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Doing the right thing: Ethical challenges for today's Filipino librarians

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Lecture presented at the MIBF Forum sponsored by the UP Library Science Alumni Association held at SMX Convention, Pasay City on 17 September 2015

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Doing the right thing: Ethical challenges for today's Filipino librarians

  1. 1. “We do not act right because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.” ~ Socrates
  2. 2. Fe Angela M. Verzosa UPLSAA MIBF Forum SMX Convention Center Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City 17 September 2015 Doing the right thing: Ethical challenges for today's Filipino librarians
  3. 3. Scenario 1 You are working as full-time chief librarian in a university library. The VP Academics of another college offers you a “consultant” position in their college library that you know is undergoing accreditation. You are required only to work one day in a month for P10k, but in return, you will allow the institution to use your name as Library Director to fulfill the accreditation requirement that the head of the library must be a licensed librarian with a master’s degree in Library Science. Will you accept the offer?
  4. 4. Scenario 2 As a chief librarian in a university library, you are often gifted by some favored library vendors or suppliers like birthday cakes, Christmas ham, Thanksgiving turkey, etc. Your reason: “I don’t think that every single person that accepts a free pen from a vendor is forever tainted and cannot make independent judgments on the quality of that vendor’s products.” Besides, an occasion calls for giving gifts. Then this time, you are offered a free trip (fare and hotel) to Singapore, or an iPad as part of a promotional package offer. Will you accept the offer?
  5. 5. Scenario 3 As head librarian in a private sectarian university library, your job includes enhancing you and your own staff’s knowledge and skills by developing a continuing professional education program for you and your ten co- workers. However, due to budget constraints, you must allocate the funds saved for seminar-training attendance of your staff equitably, and in so doing, sacrifice your own travel fund to attend the ALA Conference in San Francisco. Will you give up your own?
  6. 6. Meaning of Ethics Ethics has been defined as “moral philosophy: the study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person.” (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edn.) Ethics is the study of the rules, standards, and principles that dictate RIGHT CONDUCT among members of society. (Loubert, 1999) Ethics comes from Єθοσ [ethos] Greek word for custom or habit, the characteristic conduct of an individual human life.
  7. 7. Ethics provide perspective from which to judge the rightness or wrongness of a professional’s action. So what’s Ethics for a professional? Meaning of Ethics http://www.powershow.com/view/2e6 9e- YjE4M/Ethics_powerpoint_ppt_present ation
  8. 8. Code of Ethics “Set of principles that defines ethical behavior appropriate for a profession” “Professional ethics concerns one's conduct of behavior and practice when carrying out professional work” Based on moral values? Based on best practices? http://www.powershow.com/view/2e69e-YjE4M/Ethics_powerpoint_ppt_presentation
  9. 9. Code of Ethics for Librarians Professional codes of ethics are classified as: •mandatory/prescriptive/re gulatory - often calls for sanctions when certain rules are violated • aspirational / inspirational - provides guidance, standardization and decision-making based on ethical reflection https://www.fbi.fh-koeln.de/edili/edili-about.htm#bezug
  10. 10. Moral Benchmarking – Practically every professional organization has an official code of ethics, which expresses their particular professional obligations, with enforcement mechanisms (ALA and IFLA don’t have) – The 2010-11 World Report records 59 countries that have, and 51 countries that do not have, a code of ethics for librarians – Many of these codes of ethics for librarians are available online at the IFLA website Source: http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/faife/lectures-papers/2011-2_Roesch(2).pdf
  11. 11. Why moral benchmarking? • Benchmarks address the need for a universal approach to workplace ethics and integrity. • Fundamentals of professional ethics should transcend national boundaries and legal systems • Moral benchmarking sets and enforces standards for ethical conduct thru disciplinary measures or sanctions for compliance
  12. 12. There are 69 Code of ethics here
  13. 13. Library & information science associations have a long standing concern with ethics – examples – IFLA Professional Code of Ethics for Librarians (adopted in 2012, with a list by country) – American Library Association (ALA) – has a Code of Ethics since 1903, adopted 1939, revised 2008 – Association of Independent Information Professionals has a Code of Ethical Business Practice – Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIST) has Professional Guidelines – PRC Board for Librarians (PLAI) has adopted a revised Code of Ethics for Librarians (Resolution No. 6, Series of 2006)
