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Ethical Considerations in Public Service, UC Berkeley Library

The following are considerations originally drafted by the Reference Services Committee; adopted by the Library in January 1981

  • Information and reference contacts are to be treated so as to preserve the confidences and protect the privacy of users.
  • Library circulation systems should be designed and administered to protect the privacy of users.
  • Rules about access to information are to be administered impartially and personal bias should not be reflected.
  • In responding to reference queries, staff should specify the source of information given. Generally speaking, information should not be interpreted for a user, and if a personal opinion is offered, it should be clearly labeled as such. Public service staff must be especially careful not to give medical or legal advice.
  • No personal financial gain, beyond one's ordinary remuneration as a Library staff member, should result because of a staff member's role as a representative of the Library in dealing with the user.
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