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Intellectual Freedom Policy and Guidelines

The UMass Amherst Libraries are strongly committed to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.  The UMass Amherst Faculty Senate endorsed these principles on May 11, 2000, upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate Research Library Council.

The principles point out the fact that a strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections, services and policies.  The document also notes that the ALA Bill of Rights, forms an indispensible framework for all aspects of work done by the Libraries on behalf of students, faculty and members of the community.

The ALA Library Bill of Rights exhorts libraries to provide material and information that presents all points of view to all library users, and to resist all attempts at censorship.  Under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, each of us has the right to read, view, listen to, and disseminate constitutionally protected ideas, even if others find them offensive or abhorrent.

It may become inevitable that some material will be controversial and that the UMass Amherst Libraries may become involved in these debates.  However, it is critical that we maintain a stalwart defense of intellectual freedom on behalf of library users, even in the face of severe criticism of the material and access we provide.

Procedure recommended by the Senior Administrative Group, May 2000
Reviewed and endorsed by the Faculty Senate Research Library Council, October 2000
Approved by Director of Libraries, October 2000