  14. 14. Moral Benchmarking Codes of Ethics are fairly recent phenomena: - 1966 Canada - 1996 Iceland - 1974 Costa Rica - 1997 Sweden - 1977 Thailand - 1999 Lithuania - 1980 Japan - 1999 Russia - 1983 United Kingdom - 2001 Estonia - 1989 Finland - 2006 Philippines 2012 IFLA Code
  15. 15. IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians Source: http://www.ifla.org/faife/professional-codes-of-ethics-for-librarians
  16. 16. Code of Ethics for Librarians
  17. 17. What is the purpose of the Code ? Who has to comply with the Code ? What happens if I breach the Code? Resolution No. _06_ Series of 2006 CODE OF ETHICS FOR LIBRARIANS
  18. 18. Resolution No. _06_ Series of 2006 CODE OF ETHICS FOR LIBRARIANS WHEREAS, Sec. 8 (h), Article II of R.A. No. 9246, known as the “Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003,” and Sec. 8 (h), Rule II of Res. No. 05, Series of 2004, known as the “IRR of the Philippine Librarianship Act of 2003”, empower the Board to adopt and prescribe a Code of Ethics for Librarians; … WHEREAS, the final draft of this Code had been submitted by the Board to the foregoing associations and sectors for their comments and recommendations before the final adoption thereof; and WHEREAS, any Registered Librarian who violates the said Code, after due hearing in an administrative case conducted by the Board against him/her, shall be subject to the disciplinary action of either the revocation of his/her certificate of registration or suspension thereof (Sec. 11 (i), Art. II; Sec. 23, Art. III of R.A. 9246; and Sec. II (i) and (m) of Rule II and Sec. 23, Rule III of Res. No. 05, Series of 2003); NOW, THEREFORE, the Board resolves, as it is hereby resolved, to prescribe, adopt, and promulgate the “Code of Ethics for Librarians” appended and marked as “Annex “A” and made an integral part of this Resolution; Done in the City of Manila this _13th_ day of _Sept._ 2006.
  19. 19. CODE OF ETHICS FOR PHILIPPINE LIBRARIANS • Contains a Preamble “Librarians, mindful of their role in the development of knowledge and culture and the enrichment of people’s lives, seek the highest standards of ethical behavior in their relations with their schools, their clients/employers, the librarianship profession and colleagues, agencies and associations and the public.” • Contains four sections (total of 22 rules) : 1. Librarians with the State, Society and Public – 4 provisions 2. Librarians with Librarianship Profession – 11 provisions 3. Librarians with the Suppliers, Publishers, Dealers, etc. – 3 provisions 4. Librarians with the Clients and/or other Users of their Professional Services – 4 provisions
  20. 20. • Copyright issues • Confidentiality and privacy issues • Intellectual freedom and censorship issues • Issues about equitable access to information and service • Conflict of interest • Illegal practice of librarianship • Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct Common Ethical Dilemmas
  21. 21. Copyright Issues 1.3 Librarians shall uphold and promote the right to information as well as abide by the provisions of the intellectual property law.
  22. 22. Copyright Issues IV. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  23. 23. 4. Open access and intellectual property • Librarians and other information workers' interest is to provide the best possible access for library users to information and ideas in any media or format. This includes support for the principles of open access, open source, and open licenses. • Librarians and other information workers aim to provide fair, swift, economical and effective access to information for users. • Librarians and other information workers have a professional duty to advocate for exceptions and limitations to copyright restrictions for libraries. IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers (full version), excerpts:
  24. 24. Scenario As a circulation librarian in a private university library, you were tasked to provide two photocopies of in-demand titles in your collection (based on the old PD 49 (in effect from 1972 until repealed), which allowed libraries to reproduce no more than 2 copies of any copyrighted work in its collection). When the old copyright law was superseded by a new law (RA 8293 on the Intellectual Property Code in effect since 1997), the reproductive rights of libraries have been limited to only one copy. You were then instructed to remove from the collection all the second photocopies of works which were reproduced way back from 1972 until June 1997 when the new law took effect. All these second copies were accessioned and previously circulated prior to the effect of the new law. Will you weed them out from the collection, and have them all deaccessioned?
  25. 25. Privacy and Confidentiality 4.2 Librarians shall keep in confidence, information acquired in the course of professional service. They shall protect the client’s right to privacy with respect to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired through the library.
