Academic freedom: librarians on the front line

19 February, 2013

The SFU Library affirms statements from provincial, regional and national advocacy groups deploring current or threatened legal challenges to academic librarians' ability to carry out their duties and responsibilities. 

Further, the SFU Library is pleased that Section 1.2 of the SFUFA Framework Agreement (2007) is explicit in regard to protecting academic freedom for librarians:

"Librarians have a duty to promote and maintain intellectual freedom. They have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and are entitled to full protection of their own academic freedom. This includes the right to express their academic judgment in the development of the Library collection within the context of Article 1.3.2 and to make the collection accessible to all users in accordance with the University Library policies, even if the materials concerned are considered controversial."


Association statements:

Canadian Association of Research Libraries in conjunction with the Association of Research Libraries have indicated "The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) share a commitment to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and are strongly opposed to any effort to intimidate individuals in order to suppress information or censor ideas. We further share the belief that a librarian must be able to offer his or her assessment of a publisher’s products or practices free from such intimidation..." [Full Statement]

Canadian Library Association: "One of the Canadian Library Association's stated values is: We believe that libraries and the principles of intellectual freedom and free universal access to information are key components of an open and democratic society..." [Full Statement]

Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries: "...COPPUL regards these lawsuits as an affront to academic freedom and a significant threat to the professional contributions that librarians make to the academy through their critical evaluation of information." [Full Statement]

British Columbia Library Association: "The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) is extremely concerned about the unwarranted and frivolous lawsuits that Edwin Mellen Press has filed against Associate University Librarian Dale Askey and against McMaster University..." [Full Statement]



Quill and Quire: Edwin Mellon Press Suing McMaster Librarian for $4.5 million libel lawsuit

Chronicle of Higher Education: Librarians Rally Behind Blogger Sued by Publisher Over Critical Comments

Inside Higher Ed: Price of a Bad Review

CAUT Bulletin: Mellen Press hits McMaster Librarian with lawsuit alleging defamation