Professional Ethics in the Library

Ethical Use of Ideas and Information

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What do you need to know about copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

This means that as soon as you create it, you own it! Your work is protected under law.

What is usually protected by copyright?

The following are all protected by copyright:
musical works
literary works
dramatic works
choreographic works
pictorial, graphics and sculptural
sound recordings and motion pictures

Here is a great example of recent copyright infringement:

Marvin Gaye Family Awarded $7.4 Million in 'Blurred Lines' Trial

How is intellectual property related to the library?

Students and teacher create new works that become copyrighted.
They use copyrighted material and need to be sure to give credit for the information by citing sources.

What is public domain?

There are no copyright issues with public domain works.
Works that are public domain do not require permission to use and are free.

What is fair use?

United States Copyright Office gives the definition of fair use as "The right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies." It must meet the following criteria:
-Commercial nature or non-profit educational purposes
-The amount of the work that is being used
-The effect of the use
-How much of the work is used in relation to the overall work in general


What do I need to know about plagarism?

Plagiarism, the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own.

The video below shows ways to avoid plagiarism and how it is related to copyright and fair use.
Copyright and Fair Use

Right to Privacy

Right to Privacy

"In a library, user privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf."

Library Bill of Rights states, "Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas."

How is this connected to my school library?

Right to privacy applies to students at our school.

Access in the library is free to patrons.

Inquiries are not judged or investigated and student records along with personal information are kept confidential.

Our school follows The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), federal law about keeping non-disclosure of personal information.

Challenges to Library Materials

What is Intellectual Freedom?

The American Library Association, ALA is very clear on its stance for libraries when it come to intellectual freedom:
"Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction."

How does Intellectual Freedom relate to the library?

The Library Bill of Rights advocates for intellectual freedom and follows this Bill of Rights including:

Fighting against censorship, standing up for 1st Amendment Rights
All views should be included in materials
Materials not approved by others should be accessible to all

What are challenges to the library materials?

The library evaluates all materials available to patrons through a rigorous selection policy. Occasionally, library materials can be challenged due to a concern about the material being offensive or going against personal beliefs.

How does the library handle challenges to library materials?

We will handle challenges in a compassionate manner.
We will be professional at all times and listen to concerns.
We will follow the specific district procedures for revaluation of materials when necessary. This includes:
ensuring availability of challenged materials during the revaluation
discussion of the revaluation policy
clarification of the selection policy of the library
keeping accurate and detailed records of both formal and informal complaints

Internet Ethics

What are internet ethics?

This has to do with making ethical decisions when using technology and the internet, including social media.

The expectation is for the user of the internet and technology to be responsible at all times including following copyright laws, right to privacy, and code of conduct.

Common Breaches of Internet Ethics in Schools

-Sharing passwords and allowing others to access accounts
-The purposeful damaging of equipment
-Plagiarism and academic dishonesty, copyright infringement
-Bullying or threatening others through social media, email, etc.

How does the library handle internet ethics?

This is enforced by having everyone agree and comply with the Acceptable Use Policy of the district. All data and information using technology is not private and the district has the right to access usage at any time. If this contract is not followed, it can result in a loss of technology privileges.