  26. 26. Privacy and Confidentiality
  27. 27. 3. Privacy, secrecy and transparency • Librarians and other information workers respect personal privacy, and the protection of personal data, necessarily shared between individuals and institutions. • The relationship between the library and the user is one of confidentiality and librarians and other information workers will take appropriate measures to ensure that user data is not shared beyond the original transaction. • Librarians and other information workers support and participate in transparency so that the workings of government, administration and business are opened to the scrutiny of the general public. IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers (full version), excerpts:
  28. 28. Privacy and Confidentiality
  29. 29. Examples of Best Practices •Access to user data should be restricted to library staff who need user data to perform their duties (never to be given to anyone else unless there is a court order) •Circulation data, patron’s contact info, etc. should be held private. •Reference inquiries should be treated with strictest confidence.
  30. 30. Scenario 2 As a chief librarian in a university library, you are often gifted by some favored library vendors or suppliers like birthday cakes, Christmas ham, Thanksgiving turkey, etc. Your reason: “I don’t think that every single person that accepts a free pen from a vendor is forever tainted and cannot make independent judgments on the quality of that vendor’s products.” Besides, an occasion calls for giving gifts. Then this time, you are offered a free trip (fare and hotel) to Singapore, or an iPad as part of a promotional package offer. Will you accept the offer?
  31. 31. Scenario 3 As head librarian in a private sectarian university library, your job includes enhancing you and your own staff’s knowledge and skills by developing a continuing professional education program for you and your ten co- workers. However, due to budget constraints, you must allocate the funds saved for seminar-training attendance of your staff equitably, and in so doing, sacrifice your own travel fund to attend the ALA Conference in San Francisco. Will you give up your own?
  32. 32. VI. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions. •Librarians and other information workers distinguish between their personal convictions and professional duties. •They do not advance private interests or personal beliefs at the expense of neutrality. •Librarians and other information workers counter corruption directly affecting librarianship, as in the sourcing and supply of library materials, appointments to library posts and administration of library contracts and finances. Conflict of interest
  33. 33. Conflict of interest 4.4 Librarians shall refuse gifts or favors from clients and library suppliers for personal interest. They shall avoid using the library’s resources to the detriment of services which the library render to its users. 3.3 Librarians shall never enter into business transactions prejudicial to the library, but unwisely favorable to their own interest. 3.2. Librarians shall refuse all personal gratuities.
  34. 34. Conflict of interest Librarians shall refuse gifts or favors from clients and library suppliers for personal interest. They shall avoid using the library’s resources to the detriment of services which the library render to its users. (Exactly the same as 4.4) Librarians shall never enter into business transactions prejudicial to the library, but unwisely favorable to their own interest. (Exactly the same as 3.3) Librarians shall refuse all personal gratuities. (Exactly the same as 3.2) From Peru Professional Code of Ethics: Librarians shall choose suppliers and publishers exclusively on the basis of the quality of goods, costs, and services. (exactly the same as 3.1 of the Philippines Code of Ethics) Source: Library Codes of Ethics Worldwide: Anthology, pp. 149 https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/Library_Codes_of_Ethics_Worldwide.html?id=IqoN_CJzkQ0C&redir_esc=y
  35. 35. Equitable access to information and service • 4.3 Librarians shall render impartial service to all library users regardless of their race, beliefs, age, gender, or social status.
  36. 36. I. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests. The core mission of librarians and other information workers is to ensure access to information for all… Equitable access to information and service
  37. 37. Scenario You are a public librarian working in a well- funded city library. Political powers in your community, however, place an emphasis on getting high tech resources in your library while ignoring the needs of your most vulnerable citizens, the poor and marginalized. Would you rather spend public funds on expensive ebooks than provide basic resources and information for the poorest patrons in your community?
  38. 38. 1.2 2. Librarians shall promote literacy and education of the public by making the resources and services of the library known and accessible to its users. Intellectual Freedom/Censorship
  39. 39. Intellectual Freedom/Censorship II. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources. Librarians and other information workers reject the denial and restriction of access to information and ideas most most particularly through censorship whether by states, governments, or religious or civil society institutions.
  40. 40. Scenario You discovered that your library is the only one in the consortium that has a copy of a controversial book. In fact you have two copies, and both are currently checked out. The book in question has been challenged by some library patrons, who recommended their removal from the shelf for fear of the book’s potential harm to readers. Your dilemma is • non-discriminating readers of the book could face potential danger. On the other hand, if you choose to remove a book that is obviously in demand, you would then be censoring your collection, and denying the rights of your other users to intellectual freedom of access.
