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Professional Development for Delaware Library Staff: Intellectual Freedom/Censorship

Statewide Professional Development Team

Summary - WJ Competency Index

Intellectual Freedom is not listed as a separate competency in the Competency Index for the Library Field, but it is noted in the following:

  • Essential Competencies - Ethics & Values (page 10)
  • Management Competencies - Laws, Policies & Procedures (pages 28 & 29)
  • Technology Competencies - Networking & Security (page 65), Public Access Technology (page 67), and Web Design & Development (page 76)

Training Needs Assessment Rankings

Intellectual Freedom/Censorship ranked #20 out of 60 topics staff would like training in.  It was not identified as an urgent training need. 48% (55) of respondents indicated they would like training at the Beginner level, 34% (39) would like training at the Intermediate level, and 18% (21) would like training at the Advanced level.

Intellectual Freedom is identified as a CORE skill for Sussex County libraries.

Customer Service Standards

Safety - Provide a safe environment for staff and public, ensuring privacy, confidentiality, and physical well-being.

Courtesy - Treat everyone with kindness and respect.

Knowledge - Be aware of library policies, procedures, and resources.

Efficiency - Provide accurate and timely service with the best use of tangible and intangible resources.

Dr. Seuss

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of ALAs Office for Intellectual Freedom, sent the following to Margie Cyr, Chair of DLAs Intellectual Freedom and Open Access Committee, regarding the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication of six of his titles.

The Office of Intellectual Freedom worked with our Diversity and Youth units to develop the following talking points:


  • On March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the entity that controls the estate of Theodor Geisel, announced that it will no longer publish or license six books written under the pen name “Dr. Seuss” because the six books use offensive racial images to portray people, which Dr. Seuss Enterprises recognizes is hurtful and wrong.


  • Dr. Seuss Enterprises has not called for the banning or removal of these books from library collections, personal collections, or schools.


  • An author’s or publisher’s decision to stop publishing a book should not be grounds alone for removing a book from a library’s collection. All such decisions should be done pursuant to the library’s or district’s written collection development policy.   


  • Part of our professional responsibility as librarians is to critically evaluate literature, be aware of bias, prejudice, and racism, and consider these things when making decisions about collection development, programming, displays, and readers' advisory.


  • The decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises is an opportunity for adults to think critically about Dr. Seuss’ books, decide whether to share these books with the children in their lives, and participate in discussions with children and adults alike on the topic of race and racial prejudice.

Online Learning

Privacy Literacy at Your Library

A webinar about the San Jose Public Library's Virtual Privacy Lab, a privacy literacy resource available to all, which helps library patrons feel safe and confident online.

WebJunction, 2017

Additional Resources

Selected Bibliography