The purpose of this policy is to affirm the Board’s commitment to intellectual freedom and to identify policy implications of this commitment.
Policy Statement and Details
The Library provides access to expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some individuals might regard as unconventional or unacceptable. The Library attempts to provide information from a broad range of perspectives, including both minority and majority viewpoints.
The Library subscribes to and supports the following Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations.
Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations recognizes and values the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as the guarantor of the fundamental freedoms in Canada of conscience and religion; of thought, belief, opinion, and expression; of peaceful assembly; and of association.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations supports and promotes the universal principles of intellectual freedom as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which include the interlocking freedoms to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
In accordance with these principles, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms that all persons in Canada have a fundamental right, subject only to the Constitution and the law, to have access to the full range of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, and to express their thoughts publicly. Only the courts may abridge free expression rights in Canada.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms further that libraries have a core responsibility to support, defend and promote the universal principles of intellectual freedom and privacy.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations holds that libraries are a key institution in Canada for rendering expressive content accessible and affordable to all. Libraries are essential gateways for all persons living in Canada to advance themselves through literacy, lifelong learning, social engagement, and cultural enrichment.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, in accordance with their mandates and professional values and standards, libraries provide, defend and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and foster free expression and the right to safe and welcoming places and conditions. To this end, libraries make available their public spaces and services to individuals and groups without discrimination.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and defend privacy in the individual’s pursuit of expressive content. To this end, libraries protect the identities and activities of library users except when required by the courts to cede them.
Furthermore, in accordance with established library policies, procedures and due process, libraries resist efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.
Library employees, volunteers and employers as well as library governing entities have a core responsibility to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in the performance of their respective library roles.
The Burnaby Public Library is also an intellectual meeting place for the community. As such, it offers an environment for cultural pursuits and the exploration of ideas through a variety of exhibits and displays, discussion groups, lectures and other programs and events.
Apart from activities related to the realization of its mission and principal functions, Burnaby Public Library occupies a neutral position in relation to public affairs.
The Internet has become essential to participation in a democratic and information-driven society and is an essential part of the universal access to information that libraries provide and support. Burnaby Public Library provides public access to the Internet in keeping with the library’s commitment to intellectual freedom.
The Internet is a largely unregulated environment which contains information and opinions that range in scope from authoritative to completely unreliable. Often information found on the Internet is not accurate, complete or current, and patrons may encounter content they might find controversial or extremely offensive. The library does not manage the content of the information accessed through the Internet and patrons are responsible for assessing the validity of the information found.
In keeping with the public library's long-standing tradition of providing age-appropriate materials for children in safe and welcoming environments, workstations designed for children are filtered.
Last reviewed 2019-12-12