Declaration for the Rights to Libraries
Declaration for the Right to Libraries is the cornerstone document of ALA
President Barbara Stripling's presidential initiative,
Libraries Change Lives, which is designed to build the public will and
sustained support for America's right to libraries of all types - academic,
special, school, and public. In the next year, libraries of all types will hold
signing ceremonies, during which community members can visibly declare their
right to have vibrant libraries in their community. The signing ceremony is
intended to serve as the launching point for continued and vibrant community
- · Increase public and media awareness about the
critical role of libraries in communities around the country.
- · Inspire ongoing conversations about the role of the library in
- · Cultivate a network of community allies and advocates for the
- · Position the library as a trusted convener to help in the
response to community issues.
or visit one of the Birmingham Public Library
branches to sign.
LIBRARIES CHANGE LIVES (text)
Declaration for the Right to Libraries
In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are
essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities
across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults
use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast
array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from
the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help
expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to
quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to
show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to
LIBRARIES EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL. Whether developing
skills to succeed in school, looking for a job, exploring possible careers,
having a baby, or planning retirement, people of all ages turn to libraries
for instruction, support, and access to computers and other resources to
help them lead better lives.
LIBRARIES SUPPORT LITERACY AND LIFELONG LEARNING.
Many children and adults learn to read at their school and public libraries
via story times, research projects, summer reading, tutoring and other
opportunities. Others come to the library to learn the technology and
information skills that help them answer their questions, discover new
interests, and share their ideas with others.
LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN FAMILIES. Families find a
comfortable, welcoming space and a wealth of resources to help them learn,
grow and play together.
LIBRARIES ARE THE GREAT EQUALIZER. Libraries serve
people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical
ability. For many people, libraries provide resources that they could not
otherwise afford – resources they need to live, learn, work and govern.
LIBRARIES BUILD COMMUNITIES. Libraries bring
people together, both in person and online, to have conversations and to
learn from and help each other. Libraries provide support for seniors,
immigrants and others with special needs.
LIBRARIES PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO KNOW. Our right to
read, seek information, and speak freely must not be taken for granted.
Libraries and librarians actively defend this most basic freedom as
guaranteed by the First Amendment.
LIBRARIES STRENGTHEN OUR NATION. The economic health
and successful governance of our nation depend on people who are literate
and informed. School, public, academic, and special libraries support this
LIBRARIES ADVANCE RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP.
Knowledge grows from knowledge. Whether doing a school assignment, seeking a
cure for cancer, pursuing an academic degree, or developing a more fuel
efficient engine, scholars and researchers of all ages depend on the
knowledge and expertise that libraries and librarians offer.
LIBRARIES HELP US TO BETTER UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER.
People from all walks of life come together at libraries to discuss issues
of common concern. Libraries provide programs, collections, and meeting
spaces to help us share and learn from our differences.
LIBRARIES PRESERVE OUR NATION’S CULTURAL HERITAGE.
The past is key to our future. Libraries collect, digitize, and
preserve original and unique historical documents that help us to better
understand our past, present and future.