I already expounded on the first principle laid out in the ALA Code of Ethics. I’d like to move along and tackle #3:
We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
In 1931, S. R. Ranganathan wrote, “The library is a growing organism.” (It’s alive!) The library is alive. It’s constantly changing and evolving in order to meet the needs of the community. A library is as unique as it’s community and patrons. To cite a quote by Norman Cousins, “A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.” To go a step further, it could be said that the library is a place where the past, present, and future come to life. The library is a building brimming with ideas and information just waiting for patrons to explore it’s depths.
What this principle means to me:
It’s quite similar to the motto for Vegas, “What happens in the library stays in the library.”
Following the Vegas-theme, I often think of myself as a bartender — rather than serving booze, I serve books and ideas. A bookslinger. And like a bartender, people tell me things. Think about it: the library is a haven. Patrons stop in, browse the stacks, and share what’s happening in their worlds.
I’ve heard it all.
It’s not always questions about when the newest James Patterson book is being released. (He’s a damn book factory. It seems his publisher releases something nearly every month… but that’s a post for another time.)
The li-berry is not a fruit, it’s a confessional! The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Librarians are professional secret-keepers.
In my former line of work, I learned that when the sharing starts, it’s not always because the person is in need of information, but rather they are seeking support, comfort, and compassion.
As a librarian in a small town, I offer both.
If someone feels confident that what they choose to share stays with me and there isn’t fear of being judged, I wholeheartedly believe that they’re more likely to ask those tough, uncomfortable, and scary questions in order to get the information and answers in which they’re seeking.