The Ethics of Library Discard Practices

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rosann V. Bazirjian, Dean (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: This paper explores the issue of ethics in relation to library discard practices, and attempts to address the weeding process from a philosophical point of view. An overview of some of the origins of ethical theories, including those of Kant, Epicurus and Epictetus, is given and related to college library weeding practices. Moral obligation is a key phrase when considering the concept of ethics. Honesty, objectivity, competency, and loyalty as they relate to the moral obligation most libraries have to keep their collections current, is examined. It is argued that these concepts do indeed substantiate the assumption that discarding is an ethical practice. Ethics has long been an area of concern to the American Library Association. An analysis of the professional status of librarians and the concept of ALA Codes of Ethics is addressed in this paper in order to place the issue in historical perspective. Finally, the issue of ethics versus law, and where discarding/weeding practices fit into that scheme, is discussed.

Additional Information

Publication
The Acquisitions Librarian 3: 135-146
Language: English
Date: 1990
Keywords
Weeding, Library Discard Practices, Ethical Theories