Letter to the Editor: County should stick to library code of ethics

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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To the editor:

At the May county commissioner’s meeting, the library board of trustees spoke because their nominee was rejected and replaced without respecful communication with them or the library director.

This situation is of interest to me.

Viewing the trustee’s minutes reveals incidents of persons entering our library who engage in disruptive behavior and intimidate staff about materials of which they disapprove. By March. the trustees learned of low staff morale due to that harassment. Materials owned for all the citizens of Davie County have been misplaced and abused by an organized yet anonymous group targeting certain materials available in the library.


As a resident invested in the library, I expect library users to be civil regarding the ownership and rights of other library users. I expect the staff to feel safe and treated courteously. I also expect persons appointed to serve as trustees to be knowledgeable about libraries, their mission and purpose, as well as local, state, and national library policies and standards. I expect county commissioners to be concerned about these issues, while relying on their advisors for accurate information and specific training and expertise.

I do not expect our library to be subjected to political partisanship.

Consulting the county’s website on commissioner advisory boards and committees  show 16 bodies in service. The data show 27 vacancies with at least 13 expired terms overdue for appointments. For an irrational and unexplained reason, the library gained attention over these other vacancies.

From your documented Code of Ethics: “Board members must always remain aware that at various times they play different roles: as advocates, who strive to advance the legitimate needs of their citizens; as legislators, who balance the public interest and the private rights in considering and enacting ordinances, orders, and resolutions; and as decision-makers, who arrive at fair and impartial quasi-judicial and administrative determination.”

Librarians use the ALA Professional Code of Ethics. Especially applicable now are:

1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate andmusefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access and accurate,nunbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.

7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

9. We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services and allocation or resources and spaces.

May we all do our best to adhere to our Codes of Ethics.

Julie Whittaker