  41. 41. Illegal practice of librarianship SECTION 23. Revocation and Suspension of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card or Cancellation of Temporary/Special Permit.. – The Board has the power, after due notice and hearing, to revoke or suspend the Certificate of Registration or cancel a temporary or special permit of any librarian on any ground stated under Section 22 of this Act, or for any of the following: unprofessional or dishonorable conduct; practice of librarianship; fraud; deceit or falsification in obtaining a certificate of registration, professional identification card, or temporary/special permit; abetment of illegal practice by allowing illegal use of his/her certificate of registration, or professional identification card, or temporary/special permit; practice of profession during the period of suspension; or any violation of this Act, its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Code of Ethics or the Code of Technical Standards for Librarians, or Board policies.
  42. 42. Illegal practice of librarianship 2.3 Librarians shall not assist in the unauthorized practice of librarianship. Under Section 23 of RA 9246 “abetment of illegal practice by allowing illegal use of his/her certificate of registration, or professional identification card, or temporary/special permit” is a ground for revocation… Section 26. A person who does not have a valid Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card or a temporary/special permit from the Commission shall not practice or offer to practice librarianship in the Philippines or assume any position, which involve performing the function of a librarian as provided under Section 5 of this Act. SECTION 31. Employment of Librarians. – Only qualified and licensed librarians shall be employed as librarians in all government libraries. Local government units shall be given a period of three (3) years from the approval of this Act to comply with this provision.
  43. 43. Scenario As Library Director, your function includes hiring staff. Your library needs more licensed librarians, and job ads have been posted to fill the need. But despite months of advertising, no licensed librarians have qualified for the positions. Library service has been adversely affected, and complaints from library patrons and the administration have mounted. Will you hire unlicensed librarians?
  44. 44. Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct
  45. 45. Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct 2. Librarians with Librarianship Profession 2.1 Librarians shall uphold the dignity and integrity of the profession 2.2 Librarians shall keep their reputation above reproach and shall so conduct themselves to gain public esteem and respect for the library and for the profession. 2.3 Librarians shall not assist in the unauthorized practice of librarianship. 2.4 Librarians shall treat each other with respect, courtesy, and sincerity and shall avoid maligning the reputation, competence, and capability of their colleagues. They shall not use any unfair means to gain professional advancement.. 2.7 Librarians shall adhere to the principles of due process and equality of opportunity in their relationship with fellow workers especially their colleagues. 2.8 Librarians shall maintain membership, participate and cooperate in the endeavors of library association/s to enhance the effectiveness of the profession.
  46. 46. V. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions. VI. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions. Librarians and other information workers treat each other with fairness and respect. Librarians and other information workers share their professional experience with colleagues and they help and guide new professionals to enter the professional community and develop their skills. They contribute to the activities of their professional association and participate in research and publication on professional matters. Librarians and other information workers strive to earn a reputation and status based on their professionalism and ethical behaviour. They do not compete with colleagues by the use of unfair methods. Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct
  47. 47. • All information professionals are obliged to report to the Board or to the Court of Honor the conduct of any member of the profession which undermines the moral and ethical principles. • Every offense committed against the terms of this Code shall be punished… • Penalties: -Private reprimand for small misdemeanors -Temporary suspension for one year for serious violations -Expulsion for very serious offenses Unprofessional or dishonorable conduct Source: Nicaragua Code of Professional Ethics Library Codes of Ethics Worldwide: Anthology, pp. 130-135
  48. 48. Scenario?
  49. 49. Should • be easily accessible • be easy to read and understand • be short, concise, clearly written • have generic examples of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior • have enforcement mechanism (state what will happen if any provision is breached) Code of Ethics for Librarians
  50. 50. Recommendations? •Adopt a fixed set of core values as a profession (Ideally these core values should be listed in a professional code of ethics) • Ethical education should start at library schools and reinforced via CPE program with frequent training and intensive professional debates to make colleagues aware of ethical obligations
  51. 51. Core Values (Universal) • Access - Promotion of free flow of information • Preservation of recorded human knowledge • Respect for others • Commitment to lifelong learning • Excellence in professional service
  52. 52. famverzosa@yahoo.com Questions ?
  53. 53. Thank you for listening!

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