The role of CILIP and our members

Promoting intellectual freedom and human rights are central to the library and information profession’s ethics and values.

Library and information professionals have a unique role providing access to information and knowledge by managing, developing and making materials and resources available to their users. 

CILIP opposes censorship and supports the right to intellectual freedom.

We believe that freedom of expression, freedom to debate and access to information are fundamental in a free and democratic society.

CILIP Members

Commitment to the defence, and the advancement, of access to information, ideas and works of the imagination.
CILIP Ethical Principle, no. 3

CILIP members span the public and private sectors including schools, businesses, colleges, prisons, Government, healthcare and the public library network.

The Code of Professional Practice for library, information and knowledge professionals applies the Ethical Principles to members' responsibilities. The Code also makes some points about professional behaviour.

It includes the responsibility to:

  • Promote equitable access for all members of society to public domain information of all kinds and in all formats.
  • Promote the necessary skills and knowledge amongst users to become effective independent learners and researchers.
  • Make the process of providing information, and the standards and procedures governing that process, as clear and open as possible.
  • Protect the confidentiality of all matters relating to information users, including their enquiries, any services to be provided, and any aspects of the users' personal circumstances or business.
  • Defend the legitimate needs and interests of information users, while upholding the moral and legal rights of the creators and distributors of intellectual property.
  • Strive to achieve an appropriate balance within the law between demands from information users, the need to respect confidentiality, the terms of their employment, the public good and the responsibilities outlined in this Code.

Freedom of access to the internet

CILIP endorses the Council of Europe's guidelines on public access and freedom of expression in networked information. The guidelines see the use of filtering systems to block access to certain content as an "unwarranted interference with the individual's freedom of access to information."

CILIP is concerned that recent research suggests that filtered access to the internet is now a standard approach in UK public libraries and in some instances users are not informed of this. 

The library and information profession supports the right to access information and to share information and ideas across frontiers and in any media, including the internet. Professionally led library and information services play an important role providing access to the internet and the skills, motivation and trust people need to get online and participate digitally.