1938 November 21

Library Bill of Rights Born at Des Moines Public Library


The Library Bill of Rights originated on this day with the Des Moines, Iowa, Public Library. The statement was a response to the anti-Semitic actions by Nazi Germany, which included excluding Jews and books written by Jews from libraries.

The American Library Association (ALA) adopted the Library Bill of Rights on June 19, 1939.

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.”

Learn about the Library Bill of Rights from the ALA:

Read: Robert P. Doyle, Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read (2014)

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