Module 8: Ethical Issues and Information Communities




Modules 8 and 9 tackle professional ethics and many of the dilemmas information professionals face when providing information to their various communities.  Although professional ethics and the US legal system are interconnected, module 8 focuses on information ethics while module 9 emphasizes the legal precedents that impact professional practice. The lecture for this module, presented by Martin Garnar,Dean, Kraemer Family Library, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, gives an overview of ethical practice and suggests the many personal and legal challenges information professionals confront when following the dictates of ALA’s Code of Ethics and Library Bill of Rights.


Slides: Download Ethical Issues & Information Communities here. 

Transcript: Download a transcription of lecture here

 Things to Read:

The readings for this week delve more deeply into professional ethics.  The chapter from Information Services Today by Martin Garnar serves as our foundational piece for this module. Also introduced are the controversies over the USA Patriot Act, which is a good example of how professional ethics can conflict with legal mandates.

 Things to Explore:

Here are some final links pertaining the ALA’s ethical guidelines and their applications in specific contexts.  In addition, here is a Word document with links to the ethical codes developed by other LIS professional associations.


About our Guest Lecturer:

Garnar2015headshotsmallMartin Garnar is the dean of the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.  He has taught professional ethics for the University of Denver’s library and information science program since 2005 and has served as chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics, and the ACRL Professional Values Committee, or PVC.  He’s currently serving as a member of the ACRL PVC and is also the vice-president of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Martin is a frequent speaker on ethics and intellectual freedom at state, regional, and national events, and served as the assistant editor for the 9th edition of the ALAIntellectual Freedom Manual.  A native New Yorker, Martin lives with his husband Mark in beautiful Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak.

Samira. (2009). Censorship. Retrieved from