to communicate with its members regarding intellectual freedom in library collections and programs. We want to ensure the ability for library boards and library workers to perform their duties in effective and safe ways and ensure that Manitobans can freely engage with library collections in line with their individual needs and interests.
We welcome feedback from our members on these important issues.