1939 June 19

American Library Association Adopts Library Bill of Rights


The American Library Association adopted the Library Bill of Rights on this day. It was based on the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the Des Moines, Iowa, Public Library on November 21, 1938.

Development of the Library Bill of Rights was in part a response to events in Nazi Germany, where Jews were barred from libraries, and books by Jewish authors and other works disfavored by the Nazi regime were burned.

Banned Books Week, protesting book censorship, was launched on September 24, 1982.

Today’s Library Bill of Rights (excerpt): “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”

Read the complete current Library Bill of Rights:

Learn more: Robert P. Doyle, Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read (2014)

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