Advertisement

Reconciling Social Responsibility and Neutrality in LIS Professional Ethics: A Virtue Ethics Approach

  • John T F Burgess
Chapter

Abstract

An ethical dilemma occurs when two values are in opposition. One that arises in the context of professional practice has the potential to create a division among a profession’s membership. This division in membership can lead to factionalism, which in turn may weaken the effectiveness of the affected profession. In the United States, the Library and Information Science (LIS) profession is host to a long-standing division between supporters of social responsibility and of library neutrality. This essay offers a virtue ethics approach as a framework to accommodate both values. Successful accommodation of both would promote greater professional coherence and simplify the ethical decision making processes of LIS practitioners. This chapter centers on a discussion of contemporary ethical crises that illustrate the social responsibility/library neutrality division and is a consideration of how a virtue ethics approach would facilitate using both core ethical concepts to address these crises in ways that are mutually compatible.

Keywords

Social Responsibility Virtue Ethic Professional Organization Professional Identity Narrative Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abbott, A. (1998). Professionalism and the future of librarianship. Library Trends, 46(3), 430–443.Google Scholar
  2. American Library Association. (2004). Core values of librarianship: Advocacy, legislation & issues. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/statementspols/corevalues
  3. American Library Association. (2008). Code of ethics of the American Library Association. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics
  4. American Library Association. (2013). A.1 mission, priority areas, goals (old number 1): About ALA. http://www.ala.org/aboutala/governance/policymanual/updated policymanual/section1/1mission
  5. American Library Association. (2014). About SRRT | Social responsibilities round table (SRRT). http://www.ala.org/srrt/about-srrt
  6. American Library Association. (2015). Intellectual freedom and censorship Q & A: Advocacy, legislation & issues. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorshipfirstamendmentissues/ifcensorshipqanda
  7. Budd, J. (2008). Self-examination: The present and future of librarianship. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.Google Scholar
  8. Butler, P. (1951). Librarianship as a profession. The Library Quarterly, 21(4), 235–247. doi:  10.2307/4304047
  9. Capurro, R. (2008). Intercultural information ethics. In K. E. Himma & H. T. Tavani (Eds.), The handbook of information and computer ethics (pp. 639-665). New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Dilevko, J. (2009). The Politics of professionalism: A retro-progressive proposal for librarianship. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, LLC.Google Scholar
  11. Hjørland, B. (2000). Library and information science: Practice, theory, and philosophical basis. Information Processing & Management, 36(3), 501–531.Google Scholar
  12. Hursthouse, R. (1999). On virtue ethics. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression. (2012). IFLA code of ethics for librarians and other information workers (full version). http://www.ifla.org/news/ifla-code-of-ethics-for-librarians-and-other-information-workers-full-version
  14. IFLA Headquarters. (2015). Annual report 2012-2013: IFLA - the global voice of libraries. The Hague, The Netherlands: International Federation of Library Associations.Google Scholar
  15. Jones, B. (2005). Revitalizing theory in library and information science: The contribution of process philosophy. The Library Quarterly, 75(2), 101–121. doi.org/ 10.1086/431329
  16. Kagan, A. (2005). IFLA and social responsibility: A core value of librarianship. Libraries, National Security, Freedom of Information Laws and Social Responsibilities: IFLA/FAIFE World Report, 33–43.Google Scholar
  17. Koehler, W. (2003). Professional values and ethics as defined by “the LIS discipline.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 44(2), 99–119.Google Scholar
  18. Larson, M. (1979). The rise of professionalism: A sociological analysis. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Nardi, B., & O’Day, V. (1999). Information ecologies: Using technology with heart. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Osburn, C. (2009). The social transcript : Uncovering library philosophy. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.Google Scholar
  21. Pawley, C. (1998). Hegemony’s handmaid? The library and information studies curriculum from a class perspective. The Library Quarterly, 68(2), 123–144.Google Scholar
  22. Preer, J. (2008). Library ethics. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.Google Scholar
  23. Samek, T. (2001). Intellectual freedom and social responsibility in American librarianship, 1967-1974. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co Inc Pub.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.504 Gorgas LibraryThe University of AlabamaAlabamaUSA

Personalised recommendations