Schools and Minors’ Rights

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The ۰̨ͼ opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.
Schools and Minors Rights

۰̨ͼ

Our founders recognized that public schools are a vital institution of American democracy. But education, they also knew, involved more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Education in a democratic society requires developing citizens who can adapt to changing times, make decisions about social issues, and effectively judge the performance of public officials. In fulfilling their responsibilities, public schools must not only provide knowledge of many subject areas and essential skills, but must also educate students on core American values such as fairness, equality, justice, respect for others, and the right to dissent.

۰̨ͼStatements and Policies on Schools and Minors’ Rights

(2019)

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The ۰̨ͼ opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.

(2014)

The school library plays a unique role in promoting intellectual freedom. It serves as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas and as a learning laboratory for students as they acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed in a pluralistic society. Although the educational level and program of the school necessarily shapes the resources and services of a school library, the principles of the Library Bill of Rights apply equally to all libraries, including school libraries.

(2019)

The digital environment offers opportunities both for accessing information created by others and for creating and sharing new information. The rights of minors to retrieve, interact with, and create information posted on the Internet in schools and libraries are extensions of their First Amendment rights.

Publications

(2016)

By Pat R. Scales

(2015)

By Theresa Chmara published in Knowledge Quest (American Association of School Libraries)

(2014)

By Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Kelly Tyler

(2013)

By Helen R. Adams

(2013)

By National Coalition Against Censorship

(2009)

By Pat R. Scales and ۰̨ͼOffice for Intellectual Freedom

(2009)

By National Council of Teachers of English

(2001)

By Henry Reichman

Webcasts

(2016)

Featured Speaker: Emilio De Torre with the ACLU

(2016)

Featured Speakers: Theresa Chmara and Chris Crutcher

Assistance and Consultation

The staff of the Office for Intellectual Freedom is available to answer questions or provide assistance to librarians, trustees, educators and the public about the schools and minors’ rights. Areas of assistance include policy development, leveling, and professional ethics. Inquiries can be directed via email to oif@ala.org or via phone at (312) 280-4226.

Updated July 2019